The Shadow White House: Obama’s Secret Policy Directives
Since taking office in 2009, Barak Obama has issued 30 Presidential Policy Directives (PPD).
While the number of these executive directives are fewer than previous Presidents have issued, what’s concerning is the secrecy behind the directives combined with Obama’s promise of running an open and transparent White House.
Please see this post at The New American, citing the USA Today reporting of Obama’s use of secret Policy Directives:
Of the 30 PPDs issued by Obama, 19 have not been released. And for 11 of those, the White House has not disclosed even the subject of the order.
“It’s not only the public that doesn’t have copies. It’s also Congress that doesn’t have copies,” Aftergood said. “It’s a domain of largely unchecked presidential authority. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it’s lacking in independent oversight.”
But they have the same legal force as an executive order, forming a body of largely secret law, said Harold Relyea, a political scientist who advised Congress on national security directives before retiring from the Congressional Research Service.
“The difference is that while executive orders are public by law — they must be published in the Federal Register to be effective — PPDs are not,” he said. “It is a kind of secret law. People have to obey it. But it’s a directive that can allocate money, direct people or take a course of action.”
In an era of electronic spying, global terrorism fears, and dimished privacy rights under The Patriot Act, even Congress is in the dark about what laws have been altered.
While keeping information classified is understood for national security reasons, there must checks and balances in place to prevent The Executive Branch from abusing its power.
Given the less than full accounts and ongoing investigations of the IRS scandal, Benghazi, and the mysterious killing of Osma bin Laden, is The White House using the cloak of secrecy to exercise power and influence beyond those granted in The Constitution?
An open and transparent White House would not duck this question.