December 22, 2005

Executive Order 12949: But Bill Clinton Said We Can Do It!

Well, no he didn't. And neither did Jimmy Carter.

Executive Order 12949, signed by President Clinton in 1995, and Executive Order 12139, signed by President Carter in 1979, each outlined executive branch procedures promulgated in compliance with FISA. These executive orders were issued in the wake of the enactment of the FISA statute (Carter), and then the amendment of the FISA statute (Clinton) and their purpose was to ensure compliance with FISA. For instance, in Executive Order 12949, Clinton wrote that the order was intended "to provide for the authorization of physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes as set forth in the [FISA] Act." Likewise, in Order 12139, Carter said that the order was based upon, "the authority vested in me as President by Sections 102 and 104 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978." Interestingly, President Bush himself issued an order, Executive Order 13383, on July 15, 2005, that also modified the executive branch's FISA procedures. Each of these three presidential orders affirms the executive's obligation to comply with FISA. No president, until now, has asserted the power to ignore or violate FISA.


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5:10 PM  

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