Sunday, September 03, 2006

Double Top Secret

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition reports how the Bush administration has routinely refused attempts by members of Congressional oversight committees to, um, provide oversight (read: "review") certain illegal black operations conducted by the NSA. The excuse for this is that the representatives do not have security clearance, but since the President assigns security clearance, it is he who is barring oversight. Anything the president doesn't want reviewed, he declares it "National Security" and assigns it a clearance level out of reach of Congress. Clip:
Of course, clearances, like classified information, are exclusively controlled by the President. So if he does not want oversight of anything he has made secret he simply refuses Congress clearance to see the material. This is the modern version of Royal Prerogative that was argued by Parliament against Charles I in 17th century England and was finally, so we thought, put to rest in the United States by the Constitution. "National security" has converted the presidency into a limited monarchy with the power to deny the people, through their elected representatives, accountability for executive actions.

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