By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
January 06, 2010
Obama's secretive Executive Order amended an order issued by President Reagan in 1983. Reagan's order recognized Interpol as an International Organization and gave it privileges and immunities commonly extended to foreign diplomats. Reagan opened the door to allow Interpol to operate in partnership with the U.S. but with significant constitutional safeguards. Specifically, Interpol's property and assets remained subject to search and seizure by American law enforcement, and its archived records remained subject to public scrutiny under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Interpol had to answer to the FBI and U.S. courts under Reagan's order. These safeguards were stripped away by Obama's action the week before Christmas without debate or explanation. Obama picked the holiday season to make this radical change to minimize media coverage.
This order marks a significant change in federal policy and usurps the constitutional power of our government by yielding it to an international organization. Michael van Der Galien writes, "This foreign law enforcement organization can operate free of an important safeguard against government and abuse. Property and assets, including the organization's records, cannot now be searched or seized. Their physical operational locations are now immune from U.S. legal and investigative authorities."
Obama has given an international organization unsupervised freedom to investigate Americans on our own soil without recourse or the supervision of our own government.
Andy McCarthy writing for the National Review asks some very significant questions: "Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize?"
Interpol is the enforcement arm of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The United States never signed onto the Rome Treaty which created the ICC because of the potential for abuse by foreign interests. Obama has signaled he may sign the treaty over these objections and subject Americans to prosecution overseas in the ICC. This is harmful for two reasons. First, the U.S. Constitution clearly states that it is the supreme law of our land and allowing the ICC to supersede the U.S. Constitution violates America's sovereignty. Second, the War on Terror is unpopular with Europeans and the ICC may attempt to prosecute heroic American soldiers with trumped up war crimes. Obama is putting brave American men and women at grave risk.
An added wrinkle to this executive order is that Interpol's operations center for the United States is housed within our own Justice Department. Many of the agents are Americans who work under the aegis of Interpol. This order has potentially created the new civilian security force that Obama proposed during his campaign. This group of law enforcement officials is no longer subject to the restraints enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
The order guarantees that Interpol officers have immunity from prosecution for crimes they may commit in the United States. Ironically, some Interpol nations are attempting to try American intelligence agents for their work abroad in the War on Terror.
This order shows blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution. While Obama is extending due process rights to terrorists he is weakening those same rights for American citizens. If a citizen were to be prosecuted by Interpol their newly granted immunity would interfere with the discovery process. Since Interpol files are immune to disclosure, a citizen could be denied his right to see the information used to prosecute him or her.
Obama's executive order has done more to weaken civil liberties than the much maligned Patriot Act. The silence in the mainstream media on this issue should scare all freedom loving Americans. Obama just signed away parts of our precious legal protections.
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