WASHINGTON — The heads of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees say they oppose a sweeping defense bill's policy on handling terror suspects and are urging the top Senate Democrat to take it out.

In a letter last week, Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein rejected a provision that would require military custody for terror suspects linked to al-Qaida and involved in an attack on the United States. Leahy and Feinstein said mandatory military custody is "unwise and will harm our national security."

Eleven Democratic senators joined them in criticizing the provision. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has delayed work on the defense bill because of the provision, which the Obama administration opposes.

Reid says the administration must have flexibility to combat terrorism.