Obama signs Executive Order permitting seizure of communications systems
Right now, plenty of our conservative friends are up in arms over President Obama’s recent executive order permitting the seizure of communications systems for the supposed purpose of re-establishing communications systems in the event of an “emergency”.
The executive order, signed on Friday, once again expands the powers of the Department of Homeland Security — this time to include the handling of communications during a national security event or natural disaster. The order also allows for DHS to re-establish communications “through the use of commercial, government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate.”
The secretary of homeland security, in coordination with the secretary of defense, would also “serve as the federal lead for the prioritized restoration of communications infrastructure and coordinate the prioritization and restoration of communications, including resolution of any conflicts in or among priorities.”
In addition to further empowering DHS’ role in the federal government, the order also establishes several new committees and outlines the roles of various major executive branch agencies and offices, including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, DHS, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, General Services Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.
Now, I understand why our conservative friends are a bit miffed. I’m right there with them. However, I’m curious where they have been on the whole issue if the signature had read “George W. Bush”? I bet the chorus wouldn’t be nearly as loud.
Personally, I’m never comfortable with laws that give the government broad reaching powers in the event of an “emergency”, particularly when there are no pre-existing conditions on what actually constitutes an “emergency”. I know, I know, I sound paranoid. Someone reading this think I believe Obama will use all this authority to seize control of the government and make himself dictator for life or something.
Well, you’re going to be disappointed. While I disagree with President Obama on just about every point of policy I can think of to some degree, I don’t think he’s interested in becoming a dictator…at least not as he understands the term. I think he’s making a decision that he believes will be in the best interests of the nation. That just happens to be a position I disagree with.
The list of terrifying executive orders are out there for anyone who cares to look. They’ve been inked by both Democrats and Republicans, and I honestly believe that all were conceived in the belief that they were absolutely necessary. There was no world conspiracy at work to slowly turn the United States into a totalitarian dictatorship in an instant. That’s the stuff of fiction.
However, on a long enough timeline, someone will use them that way. I don’t think it’ll be Obama. I don’t even think it would be Romney if here were to win. (I think we all know it wouldn’t be Gary Johnson should the improbable happen and he win)
Eventually though, someone will. It will be some kind of emergency that will trigger a panic, something like another 9/11 type event. This one might just be a false-flag. It might be a real event that the government could have stopped, but didn’t. Or - and this is far more likely - it could be a real event that catches everyone unaware. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that these executive powers will be activated, and just like that we are in a world we won’t recognize.
Again, this won’t be tomorrow. It will probably not be in our lifetimes either. The thing is, I’m not comfortable with placing power in the hands of a select few. And the fact that Congress, who we elect to actually make laws (for better or worse) isn’t even responsible for this one? Sorry, but this is always going to make me nervous.