Obama Administration Eliminates Term “Enemy Combatant”

By Lindsey Ellerson

Mar 13, 2009 4:19pm

One way those of us who cover the Obama administration know it’s Friday afternoon is the administration suddenly makes an announcement changing detainee policies.

Today the Justice Department announced it’s dropping the use of the phrase "enemy combatant."

The Department of Justice, in a filing with the federal District Court for the District of Columbia, submitted a new standard for the government’s authority to hold detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

DOJ said in a release that the new "definition does not rely on the President’s authority as Commander-in-Chief independent of Congress’s specific authorization. It draws on the international laws of war to inform the statutory authority conferred by Congress. It provides that individuals who supported al Qaeda or the Taliban are detainable only if the support was substantial. And it does not employ the phrase ‘enemy combatant.’"

"The Department also submitted a declaration by Attorney General Eric Holder stating that, under executive orders issued by President Obama, the government is undertaking an interagency review of detention policy for individuals captured in armed conflicts or counterterrorism operations as well as a review of the status of each detainee held at Guantanamo. The outcome of those reviews may lead to further refinements of the government’s position as it develops a comprehensive policy."

– Jake Tapper and Jason Ryan

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