Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama Just Gave Interpol Rights That Our Law Enforcement Agencies Don't Have?

Another sneaky move by the White House which could lead to disaster down the road. It's interesting that terrorists are given full constitutional privileges while Americans (including soldiers accused of "war crimes") just lost some of theirs. Note Interpol will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act:

No presidential statement or White House press briefing was held on it. In fact, all that can be found about it on the official White House Web site is the Dec. 17 announcement and one-paragraph text of President Obama's Executive Order 12425, with this innocuous headline: "Amending Executive Order 12425 Designating Interpol as a public international organization entitled to enjoy certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities."In fact, this new directive from Obama may be the most destructive blow ever struck against American constitutional civil liberties. No wonder the White House said as little as possible about it.

There are multiple reasons why this Obama decision is so deeply disturbing. First, the Obama order reverses a 1983 Reagan administration decision in order to grant Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, two key privileges. First, Obama has granted Interpol the ability to operate within the territorial limits of the United States without being subject to the same constitutional restraints that apply to all domestic law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. Second, Obama has exempted Interpol's domestic facilities -- including its office within the U.S. Department of Justice -- from search and seizure by U.S. authorities and from disclosure of archived documents in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by U.S. citizens. Think very carefully about what you just read: Obama has given an international law enforcement organization that is accountable to no other national authority the ability to operate as it pleases within our own borders, and he has freed it from the most basic measure of official transparency and accountability, the FOIA.

The Examiner has asked for but not yet received from the White House press office an explanation of why the president signed this executive order and who among his advisers was involved in the process leading to his doing so. Unless the White House can provide credible reasons to think otherwise, it seems clear that Executive Order 12425's consequences could be far-reaching and disastrous. To cite only the most obvious example, giving Interpol free rein to act within this country could subject U.S. military, diplomatic, and intelligence personnel to the prospect of being taken into custody and hauled before the International Criminal Court as "war criminals."

As National Review Online's Andy McCarthy put it, the White House must answer these questions: Why should 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 that will be beyond the scrutiny of Congress, American law enforcement, the media, and the American people?

9 comments:

Adam said...

Wow, the title of your article is a blatent lie. It doesn't give Interpol any police powers whatsoever- nor do they have any arrest powers. It gives them an exemption from searches of property as if it were a foreign country's embassy... And the only property I've been told they have is the Interpol-U.S. National Central Bureau.... that's right, it's shared with the DOJ... so I'm not sure what the concern is. All Interpol does anyways, despite what you see in the movies, is facilitate international police cooperation- they basically just serve as a central database for international criminals. This is just silly fearmongering you got here. The order also seem to give them some tax exemptions... maybe you should make a huff about that.

jerry said...

Adam:
So the following is of no concern to you?

Exempting Interpol from the FOIA alone is a diminution of our sovereign Constitutional rights

The Left's love of tyranny is boundless.

You can put all the smiley faces you want on it but it is what it says it is.




"Second, Obama has exempted Interpol's domestic facilities -- including its office within the U.S. Department of Justice -- from search and seizure by U.S. authorities and from disclosure of archived documents in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by U.S. citizens. Think very carefully about what you just read: Obama has given an international law enforcement organization that is accountable to no other national authority the ability to operate as it pleases within our own borders, and he has freed it from the most basic measure of official transparency and accountability, the FOIA."

Max Jacobs said...

A few things, first, why do they require this exemption? Second, why has the White House refused to comment on it even though ABC has asked them about it twice and third, what is to stop the ICC from changing Interpol's mandate to make arrests and then possibly stash their prisoners in their offices, which are now exempt from search by any law enforcement agencies.

Max Jacobs said...

I also just changed the title to be less bomb throwing though it stay may turn out to be accurate. Remember the loss of our constitutional rights is always a multi-step process. We are at step #8.

Adam said...

Jerry, Interpol has always been exempt from FOIA requests, in the same way you are exempt from FOIA requests. You, and Interpol, are not part of the US government. Finally, Interpol does absolutely NO LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE USA. Forget what you've seen in the movies, it's a fabrication. Interpol cannot arrest, it cannot seize, it cannot search. Our civil liberties are preserved simply because Interpol never had the power to infringe upon them. We can still make FOIA requests of the DOJ for documents that they have received from Interpol. All Interpol does is give us information regarding international criminals & help process extradition requests!

Adam said...

Also, Jerry, while FOIA is a wonderful thing which I wish were a constitutional right, it's a legislative act, not a constitutional right. And, it only applies to the US government, it doesn't allow snooping on your neighbor or a company or an international organization. Furthermore, if you're truly questioning Obama's dedication to transparency, take a look at this executive order from today, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-classified-national-security-information. This order requires an improved declassification process & establishes a declassification center for declassifying historical documents.

Max Jacobs said...

So they are starting a process for declassification, big woop. Yet they won't answer the question, so why did you just grant Interpol wider exemption? If its so innocuous they should answer that simple question.

My guess is that the new declassification process will work faster when they want to embarrass the FBI, CIA and Bush and not work when they are trying to hide their own skeletons (like who was involved in the decision to drop charges on those black panthers who were clearly intimidating non-black voters).

Adam said...

Frankly I don't understand your question- I told you Interpol has no police powers, all they do here is serve as a database on international criminals and expediate extradition so who cares. You're questioning the timing? That's like the last resort for conspiracy theorists. Most likely Interpol simply asked for all of the exemptions that they didn't get the first time around and they couldn't think of any good reason not to give it to them. You have to realize that this is a foreign organization that chooses to operate in our borders for our benefit. Cripes, the Salvation Army gets the same scary immunities. Interpol doesn't have to give our police any information on international criminals- they voluntarily do so to help make our country safer.

Of course they'll seek to use declassification in that manner- that's the way politics works. You try to make the other guy look bad and keep yourself looking good. If we get a republican pres next election he'll do the same thing, they all do it.

HRoesch said...

I think anyone who is not a little concerned about this is not thinking it through -
How did Interpol begin?
Interpol was founded in Austria in 1923 as the International Criminal Police (ICP). Following the Anschluss (Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany) in 1938, the organization fell under the control of Nazi Germany and the Commission's headquarters were eventually moved to Berlin in 1942. It is unclear, however, if and to what extent the ICPC files were used to further the goals of the Nazi regime. However, from 1938 to 1945, the presidents of Interpol included Otto Steinhäusl (a general in the SS), Reinhard Heydrich (a general in the SS, and chair of the Wannsee Conference that appointed Heydrich the chief executor of the "Final solution to the Jewish question"), Arthur Nebe (a general in the SS, and Einsatzgruppen leader, under whose command at least 46,000 people were killed), and Ernst Kaltenbrunner (a general in the SS, the highest ranking SS officer executed after the Nuremberg Trial).

After the end of World War II in 1945, the organization was revived as the International Criminal Police Organization by European Allies of World War II officials from Belgium, France, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Its new headquarters were established in Saint-Cloud, a town on the outskirts of Paris. They remained there until 1989, when they were moved to their present location, Lyon.

This is what Reagan did in 1983:
By executive order 12425, issued in 1983, President Reagan recognized Interpol as an international organization and gave it some of the privileges and immunities customarily extended to foreign diplomats. Interpol, however, is also an active law-enforcement agency, so critical privileges and immunities (set forth in Section 2(c) of the International Organizations Immunities Act) were withheld.

There was no reason this should have changed - Remember the saying: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrups absolutely."