Executive Order 12333 is a Reagan [genuflects]-era order written to make sure the next Ollie North never gets prosecuted, to permit assassinations (in the jargon, "targeted killings"), and to permit domestic surveillance by the NSA.
One wonders what expanded powers Our Betters could possibly need. But need them they do, or so they tell us:
[Mike McConnell,] the national intelligence director, has won White House approval to begin revising an executive order that lays out each spy agency's responsibilities and the government's protections against spying on Americans.
Unlike the surveillance law, the White House can change an executive order without congressional or judicial approval.
I think it's great that the administration is going to do this now, and I'm sure that the Regent [cough] lawyers down in the basement of Cheney's bunker have already formed a prayer group on it. And I absolutely trust the Bush administration to do the right thing on this. Wouldn't you?
[Reach me that bucket, wouldja hon?]
Some officials familiar with Intelligence Director Mike McConnell's plans, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the deliberations remain internal, said his intent is solely to update the policy to reflect changes in the intelligence community since Sept. 11, 2001, including the creation of his own office.
But other officials, who also spoke on condition they not be identified, said opening the order to changes could lead well beyond that. They said the exercise could threaten civil liberties protections approved by President Reagan following intelligence abuses in the 1970s, and that intelligence agencies will be tempted to expand their powers.
In a recent interview, Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, characterized the effort as an "overhaul" aimed at helping all 16 spy agencies work more closely together. He said the discussions about the order — known by its number, 12333 — are still in the early stages.
McConnell himself has said the authorities of his office need to be adjusted. "We don't have it right yet," he told an audience in April.
Well, gosh. How about we good citizens help McConnell out? Here's a copy of the order. And after careful, thoughtful, prayerful considerations, I've come up with the following changes to the Preamble: Read below the fold...