Obama signs defense bill despite ‘reservations’
HONOLULU (AP) President Barack Obama says he’s signing a $662 billion defense bill despite “serious reservations” over its restrictions about handling suspected terrorists.
A presidential statement accompanying the bill signing says the administration will interpret and implement some parts of the law in way that gives counterterrorism officials flexibility and upholds the nation’s values.
The White House initially threatened to veto the legislation, but pulled back after Congress made last-minute revisions.
The new law gives the president the authority to waive military custody, if it’s in the interest of national security, for foreign terrorism suspects who are linked to al-Qaida or who are involved in plotting or attacks the U.S.
The military custody requirement also will not apply to U.S. citizens.
Obama signed the bill in Hawaii, where he is vacationing.