Print options

December 30, 2011

Obama Signs Defense Bill, With Reservations

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a military spending bill despite having "serious reservations" about provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.

The president signed the $662 billion bill Saturday while on vacation in Hawaii.  At the signing, he chastised some lawmakers for what he said were their attempts to use the bill to restrict the ability of counterterrorism officials to protect the country.

His signature caps months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating the constitutional rights of Americans. The White House initially threatened to veto the legislation but dropped the warning after Congress made changes.

The bill also imposes new sanctions against Iran in an effort to hamper Tehran’s ability to finance its nuclear enrichment program.

In response to the impending sanctions, Iran warned this week that it could close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf.  The U.S. countered with a promise to keep the strait open.   A closure could temporarily cut off some oil supplies and impact the price of oil worldwide.

The bill also freezes some $700 million in assistance until Pakistan comes up with a strategy to deal with improvised explosive devices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.