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Obama administration not seeking new terror detainee legislation: report

[JURIST] The Obama administration will not push Congress for legislation to authorize the indefinite detention of terror suspects, the Washington Post reported [text] Wednesday. Instead, administration officials said they will rely on the authority granted through two resolutions passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks: Senate Joint Resolution 23 and House Joint Resolution 64 [materials]. Those resolutions give the president the power, "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations ... persons he determines ... in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such ... persons." While the administration will continue to rely on that authorization, it is unclear where future detainees may be housed, as the Department of Defense has recently indicated that they are still hoping to meet the January deadline [JURIST report] for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive].

While the Obama administration decides on new detention policies, it also faces decisions on how to try suspected terrorists already facing charges. On Wednesday, Chief judge for military commissions Colonel James Pohl granted a government request to further postpone hearings for Saudi Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi until January 11, 2010. Earlier this week, the administration was granted a 60-day continuance [JURIST report] in the trial of five suspected terrorists, including the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. That same day, Attorney General Eric Holder said that he would decide by November 16 whether to try the alleged terrorists in military or federal court [Miami Herald report].

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