Former Vice President Dick Cheney pressured George W. Bush and other top administration officials to deploy U.S. soldiers to arrest suspected terrorists, according to a report that has just been publicly released.
Using American soldiers for domestic law enforcement purposes would have been unprecedented. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the armed forces from acting in a law enforcement capacity.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”
Vice President Dick Cheney argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up terrorism suspects. Dick Cheney argued that the President had unlimited powers to prosecute the “war on terror” on American soil and could ignore constitutional rights, including First Amendment freedoms of speech, the press, and Fourth Amendment requirements for search warrants.
Within the White House staff for Alberto Gonzales was John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), authorized the president to use the military for domestic matters. Yoo’s legal opinion, “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States,” was declassified and released along with other OLC memos in April of this year.
Yoo, who was a visiting law professor at Chapman University in Orange, Ca., asserted, “The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically,” Yoo wrote. “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully. The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically.”
The memo also said Bush had the legal authority to order searches and seizures without warrants against individuals that “he judged to be terrorists”.
Yoo’s legal opinion went on to say, “We think that the better view is that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military operations designed to deter and prevent future terrorist attacks.”
In an Oct. 6, 2008, just three months before Bush exited the White House, Stephen Bradbury, acting chief of the OLC, constructed a memo that renounced and did a quick backtrack withdrawing Yoo’s Oct. 23, 2001, legal opinion calling it, "a memorandum for the files." Stephen Bradbury renounced Yoo’s legal opinion and wrote that Yoo’s legal opinion “states several specific propositions that are either incorrect or highly questionable.” Bradbury went on to say, "Yoo’s opinion about suspending First Amendment protections were “overbroad and general and not sufficiently grounded in the particular circumstance of a concrete scenario.”
Bradbury went on to say, "The Oct. 23, 2001, memorandum represents a departure from the preferred practice of OLC to render formal opinions only with respect to specific and concrete policy proposals and not to undertake a general survey of a broad area of the law or to address general or amorphous hypothetical scenarios that implicate difficult questions of law.”
As many of us in the Intelligent Bloging Sentinel world would suspect, former officials said the 2002 debate arose from the Justice Department concerns that there might not be enough evidence to arrest and successfully prosecute terrorist suspects. “Mr. Cheney, the officials said, had argued that the administration would need a lower threshold of evidence to declare them enemy combatants and keep them in military custody.”
So to reiterate this statement, “If the evidence was inadequate to legally arrest those who George W. Bush deemed and “judged to be terrorists,” we only need to have someone to write a legal opinion that reduces the level of evidence required and have the military arrest them. PROBLEM SOLVED!