Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive: Pixie Dust 2.0

Back when John Yoo was finding ways to authorize President Bush’s illegal wiretap program — especially spying on Americans who were not agents of a foreign power — he changed the meaning of certain limits in EO 12333 without rewriting EO 12333. The President didn’t have to change EO 12333 to reflect actual practice, Yoo determined (relying on an Iran-Contra precedent), because ignoring EO 12333 amounted to modifying it.

An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.

I call this pixie-dusting, where the Executive makes his own orders and directives disappear in secret.

Poof!

The use of pixie-dust — so recently used to justify spying on people while pretending not to spy on them — ought to give you pause when you read this passage from President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive limiting US spying overseas (or, frankly, everything he said today, which all consists of the Executive exercising its prerogative to change and oversee Executive actions, but in no way includes any teeth to sustain such changes).

Nothing in this directive shall be construed to prevent me from exercising my constitutional authority, including as Commander in Chief, Chief Executive, and in the conduct of foreign affairs, as well as my statutory authority. Consistent with this principle, a recipient of this directive may at any time recommend to me, through the APNSA, a change to the policies and procedures contained in this directive.

Effectively Obama is laying out his prerogative to pixie dust this PPD.

And while the President admittedly would always have such prerogative, he didn’t include such a paragraph in his cyberwar PPD (which, of course, wasn’t meant to be public).

This PPD was designed to be ignored.

And I suspect our friends and adversaries know that.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+2Email to someone

18 Responses to Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive: Pixie Dust 2.0

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz RT @enbrown: It's seriously fucking come to this: France wants ability to charge Google & Twitter as "hate speech accomplices" http://t.co/
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Sad thing about InflateGate is it has put BillBel on his best behavior, depriving us of a BillBel-Lynch media grump off.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @HearsaySA: BREAKING: Ex-Gov Perry's indictment will stand, SA-based judge rules. But 1 charge should be downgraded to misdemeanor. Chec…
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ScottGreenfield I have mixed emotions about this.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @robertcaruso @NGA_GEOINT Once upon a midnight dreary, he flew a drone while drunk and weary. It landed on WH lawn, tomorrow morn he B gone.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @laRosalind I value my arms too much for that! They are not declawed...
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @AlyonaMink: Next: I discuss Jeffrey Sterling case with @gregg_leslie @emptywheel @JesselynRadack @joshgerstein http://t.co/CLWUIHMvbt o…
4hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @onekade Zero mouses. Stay on target.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Bill Belichick: "I am not a sorcerer or some kind of conjurer, I'm just a coach". Don't believe him. He's the Mona Lisa Vito of Football.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @AnthonyMKreis Love to see the District court send a couple of US Marshals over to arrest the prick on a contempt charge.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @joshgerstein Yeah, one guy looked like he could be South Asian, plus the Asian. @illLeagleNews @mattapuzzo
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel In last ¶ Obama quoted as claiming he has found quiet pressure effective on Saudi human rights. By what measure? http://t.co/zfEx8e3Ftx
5hreplyretweetfavorite