When it comes to indefinite detention, here's what the President said:
Section 1021 affirms the executive branch’s authority to detain persons covered by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note). This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary. The authority it describes was included in the 2001 AUMF, as recognized by the Supreme Court and confirmed through lower court decisions since then. Two critical limitations in section 1021 confirm that it solely codifies established authorities. First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not “limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.(Emphasis mine)
But the problem here is that most folks arguing over this one are missing where the REAL battle is...with Congress. The bill once again denies the President the ability to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the US for trial in our federal courts. The same poutragers who are always yelling at the President for not closing Guantanamo seem fine with letting all of that pass. If they really wanted that done, they'd be joining with him in objecting to these limitations.
But perhaps just as important is another section the President addressed in his signing statement.
Section 1028 modifies but fundamentally maintains unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch’s authority to transfer detainees to a foreign country. This hinders the executive’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and like section 1027, would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. The executive branch must have the flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers.
Not many people have noticed that the Obama administration is engaged in some critical negotiations with the Taliban in an effort to end our involvement in Afghanistan. The success of those talks are very likely to hinge on transferring some members of the Taliban from Guantanamo to Afghanistan. Of course the Republicans are livid at the prospect and these portions of NDAA were designed to tie the President's hands.
You want to make some grand stand about the need for the US to get out of Afghanistan or close Guantanamo? I'd suggest that if that was the motivation driving the critics, they'd be pointing their arrows at the Republicans in Congress for these efforts to undermine our ability to do so. But these provisions in NDAA are all pretty much going unnoticed as too many give way to their Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS).