Examiner Editorial: Obama gives Interpol power beyond US law

No presidential statement or White House press briefing was held on it. All that can be found about it on the official White House Web site is the Dec. 17 announcement and one-paragraph text of President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 12425, with this innocuous headline: “Amending Executive Order 12425 Designating Interpol as a public international organization entitled to enjoy certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities.”

In fact, this new directive from Obama may be the most destructive blow ever struck against American constitutional civil liberties. No wonder the White House said as little as possible about it.

There are multiple reasons why this decision is so deeply disturbing. First, the Obama order reverses a 1983 Reagan administration decision in order to grant Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, two key privileges.

First, Obama has granted Interpol the ability to operate within the territorial limits of the U.S. without being subject to the same constitutional restraints that apply to all domestic law enforcement agencies.

Second, Obama exempted Interpol’s domestic facilities — including its office within the U.S. Department of Justice — from search and seizure by U.S. authorities, and from disclosure of archived documents in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by U.S. citizens.

Think very carefully about what you just read: Obama has given an international law enforcement organization that’s accountable to no other national authority the ability to operate as it pleases within our own borders. And he freed it from the most basic measure of official transparency and accountability: the FOIA.

The Examiner has asked for but not received from the White House press office an explanation of why the president signed this executive order and who among his advisers was involved in the process leading to his doing so.

Unless the White House can provide credible reasons to think otherwise, it seems clear that Executive Order 12425’s consequences could be far-reaching and disastrous. To cite only the most obvious example, giving Interpol free reign to act within this country could subject U.S. military, diplomatic and intelligence personnel to the prospect of being taken into custody and hauled before the International Criminal Court as “war criminals.”

As National Review Online’s Andy McCarthy put it, the White House must answer these questions: Why should we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have within the Justice Department a repository for stashing government files that will be beyond the scrutiny of Congress, American law enforcement, the media and the American people?

Barack ObamaInterpolOpinionUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Youth activists with the Sunrise Movement march along a rural road during their two-week trek from Paradise to San Francisco to call attention to an increase in deadly wildfires as a result of climate change on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Brooke Anderson)
Weeks-long climate march culminates on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lola’s alarm goes off most mornings before dawn. The 17-year-old high school… Continue reading

Most Read