July 17, 2013

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Releases Report on Presidential Utilization of 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force

July 17, 2013
Contact: Carrie Adams (202) 225-2661

Washington, D.C.— Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released a report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) surrounding the presidential utilization to undertake military and other actions under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was enacted in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“As the only Member of Congress to vote against the AUMF on September 14th, 2001, I have been deeply concerned about this overly-broad blank check for war,” said Congresswoman Lee. “I knew then, as I know now, that it gives any president the nearly unlimited authority to wage limitless war at anytime, anywhere, for any reason, in perpetuity. Until this report, we did not have a public accounting of the number of times that it had been cited. I’m certain this will prove a useful tool for my colleagues and the American people and help shine a spotlight on the uses of the AUMF.”

The report lists 30 instances where the AUMF has invoked by Presidents Bush and Obama, including to deploy troops in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Georgia, and Yemen, justify detentions at Guantanamo Bay, and conduct military commissions.  The data from this report includes information gleaned solely from two publicly available GPO publications: Federal Register and Compilation of Presidential Documents.

“What continues to concern me, however, is that this information is based on what is only publically reported. We don’t know the further, full extent, including the ongoing use of lethal drones, surveillance, unlimited detention, and other actions where the AUMF has been used as justification,” said Congresswoman Lee.

Congresswoman Lee has consistently called for repeal of the AUMF; to that end, in the 113th Congress, Congresswoman Lee introduced HR 198. In addition to her ongoing efforts, this week, Congresswoman Lee will introduce an amendment to the 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill which would require the Department of Defense to produce a comprehensive report on the uses of AUMF, in both classified and unclassified forms, to bring further accountability and Congressional oversight on this issue.

A .pdf of the full text of the report can be viewed here.




Follow Barbara Lee on Facebook and Twitter at @RepBarbaraLee. To learn more, visit lee.house.gov.


Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a former Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and currently serves as CPC Whip and Chair of the Task Force on Global Peace and Security.