Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

NSA: There is some common ground

Not surprisingly, if you spend the time listening to others -- you'll find some common ground.

Cross posted: Click ]

William Sire,

Thank you for your kind remarks. You said, "I am not certain if you and I are on the same side but I do agree with you." Great -- so we can agree that people who may not be on the same side can agree -- it doesn't matter what we disagree on; there is a way forward.

You also said, "Let’s look for the truth." I commend you on your desire to rise above the issues; indeed it is prudent to find facts.

You also suggested that you perhaps had mixed views on the investigations -- in that they would help lead to truth, but may have some uncertain constitutional value. You stated, "I will admit that while I support these investigations I am not knowledgeable of their constitutional value." OK, so we have common ground: There is a reasonable basis to review the activity -- to find facts. The way forward is to discuss the Constitutional value -- or lack there of -- of finding facts.

You also suggested that the programs and activities are well grounded. "However I do believe what I have been told about such matters, being that they sound and rooted in law." You are correct: This is what has been said. And there are other arguments -- based on not knowing the facts.

Rather, the other arguments are based on, "Given the FISA court was ignored, and they still engaged in the programs, we need to find out why this is done; and why the requirement was ignored."

You also raise some interesting final points. Before I address it, I would like to share with you a small issue: This is the difference between [a] Executive power and [b] ministerial acts. Power is something that is used; ministerial acts are something that the Congress -- by statute can require.

The issue before us on the FISA-NSA issue us: Is the FISA act a lawful ministerial duty; or is it unconstitutional? The way forward isn't to simply assert that it is -- but to ask the court to review the matter: If the FISA is unconstitutional, then there is no issue; if the FISA is a lawful ministerial requirement, then we need to explore the evidence: Whether the President did or did not do what was lawfully required.

At that point, we can see whether Congress has the power to ratify something that was apparently not done: Namely -- assuming it is a ministerial act -- whether the Congress can then say, "Despite that law, we shall not enforce that law." That may be where we are.

Because going forward, the next issue becomes: Has Congress unconstitutionally asserted judicial power in ratifying a violation of a ministerial act; or has the FISA simply unlawfully trumped Executive power.

The way forward is to review the issues before the court. At this juncture, the troubling issue is -- if this was a bonafide violation of FISA -- in that it was a lawful ministerial requirement -- Congress appears more willing to not look at the matter. Going back to your points above -- the way forward is to ask: What are the facts; was a power unlawfully asserted; has Congress not done its job; and were rights violated.

Again, at this point the issue isn't what did or didn't happen -- although that remains unclear; rather, the issue is despite this uncertain legal issue: "What is to be done to ensure that the branches of government are or are not lawfully asserting and exercising lawful power." We do not know. What we do know is that it is Almost April 2006, almost 5 months after the disclosures in the NYT. That appears to be rather glacial. At this pace, we're about half-way from Dec 2006 to the November 2006 elections. By all accounts, rather than find facts, we appear to be on a course to avoid facing legal issues and answering questions. If we are going to make informed decisions in November 2006, we need to know where this Federal Government stands. At this point, a reasonable person could conclude that there is no interested in facts; rather, they want to spend time facing "other issues." That is not leadership, especially when there are lawful requirements to do otherwise.

Getting back to you final point, and in light of above, you raise some interesting issues related to burden of proof. You state, "I would like to see those who are oppose to what the government is doing 1) admit they are making accusations ( if it proves to be less offensive we can say raising questions ) and 2) prove their suspicions bare evidence before they demand we acknowledge it is fact and take action as though it is." Your point is well taken -- that we do not have information; that there are programs that are not disclosed.

However, there is an issue with burden of proof. The Government has not met its burden: The government has to prove that the programs were lawful; there are already civil cases against the NSA; and the court in DC has ordered the NSA to turn over the information related to the Cases [Electronic Freedom Foundation, ACLU, and others]. As to whether someone admits they are or are not making accusations is well taken: At this point, we can only do that -- that is the basis for a complaint at the court; and the burden of proof rests with the plaintiffs to show that there was or was not something done.

Conversely, the entire burden of proof changes when we talk about a criminal matter, and the issue of Government oversight. If the Congress has the power to oversee the NSA -- which it does -- but refuses to consider the matter, or look into the details; then the issue isn't simply whether or not the law was broken; but whether the US government is legitimate in asserting power, checking power, and ensuring that the rule of law prevails.

