June 22nd, 2008at 02:35pm Posted by Eli
In case y’all needed any more proof that Dubya’s assertions of unilateral authority have absolutely nothing to do with fighting terrorism:
Ten months after Congress passed a law establishing a White House coordinator for preventing nuclear terrorism, President Bush has no plans to create the high-level post any time soon, according to the National Security Council.
The provision – suggested by leading members of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – was contained in 2007 legislation designed to improve homeland defenses. Congress passed it by a wide margin, with bipartisan support.
Some congressional leaders said Bush’s failure to fill the job nearly a year later marks an outright evasion of the law, and called on the president to fill the position swiftly, even though his administration has only seven months left in office.
The White House opposed creating the position from the start. In a January 2007 letter to Congress – six months before the law was adopted – the Bush administration wrote that the appointment of a nuclear antiterrorism chief “is unnecessary given extensive coordination and synchronization mechanisms that now exist within the executive branch,” citing a 2006 strategy document that lays out the responsibilities of numerous government departments.
But in the past, Bush has tried to bypass provisions of laws he disagrees with by issuing “signing statements,” documents singling out those parts of statutes that White House lawyers advised would infringe on his constitutional powers as chief of the government’s executive branch. Bush has used this practice more than any prior president.
This time, however, the White House seems to be ignoring the nuclear terrorism coordinator requirement not for constitutional reasons but simply because the administration thinks it is a bad idea. It is a stance some legal scholars called an even more blatant disregard of the checks and balances on presidential power.
National security analysts have long advocated for a top presidential adviser focused solely on organizing the government to prevent terrorists from acquiring catastrophic weapons, such as a nuclear device, a radioactive “dirty bomb,” or biological agents. They contend that the current arrangement – in which that responsibility is spread across the Departments of Energy, Defense, State, and Homeland Security – is not fully integrated and has gaps in preparedness.
Advocates say the post is needed now more than ever, pointing to growing evidence – documented by international intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency – that terrorist groups are actively seeking nuclear or radiological weapons and the know-how to make them.
Meanwhile, a government-funded report released this month concluded that some of the current efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism are not fully coordinated.
I’m amazed that President Strong Terrorist Fighter can’t even be bothered to appoint someone to guard against the very kind of attack that he spent his entire presidency scaremongering about. Not only did he not appoint a Nukular Terror Czar of his own volition, he has ignored Congress’s legal directive to do so.
Does anyone still believe that he’s insisting on the need for carte blanche wiretapping to prevent terrorist attacks? I wonder how many Arabic/Daro/Pashto translators he has working on all those wiretaps of supposed Muslim terrorists…