In an unprecedented step for executive power, President Obama signed an Executive Order on July 6th that allows the executive branch to seize control of all communications infrastructure in the United States, public and private:
“Without even the faintest toot of a fanfare, President Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order that outlines an extreme level of communications preparedness in case of crisis or emergency, including the ability to take over any communication network, including the internet.
The Order, ‘Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions,’ takes many of the US government’s existing emergency communications preparations, and codifies the exact responsibilities of the various US secretaries/departments and intelligence agencies. For the most part, the Order is very sensible; basically, no matter what — come hurricanes, earthquakes, or nuclear war — the US government ‘must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions.’”
One can expect governments to plan for all kinds of emergencies– i.e. meteor strikes, wars, uprisings, (etc.). Several continuity plans are already in place. But if this latest executive order sounds unbelievable, then it probably should, because with the stroke of a pen, President Obama has entered America into a new paradigm.
No longer is it enough for Washington to simply use, cooperate with, or listen to private communications. Now the president claims the authority to order all of it seized– as in nationalized under federal control. In a sense, however, this sweeping new order is only somewhat unprecedented, at least in the Bush-Obama era of executive power. Potential seizure of communications infrastructure simply folds into a laundry list of resources that Obama declared authority to seize and manage in another recent Executive Order:
“On March 16th, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which expands upon a prior order issued in 1950 for Disaster Preparedness, and gives the office of the President complete control over all the resources in the United States in times of war or emergency.
The National Defense Resources Preparedness order gives the Executive Branch the power to control and allocate energy, production, transportation, food, and even water resources by decree under the auspices of national defense and national security. The order is not limited to wartime implementation, as one of the order’s functions includes the command and control of resources in peacetime determinations.”
It is troubling how little coverage and scrutiny this event is getting in the mainstream media. Agree with this new policy or not, why aren’t Americans even discussing it?
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