Again, we are getting to the half-way point between Dec 2005, and the November 2006 elections. Going forward, Congress has to decide whether it wants to be part of the fact finding solution, or whether it wants to be part of the problem. There are three options -- all of them which mandate the Congress take action. First, the States can order the House to vote on impeachment with a rule 603; Second we can have a Constitutional Convention to change the laws and force Congress to do what it refuses to do -- review the matter -- and strip them of power they appear to not want to assert; or third, we can write a New Constitution. All three options are legal, and are consistent with the law.

The way forward is for the country to decide whether it wants to focus on facts; or whether it wants to focus on accusations. I would prefer that the nation move forward on the basis of facts. At this juncture, Congress does not show they are interested in facts. Rather, this Congress assents to what appears to be a stonewall. However, there are lawful options to force Congress to do what must be done: Break down that stonewall, find out, and bring to this to a conclusion.

As to your larger point -- whether the country can or cannot stand the constitutional debate, and whether there is or is not a distractions with the fact finding -- my view is that this is what is part of a civilized society. it's not as though this is a distraction --rather, this is the purpose of government: To check power, assert power for one goal -- to ensure our rights are protected, and that power is not abused. Perhaps the Executive and Congress know something and we should have confidence that power is appropriately being used, and there is no evidence. However, it appears as though there is a question with this -- namely, if there was no problem, why do the legal arguments for and against this activity not simply get taken to the court for final adjudication? The answer appears to be that the White House and Congress want to keep this out of court -- if that is the case, and then they are asking us to believe that they -- not the judicial branch -- can decide the legal matters. If that is what they want -- to keep this out of court -- then they appear to have asserted they in the Executive and Legislative branches may assert Judicial Power. That is not Constitutional.

In the end, unless this case appears before a court, we shall have no closure as to what is or is not lawful assertion of power. Rather, the way forward will be to do what is already started: State level discussions to force an impeachment using House rule 603; and drafting of a New Constitution to force Congress to do what it refuses to do: Assent to a judicial review of issues it refuses to investigate.

I look forward to your response. Either way, the issue is what will protect rights and prevent the abuse of power. I'm open to believing that there is no problem; at the same time, there is a deadline: 1 April 2006; after that date the public discussion on the New Constitution will accelerate and we will force this Federal Government to do what it refuses to do: Check power, find facts, and resolve issues.

Thank you for considering my remarks, and I look forward to reading your views on the information above, and the subsequent postings. Remember one thing: It's simply about asserting lawful power to protect rights, and ensure we are free from the abuse of power. Thank you.

* * *

Blue State Red,

Thank you for the link you have provided. You well stated the position in the AUMF and Hadmi case. With respect to the NSA issue, there is a slight nuance, which may be of interest.

You stated, "You will find that, far from being the clear-cut violation of law the Left calls it, there are plausible justifications for the NSA program grounded in the Constitution and the AUMF. According to these plausible rationales, the provisions of FISA are irrelevant to the President’s inherent warfighting powers as Commander in Chief"

Let's begin with the AUMF-FISA-NSA nexus. The Hamdi case arose because of a detention in Guantanamo. The issue before the court was whether or not they could or could not appear before the court. The court stated in matters related to issues which are not specifically defined --as was not the case in the AUMF -- that the generalized langue of the AUMF was the controlling authority. However, this did not mean that he lost the right to take the issue to court.

With respect to [a] the FISA-NSA issue and [b] the issue with respect to AUMF is where the debate lies: Some argue that the AUMF -- in its generalized state -- would be the controlling authority on the President's use or non-use of power.

The other view, takes the view that the AUMF -- which is generalized -- is a different matter; and that the FISA act is a specific statement of what is or is not a ministerial act. Thus, this view holds that the Hamdi case is not relevant -- in that unlike the AUMF-Hadmis situation which had no specific language in the AUMF what to do about prisoners -- the FISA language was specific.

This is the heart of the debate:

A. Is the AUMF generalized, and does FISA trump the AUMF, and lawfully impose a ministerial duty; or

B. Is the use of power in war legal to include ignoring a statute, and this is lawful because the Statute unlawfully prohibits the exercise of lawful power. As you can see, both sides do not agree.

