Obama considering exec. order on indefinite detention

The White House is considering an executive order asserting the President's authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, the Washington Post reported this morning.

Were the order to be signed by the President, it would effectively validate the policies of George W. Bush, who claimed expansive executive authority over detainees.

The move is also sure to enrage civil libertarians, who are already upset at the President for adopting or defending a handful of Bush's more controversial national security policies, such as denying habeas corpus to enemy combatants held overseas.

The White House is considering the executive order because Obama's advisers are reportedly pessimistic that Congress will agree on a new detention policy for the inmates currently held at Guantanamo Bay. The order would assert the President's authority to take a more unilateral approach to the problem.

Though civil liberties groups are sure to despise the prospect of indefinite detention, the Post reports that an executive order is least likely to anger them:
"Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order," the official said. Such an order could be rescinded and would not block later efforts to write legislation, but civil liberties groups generally oppose long-term detention, arguing that detainees should be prosecuted or released.

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