The internet hacktivist group Anonymous revealed a possible explanation to the rushed passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by Congress this month, after they hacked the accounts of the 83 senators who voted for the bill and found that many proponents had received large amounts of lobbying money.
The NDAA began as simply a funding bill, but now contains worrisome provisions that could allow the indefinite military detention of American citizens without constitutionally guaranteed rights to trial in an impartial court. Anonymous uncovered a money trail connecting senators' votes for the NDAA detention provisions to defense contractors passing large sums of money under the proverbial table. Most notable was Senator Robert Portman (R-OH), an outspoken supporter of the bill, who received a whopping $272,853--more than any other member of Congress, according to Anonymous.
"We are truly disturbed by the ludicrous $272,853 he received from special interest groups supporting the NDAA bill that authorizes the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil," said Anonymous in their information dump. One defense firm in particular, SunFire LLC, has been linked to lobbying congress and Portman for the detention provisions. SunFire has since rebuked the accusations.
The idea that military contractors have long shaped our nation's foreign policy is by now well established, having been presaged by President EIsenhower (himself a former general) 40 years ago. For those same corporate interests to now shape our military's domestic policy is disturbing, to say the least.
It should be no surprise, however, as the NDAA's indefinite detention provisions could create vast new markets for defense contractors, especially those involved in building private prisons or detention camps. With each detainee at Guantanamo Bay costing the U.S. government $800,000 a year, there could be enormous corporate profits available through detaining Americans without trial.
Corporate profit is a poor substitute for our Constitution, but our elected leaders have been making precisely that trade-off for years. The NDAA appears to represent yet another example of money in politics degrading the discussion--and our constitutional rights.