The other day, the most transparent administration ever did something very secretive and very bizarre: without any fanfare, President Obama signed an Executive Order giving Interpol freedom to operate within United States borders. Oh, yes, there was an announcement — of sorts. The following is the press release that went out:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 17, 2009
Executive Order — Amending Executive Order 12425
– – – – – – –
AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER 12425 DESIGNATING INTERPOL
AS A PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION ENTITLED TO
ENJOY CERTAIN PRIVILEGES, EXEMPTIONS, AND IMMUNITIES
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words “except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act” and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.
If you’re the ordinary reporter, who couldn’t care less what Obama does because everything he does is wonderful, your reaction to that dry and confusing little statement is going to be to ignore it — and that’s precisely what the media did. Some bloggers, though, were paying attention. Pierre Legrand, at the Pink Flamingo Room for one. If he hadn’t raised the issue, I wouldn’t have known about it.
But now, people are paying attention. Terresa, at NoisyRoom, has compiled a massive post with tons of information about the President’s little executive order. Here’s what I’ve been able to figure out….
The order exempts Interpol from any oversight by America — even when it’s operating on American soil. It is completely immune from American search and seizure laws. It’s data cannot be subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Interpol, in other words, has gone from being an offshore information repository to which American and European law enforcement officials can have access, to being a freely operating investigation agency on US shores, with no US oversight.
Please check out Terresa’s data. It’s got interesting stuff, such as the Interpol/Nazi connection, the “what’s in it for Obama” line of reasoning, and general information about what this means. It may be nothing or it may be something. The one thing we do know is that our transparent administration, in the dark of night, gave an international police organization absolute freedom to operate within our borders and he’d better have a damn good explanation for doing so.