As to your points about the UofChicago lawyer and Hamdi case, you well direct us to their positions. "Has any court rendered an opinion on the legality or legality of the wire tapping program? Not directly. You may want to read the decisions in Hamdi and In Re Sealed Cases.

You are correct that no court has ruled whether the NSA activity is or is not legal; rather both sides are arguing outside court.

Which brings us back to the issue: How do we resolve this matter. There are two separate cases. The first is the Congressional-Executive power issue; and the second is the criminal case over whether or not there has been a violation of the law.

At this point, Congress is not interested in pursuing -- what is arguably a lawful requirement under their oath -- to find facts; rather, they do the opposite and defer to the Executive, leaving the legal question of power open. Those who believe this issue should be pursued would like to see: A resolution; a clear position as to what is or is not a lawful use of power; and a closure as to why a statute is or is not followed; and whether it is or is not lawful for Congress to ratify what some say is unlawful conduct.

On the other hand, there is another view that the resolution to this matter need not be concluded; and that the final solution is up to the public to bring to court. This is true: The public can and is pursuing this matter in court. However, the way to check power isn't to rely on a civil case; rather, it is to ensure that the power is lawfully asserted.

The problem the nation has is that we are "relying on" a civil action -- and the likely ruling on whether FISA is or is not constitutional -- in order to trigger fact finding, evidence review, and rulings on case law; arguably, these should be things that Congress does, and lawfully asserts out of desire to check power, and honor their oath.

From the broad perspective, regardless the approach one takes, it appears as though in the end it is not going to be the Federal Government that solves this mess. Rather, it sill be people who choose to assert the law, compel fact finding, and get the courts to adjudicate. Whether the Congress and Executive do or do not wish to cooperate, stay involved, or be part of the process is momentarily going to be irrelevant. At this juncture, there is already a move afoot to compel Congress to vote on impeachment -- forcing them to commit whether they do or do not want to investigate -- and also draft a revision to the Constitution; in so doing, this will address the current problem we have: Failure of Congress to assert power, find facts, and resolve legal issues within the Judicial Branch of Government.

Having stated the above, let's consider the issues raised in the comments.

1. Question: "Has any court rendered an opinion on the legality or legality of the wire tapping program?" You are correct: No.

2. "Response Not directly. You may want to read the decisions in Hamdi and In Re Sealed Cases. You may also want to read the analysis by liberal Prof. Cass Sunstein". Indeed, the case has not been resolved.

3. "You will find that, far from being the clear-cut violation of law the" -- indeed, we have not been given much assistance from Congress in finding facts; rather, the evidence before us -- if we make adverse inferences -- is that the facts and arguments do not suggest that there is a stable, solid, legal argument. The White House and DoJ appear to be adjusting their argument based on new information. This is a sign that they do not have a solid legal foundation for what appears to be a large program. We remain open to facts.

4. "there are plausible justifications for the NSA program grounded in the Constitution and the AUMF." This is an argument which the court -- as you noted in 1 -- has not adjudicated. This remains a matter for the Executive to prove, not merely assert; conversely, it is up to the Congress and Courts to review this matter.

5. "According to these plausible rationales, the provisions of FISA are irrelevant to the President’s inherent warfighting powers as Commander in Chief." Indeed, and the other view is that the President has no inherent power -- rather, he only has powers that are explicitly delegated; The President was not granted the power to violate the law; nor was he granted the power to ignore a ministerial requirement. You are correct: The court has to adjudicate whether the FISA is a lawful ministerial requirement; or an unlawful constraint on Executive power.

6. "Russ Feingold is a smart man, so he presumably knows these arguments. He is ignoring them for political purposes, however. In other words, he is LYING to the American people. Now how do you like your boy Russ?" It remains to be understood. As you well noted in 1 above, the court has yet to adjudicate the matter; it would appear it is premature -- in the absence of that adjudication -- to assert that those who desire facts are lying; rather, a reasonable person could conclude the opposite: That in order to avoid fact finding, Congress has shifted the issue from whether Congress has or has not unlawfully asserted Judicial power -- in validating what is arguably an unlawful act -- or whether Congress has unlawfully assented to an abuse of power. A reasonable person at this juncture -- given we are almost four months in to -- what some could argue -- is stonewalling -- that Congress and President have jointly agreed not to review a matter that should be reviewed. It remains to be understood whether Congress and the President lawfully have their power revoked under a New Constitution. The work continues.

