July 13, 2009

U.S. Constitution 101

Dick Cheney, the former vice president, ordered a highly classified CIA operation hidden from Congress because it pushed the limits of legality by planning to assassinate al-Qaida operatives in friendly countries without the knowledge of their governments, according to former intelligence officials.
If this is true, then anyone with an apprehension of the political principles underpinning the Constitution should be mighty troubled.

Because that the operation pushed the limits of legality is why the executive branch is supposed to consult with Congress. It's not an acceptable reason to circumvent it.

The planned assassinations may or may not have been sound policy, but my understanding is the federal government was designed to prevent this type of structural abuse.

What's less clear in the Constitution is from where the Vice President derives the power to make such a decision, unless it was undertaken during a moment when the President was unable "to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office."

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