Is Obama authorized to classify and declassify information at will?
According to my recollection, the answer to that question would be a very emphatic, “No.” In fact, I distinctly recall there being some exceptionally good reasons why we would NEVER give such authority to one branch of the government, much less access to the information itself.
Just because someone possesses a current security clearance has never given them any right or authority to access all information restricted to that level. This precept is called “need to know.” By limiting access to only those individuals who have a valid and verified need to know the information, you limit the risk of inappropriate disclosure. Such disclosure can cause grave upsets in the balance of powers, and may very well place the sources of that information, along with their families, friends, and communities, in harm’s way of capture, torture, or death.
So why did Obama release the information regarding which SEAL Team conducted the raid on Bin Laden’s hideout? Why did he release highly classified information regarding Israel’s defense capabilities?
I went to the Department of Justice’s web page on Declassification for answers, and came across their Declassification FAQs, discovering the following:
WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY FOR AUTOMATIC DECLASSIFICATION?
Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information”
As it turns out, Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information,” was issued on December 29, 2009 by United States President Barack Obama. Oh, joy… He’s been trying to rewrite the law since the beginning, hasn’t he?
Two key points, here:
1. Obama gave himself “Classification Authority” in Section 1.3, in direct violation of both federal and Constitutional law.
2. In Section 3.1, he game himself “Declassification Authority.”
Specifically: 3.1 – Authority for Declassification, it says, “Information shall be declassified or downgraded by:”
– the official who authorized the original classification, if that official is still serving in the same position and has original classification authority
– the originator’s current successor in function, if that individual has original classification authority
– a supervisory official of either the originator or his or her successor in function, if the supervisory official has original classification authority
– officials delegated declassification authority in writing by the agency head or the senior agency official of the originating agency
As it turns out, 18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information, already addresses this issue. U.S. Code is the collection of federal law created by Congress, as authorized by our Constitution, to provide for the security of our nation, commensurate with the federal government’s mandate to “protect the people.”
Congress makes law, not the President.
When a President attempts to overwrite federal law by means of executive order, he is violating the limits on his authority imposed by the Constitution and endangering our Republic.
When Obama released information on Israel’s nuclear capability, he violated federal law in precisely the same manner as Thomas Drake, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, James Hitselberger, Shami K. Leibowitz, John Kiriakou, Bradley Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, and Edward Snowden, and deserves precisely the same charges, trial, sentencing, and imprisonment.
Most heinous, however, is that Obama tried giving himself the ability to classify information. So, if you raise an objective and he doesn’t like it, he can classify it and have you tossed in prison?
I DON’T THINK SO, OBAMA! Not lawfully, anyway.
The law is the law, and our Constitution remains “the supreme Law of the Land.” Obama has, once again, violated the law.