Senator Carl Levin. (Yuri Gripas / Courtesy Reuters)

Earlier this month, with his piece "The NDAA Makes It Harder to Fight Terrorism," Brian Michael Jenkins added to the confusion surrounding the military detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act by promulgating the unfounded allegation that the NDAA exposes American citizens to arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention.

The new law does no such thing.

At its core, the NDAA reaffirms already existing U.S. law on the military detention of individuals captured in the country's fight against al Qaeda. Jenkins writes, "A fair way to assess this bill would be to ask, had this law been in effect since 2001, what would it have achieved?" His answer: some 20 "jihadist terrorists," including U.S. citizens and lawful resident aliens, who are today in civilian custody would instead "be in military custody." 

The problem with Jenkins' hypothetical is that U.S. citizens and lawful

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  • CARL LEVIN represents Michigan in the United States Senate and serves as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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