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 Twitter23Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook15Google+3Email 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
emptywheel @janehamsher Next thing you're gonna tell me CIA was warned that invading Iraq would result in chaos. @onekade @FearDept
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JohnWMAnthony There was confusion abt which church it was, but several people briefed on the raid now. @iamcoreyevans
3mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Dear #Ferguson police: please look up the meaning of the word "sanctuary" in relation to churches and victims of oppression. Not just a bldg
5mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @jamiekilstein: So "looting" is ok when it's cops doing it to a church?
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Folks, of COURSE the cops were going to raid a Church. They're ticking off each part of the First Amendment systematically.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @onekade Well, sure. It was Chertoff. Selling "Homeland" Security. Of course it was looting. Can I rent you Keith Alexander next? @FearDept
15mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @OKnox: @aterkel Look, you're in a "First Amendment Area," he's in a "Second Amendment Area." What's so hard to understand?
22mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @aterkel: Note that the “go fuck yourself” cop was mostly waving the gun at media — it was right in front of the press area. #Ferguson
23mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV So now the Ayatollah has joined Egypt in trolling the US over #Ferguson. Time for president and governor to intervene, shut down cops.
25mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @khamenei_ir: If US govt hadn't systematically ban its ppl from knowing the truth, movements like the 99% would've been formed in a larg…
26mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @elonjames: Churches. Places that have been SANCTUARIES for CENTURIES are being raided in an effort to stop any sort of resistance to th…
30mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV We'll get it right this time for sure! MT @APDiploWriter: WASHINGTON (AP) — Military weighs plan 2 send small no. additional troops 2 #Iraq.
35mreplyretweetfavorite