Tuesday, July 31, 2007

NSPD 51 and Bush Plan for Continuity

In case you don't already know about this, here's the heads up about NSPD 51, the secret Bush plan for continuity of government:


Quote: The unclassified portion of the directive was posted on the White House website on May 9, 2007, without any further announcement or press briefings.

(via Froomkin:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2007/07/23/BL2007072300799_5.html)

Continuity Plans?

Jeff Kosseff writes in the Oregonian: "Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.

"As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure 'bubbleroom' in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.

"On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED."

Is this just Democrat, left wing paranoia? No, the Heritage Foundation and other conservatives are also concerned:
(from Boston Globe, June 2, 2007)

The unanswered questions have provoked anxiety across ideological lines. The conservative commentator Jerome Corsi , for example, wrote in a much-linked online column that the directive looked like a recipe for allowing the office of the presidency to seize "dictatorial powers" because the policy does not discuss consulting Congress about when to invoke emergency powers -- or when to turn them off.

In addition, specialists at both the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, and the American Civil Liberties Union said they have taken calls and e-mails from people who are worried about what the new policy may portend.

James Carafano , a homeland security specialist at Heritage, criticized the administration for failing to inform the public that the new policy was coming, and why it was changing.

He said the White House did not recognize that discussion of emergency governmental powers is "a very sensitive issue for a lot of people," adding that the lack of explanation is "appalling."

The Globe article points out that in the past, such plans existed but no part was made public, and suggests the Administration did us all a favor by making some parts public. But I think the net effect could be that in the future, the Administration could point to this fact and thus make implementation all the more palatable ("we told you about this, so it should come as no surprise"). I fear that the average citizen would be greatly swayed by such a rhetorical trick.

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