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Obama threatens veto of defense authorization bill

The move is a sharp escalation of the administration's battle with Congress over the future course of the war on terror.

The Obama administration threatened on Thursday to veto a major defense authorization bill because of language mandating that terror suspects be put under military custody, a sharp escalation of its battle with Congress over the future course of the war on terror.

The Senate's version of the bill includes language effectively requiring that al-Qaeda suspects captured overseas -- and potentially at home -- be transferred from civilian custody to the military. The Pentagon opposes the provision, and many Democrats believe it would slow ongoing terror probes and remove skilled FBI interrogators from their work battling domestic threats.

"Broadly speaking, the detention provisions in this bill micromanage the work of our experienced counter-terrorism professionals, including our military commanders, intelligence professionals, seasoned counter-terrorism prosecutors, or other operatives in the field," the White House said in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Any bill that challenges or constrains the president's critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the nation would prompt the president's senior advisers to recommend a veto."