US Congress moves ahead with new detainee rules

December 13, 2011 05:32


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WASHINGTON - The US Congress sought to avoid a showdown with the White House over detainee policy in the war against al Qaida on Monday, with a panel approving new rules for handling terrorism suspects after adding changes wanted by the administration.

Leaders from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees said they were not certain the changes they included in the National Defense Authorization Act would be enough to avert a threatened veto by US President Barack Obama, but they said they hoped they had addressed his concerns.

"I just can't imagine that the president would veto this bill," Senator Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters after a conference committee approved the measure.

The detainee provisions included in the bill raised concerns because they would broaden the armed forces powers over suspected militants, requiring foreigners allied with al Qaida to be held in military custody even if they were captured in the United States.

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