Feinstein ‘delighted’ with McCain, Graham backing on detainee vote

Feinstein says her amendment, which passed 67-29, would prevent the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.

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Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Hill on Friday she wasn’t concerned with the underlying reasons her opponents backed her on the detention amendment.

“I was delighted to have their votes, whatever the interpretation,” Feinstein said.

“The bottom line is the vote. We live or die by our votes. The vote was 67 votes — it’s a big vote by anybody’s count on anything that’s controversial.”

While Feinstein says her amendment prevents the military detention of U.S. citizens, Graham stood by his argument that the amendment still allows their detention.

“The way the amendment was drafted, that law of war detention is allowed,” Graham told The Hill, referring to the 2004 Supreme Court case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which dealt with a U.S. citizen captured fighting against the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Graham had initially opposed Feinstein’s amendment but said he and the others changed their minds Thursday.

“For two days we’ve been reading Hamdi. We came to the conclusion Hamdi is already ruled on this,” Graham said. “I’m very comfortable. But if there’s doubt about our interpretation, there’s an easy fix and we’ll find that in conference [committee].”

Last year, Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, helped Graham and McCain defeat Feinstein's amendment that would have limited indefinite detention. He issued a statement Friday saying this year's Feinstein amendment was different, and he also believed it did not prevent military detention of U.S. citizens captured in the United States.