The Obama administration last week rescinded restrictions on the operation of Interpol agents on US soil, giving them privileges US law enforcement doesn’t have and placing it above the US Constitution:
You just can’t make up how brazen this crowd is. One week ago, President Obama quietly signed an executive order that makes an international police force immune from the restraints of American law.
Interpol is the shorthand for the International Criminal Police Organization. It was established in 1923 and operates in about 188 countries. By executive order 12425, issued in 1983, President Reagan recognized Interpol as an international organization and gave it some of the privileges and immunities customarily extended to foreign diplomats. Interpol, however, is also an active law-enforcement agency, so critical privileges and immunities (set forth in Section 2(c) of the International Organizations Immunities Act) were withheld. Specifically, Interpol’s property and assets remained subject to search and seizure, and its archived records remained subject to public scrutiny under provisions like the Freedom of Information Act. Being constrained by the Fourth Amendment, FOIA, and other limitations of the Constitution and federal law that protect the liberty and privacy of Americans is what prevents law-enforcement and its controlling government authority from becoming tyrannical.
On Wednesday, however, for no apparent reason, President Obama issued an executive order removing the Reagan limitations. That is, Interpol’s property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.
The author, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, asks some very good questions, among them why we need to elevate a foreign police service above our own legal protections and why does Interpol need an untouchable repository for documents? Essentially this means that someone arrested under an Interpol warrant in the US can be denied the right to see the evidence used to swear out the warrant against him (presumably at an extradition hearing), a discovery process that’s considered a fundamental protection against tyranny under our Anglo-American system.
Steve Schippert and Clive Middleton at Threats Watch think they see a reason: this amendment of the Reagan-era order may be preparatory to once again subjecting the United States to the International Criminal Court and surrendering sovereignty:
In light of what we know and can observe, it is our logical conclusion that President Obama’s Executive Order amending President Ronald Reagans’ 1983 EO 12425 and placing INTERPOL above the United States Constitution and beyond the legal reach of our own top law enforcement is a precursor to more damaging moves.
The pre-requisite conditions regarding the Iraq withdrawal and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility closure will continue their course. meanwhile, the next move from President Obama is likely an attempt to dissolve the agreements made between President Bush and other states preventing them from turning over American military forces to the ICC (via INTERPOL) for war crimes or any other prosecutions.
When the paths on the road map converge – Iraq withdrawal, Guantánamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States – it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body who’s INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement.
For an added and disturbing wrinkle, INTERPOL’s central operations office in the United States is within our own Justice Department offices. They are American law enforcement officers working under the aegis of INTERPOL within our own Justice Department. That they now operate with full diplomatic immunity and with “inviolable archives” from within our own buildings should send red flags soaring into the clouds.
I don’t know if Middleton and Schippert’s analysis is correct, but I do find it more than a bit disturbing that a foreign law-enforcement agency would be allowed to operate on American soil and not be subject to the same constitutional restraints as the FBI or DEA. That’s an unacceptable slight to American sovereignty. And, to give my inner-conspiracy theorist full sway, isn’t it convenient that there’s now an archive within the Justice Department that’s protected by diplomatic immunity, so that no documents in it are available to Congress or a US court? What a perfect place to lose embarrassing documents Obama and Attorney General Holder would rather never see the light of day.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Obama thinks the Constitution is fundamentally flawed. So what’s the problem with giving extra-constitutional privileges to a foreign police agency?
Is it November, 2010, yet?
UPDATE: Welcome readers of Patterico’s Pontifications. Thanks for the link, DRJ!