Many progressive and libertarians have argued that the NDAA codifies the president's ability to detain a U.S. citizen captured on American soil until the war on terrorism is declared over. The administration believes that the NDAA doesn't specifically allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens, but concedes that it doesn't specifically ban the practice either.
A senior administration official maintained in an interview with TPM that the NDAA "changes nothing" about the legal question of whether the government could allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens captured in the United States.
"Whether you can pick up a U.S. citizen inside the United States and place them in military detention — which was done in the Padilla case but was never resolved up to the Supreme Court — we would argue still sort of an open legal question and is not answered by the NDAA, it's totally silent on that," a senior administration official told TPM. "As far as we're concerned, the bill doesn't resolve that question."