Obama Signs Military Spending Bill With a Sigh

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President Obama signed a $662 billion defense bill into law today, while using a signing statement to express misgivings about some provisions related to the treatment of suspected terrorists and dealings with other countries.

The National Defense Authorization Act will provide funding for military personnel and weapons systems through 2012. It also applies penalties to Iran’s central bank in an attempt to hamper its nuclear ambitions and puts pressure on Pakistan to deal with the problem of improvised explosive devices by freezing aid dollars.

“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” Obama said in the signing statement.  He had previously threatened to veto the bill and his administration pushed Congress for several changes.

In the signing statement, Obama expressed “serious reservations” about provisions of the bill that sign into law the government's right to indefinitely detain, interrogate, and prosecute suspected terrorists, and said other provisions interfered with his “constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations.” Obama has said that he would never authorize indefinite detention of American citizens, but of course subsequent presidents may choose to utilize the full powers of the new law.

*This post has been edited since publication.