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Category Archive: Executive Power

Mar 30 2014

Former CIA Agent Hammers Feinstein

Former CIA agent Philip Giraldi has some choice words for Dianne Feinstein and other leaders in the legislative and executive branches who tut tut about the Bush torture regime while doing absolutely nothing to bring about justice or to reveal their own role in making it happen.

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Mar 27 2014

Obama to Rein In Telephone Metadata Collection?

The New York Times reports that President Obama is preparing to submit legislation that would rein in the NSA’s metadata collection activities. This is a follow up to his statement in January that he wants those records stored elsewhere and to require FISA warrants before being accessed.

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Mar 25 2014

Obama Continues Crusade Against Whistleblowers

Peter Van Buren reports on a court case involving the federal government’s rabid desire to punish Robert MacLean, a former TSA Air Marshall who blew the whistle on contradictory policies in that program (simultaneously cutting the air marshal program while sending out an alert about possible hijackings). The Obama DOJ is taking that case to …

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Mar 25 2014

Docs Confirm Metadata Snooping Started Under Bush

Newly released documents that were apparently submitted by the federal government in several legal challenges to the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs confirm that the mining of metadata from emails began under direct order from President Bush.

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Mar 24 2014

House Republicans Discover Limits of Executive Power

Last week the House of Representatives passed the Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law Act, of ENFORCE the Law Act (seriously, do they have someone whose job it is to come up with painfully ridiculous acronyms in Congress?). Jacob Sullum notes the hypocrisy:

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Mar 16 2014

Obama Protecting CIA in Senate Standoff

McClatchy newspapers is reporting that the Obama White House is withholding almost 10,000 documents in dispute in the battle between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA, but without actually asserting executive privilege over those documents.

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Mar 13 2014

Cruz’ Convenient Ignorance of History

Ted Cruz spoke at CPAC last week and delivered the standard line we hear from the right these days, who have suddenly discovered the limits on executive power after cheering on George W. Bush for 8 years while shredded the separation of powers and vastly expanded his own power.

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Feb 02 2014

House May Pointlessly Sue Obama

Republicans are throwing a fit over President Obama saying he’ll take some vague and unspecified unilateral action to address vague and unspecified problems and Michele Bachmann says that the House of Representatives may try to take him to court over it. Yeah, good luck with that.

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Jan 03 2014

A Tale of Two Court Rulings

In the last couple weeks, two separate judges have ruled on the NSA’s cell phone data mining operation. One of them, a Bush appointee, said the program is clearly unconstitutional; the other, a Clinton nominee, said the program is clearly constitutional. Andrew Cohen notes that the two rulings are almost completely opposite one another in …

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Nov 08 2013

Al Gore’s Fantasy World

Former Vice President Al Gore must have some rose-colored glasses the size of Jupiter if he really believes what he told an audience in Montreal a few days ago. He said that he expects Congress to rein in the surveillance programs of the NSA and other executive agencies.

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Oct 30 2013

DOJ Notifies Defendants of Warrantless Wiretap Evidence

This is a very interesting development that could lead somewhere important. The Department of Justice is now informing defendants if any evidence in their case was procured through a warrantless wiretap. Why is this important? Because it gives them standing to challenge illegal surveillance.

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Aug 23 2013

The Manning Verdict and the Rule of Law

I was a bit shocked at the relatively lenient sentence that the military court handed down to Bradley Manning. He got 35 years, but could be eligible for parole in as little as ten years with good behavior and credit for time served. The government was asking for 60 years, so Manning is probably a …

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Aug 20 2013

Congress: Missing in Action Again

Julian Sanchez has a column at Politico that hammers Congress — and rightly so — for its almost complete lack of concern over the NSA’s clearly illegal data mining and surveillance programs. Far from providing meaningful oversight, the leadership of both parties in Congress offer only empty assurances.

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Aug 20 2013

FISA Court Lacks Effective Oversight

The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has admitted to the Washington Post that the court he presides over, which is supposed to be a crucial safeguard against misuse of the government’s surveillance powers, lacks the tools to provide effective oversight.

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Aug 15 2013

Obama’s Empty Surveillance Promises, Take 2

I wrote the other day that the promises that President Obama made last week about greater transparency were mostly hollow, especially the appointment of a commission to study the problem. Such commission are a political black hole. But it turns out that his “independent” commission won’t be independent at all:

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