It comes from the days of Piracy when the government would sue a pirate ship or other property. If I remember it gave the Navy a legal basis to seize the ship. Ages old war on terror powers now coming back to haunt us. History repeats.
It's actually a lot more complex than that. This law has been on the books for a long time. The government brings its case against the property and not the person. IDK if Obama abuses it more than others. Cato on Structuring