|James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.|
|November 17, 1999|
NEWSMAX.COM-In the early 1950s, due to certain highly publicized Communist espionage cases, national security was foremost in the minds of American citizens. In 1953 President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order dealing with the subject of classification of information. Eisenhower, similar to his predecessor, President Truman, failed to cite any kind of statutory authority for this executive order but instead justified it from a general claim of presidential autonomy. The executive order itself provided no effective control over what would be designated as classified material. It also had no practical way of declassifying documents.
In a 1968 hearing on the Tonkin Gulf incident, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was astonished at testimony given by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, indicating that government classifications now existed that were "above top secret." These classifications were outside of President Eisenhower's executive order and were themselves classified.
In 1971 President Nixon issued an executive order that created new power for the executive branch to investigate individual American citizens, ostensibly to discover whether such persons constituted a threat to the security of the nation. The investigative activities that were authorized included secret wiretapping, forcible entry into offices, and use of undercover informants to infiltrate suspicious groups.
Richard Nixon also issued an executive order in 1972 regarding the security classification of documents and information. The order included provisions that allowed the executive branch to more easily prevent Congress from inquiring into certain foreign policy areas. These same security classifications continued through executive orders issued by Presidents Carter and Reagan, and most recently through a new version issued by President Clinton.
Executive orders have also been used over the years to keep certain information secret from the public, press, and even Congress. These types of orders originated from documents called National Security Council Policy Papers. The instruments go by various titles, including action memoranda, decision memoranda, and presidential decision directives (PDDs). Because of their classified status, though, we do not know the details or even the exact number of instruments presently on the books. However, what little information we do know about two PDDs in particular is most troubling because of the profound implications for our military policy and readiness.
An executive order called Presidential Decision Directive 25 was signed by President Clinton in 1994. The fine points of this order remain a secret. However, a summary of the directive, along with a variety of reports leaked to the press, give a fairly clear indication of the content. This executive order apparently gives the president the power to place U.S. Armed Forces under foreign command. U.S. troops are now routinely ordered by the president to serve under UN command in UN operations, without any authorization from Congress.
During the Clinton administration, U.S. military forces have joined in a number of United Nations interventionist efforts, including actions in Somalia, Macedonia, and Haiti. Most recently, the war in Yugoslavia, which violated NATO's own charter as well as the War Powers Resolution of 1973, also comes under the jurisdiction of this executive order. To this day, the U.S. military continues to serve under foreign command in a "peacekeeping" capacity.
In yet another affront to constitutional procedure, a single presidential signature on a lone instrument changed four decades of military policy in an instant. The executive order that transformed our international demeanor and altered the global balance of power was Presidential Decision Directive 60. The massive shift in policy again required no involvement from Congress.
Prior to the issuance of this executive order, our nation had a policy of launching a nuclear missile upon warning. In the event a missile was heading toward an American target and this fact was verified, our policy was to launch on receipt of verification. This approach, of course, was part of a calculated deterrent that came to be known as a policy of mutually assured destruction. It is precisely because of this firm approach that we have enjoyed a lengthy peace and have not actually had to use such weaponry.
The new policy established by PDD 60 literally forces our nation to absorb a nuclear first strike before retaliating. This action dramatically reduces the deterrent factor and increases the chances that an enemy might launch a preemptory strike. When electromagnetic pulse warheads with the capacity to disable computers are added to the mix, it quickly becomes evident that this policy serves to encourage military aggression from our adversaries and undermines the geopolitical stability of the world. Not only does this course run counter to common sense, it diminishes our military advantage and fails to serve our country's best interests.
In our next segment, we will examine ways in which executive orders are being used surreptitiously to advance a comprehensive global agenda.
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