* * *

Blue State Red

You raised a point about the 9-11 events.

The evidence we have – as reported by Georgetown Professor Turley is that Moussaui essentially admitted to a long string of accusations that no reasonable fact finder could conclude. Namely, some believe the man is crazy and admitted to non-sense. Putting that aside, you raised a point about the link between NSA and 9-11:

  • 1. 9-11 and NSA

    You sated, “NOTE: In May 2002 the New York Times - no right wing news organ, to be sure - reported that Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called “20th hijacker,” was not detected sooner because FBI officials refused to authorize a FISA warrant application for fear it would be denied. Gee, I wonder if that same fear had anything to do with the structure and authorization of the NSA program?”

    Your point is understandable: There are questions related to what the NSA did or didn’t know prior to 9-11. If in fact, as many believe Moussaoui was involved, then it remains unclear why the NSA has not provide the intercepts of his cash transfers; and other communications.

  • 2. Fact finding

    As to your second point as to the motivation of those asking questions, “Of course, this question does not matter to the President’s most committed enemies. All they care about is bashing Bush, without regard to whether they hurt the troops or help the terrorists.” -- You are correct there is a lot of hatred; and many do not like Bush, and like to Bash him.

    The issue before is: What is going on; what are the requirements; and what do we do. If the issue with Iraq is – was there an unlawful invasion – then the issue isn’t whether the conduct does or doesn’t hurt anyone; rather, what claim can we make that we are a lawful republic if – as some may argue – we unlawfully use power, regardless the motivation, intent, or desire of that arguably unlawful use of force. One cannot claim they are protecting a way of life when they do not respect the laws of the land; nor when they mislead a nation to take on great debt.

  • 3. Support

    As to your third point on Iraq and allegations of treason, “Every time someone calls or withdrawal, questions the President’s leadership or integrity in this war (and we ARE at war - else why the ANTI-WAR protests last weekend?), they give aid and comfort to our enemies” – your point is well taken: Those who aid and comfort the enemies should be held to account. At this juncture, the question is: What is or is not being done; and who is or is not aiding whom.

    There are several issues: One is what is prudent use of force – regardless how we got there; second, it is to ask whether we are part of the solution or problem; third, is the timing of the resolution; and fourth is whether the US really has any legal foundation to assert what should or should not happen in Iraq. Arguably, the US has no say in that Iraq now has its own government.

    It is acceptable to question the leadership of those who appear to be poor leaders; it remains unclear why there can be no discussion of withdrawal; and whether we are using power lawfully or not is a separate issue from whether we have or have not declared war. Whether people agree or disagree with the action is irrelevant to whether or not the Iraqis are or are not going to assert their power.

  • 4. Citizen relationship to leadership

    As to your fourth point, “I’d be ashamed to act that way toward any president during wartime,” you are correct that it is curious how people interact with government officials. The issue going forward is whether this President commands respect; or should be lawfully removed from office for violating the law. If Congress is not willing to find out what is or is not going on, we need not given blind respect to that which compels us to assent to mysteries and non-answers. We can remain neutral.

    Arguably, those who believe that the President is a war criminal and has violated the Constitution view their contempt for the man as justified; on the other hand, those who view the NSA program as a lawful assertion of power, and that the FISA is unconstitutional have great respect for a leader. The courts will adjudicate whether we have a criminal or a tyrant; and the Congress has chosen to – through inaction – to assent to what some assert is an unlawfully abuse of power with the NSA – and the other arguably illegal programs -- and unlawful invasion of Iraq.

    Whether Congress does or does not wish to assert its power remains an open question; however, Congress shall soon lose the power to intervene when its power is lawfully revoked with a New Constitution.

    * * *

    You made an interesting observation: ”We don’t need a New Constitution, and we hardly need to worry that Congress will fail to stick its collective nose into places where it doesn’t belong. My view is that the current system requires a review; there’s already a plan in place to conduct this review, and Present this to the People for their vote.
    As to whether Congress will or will not be troubled by this New Constitution, well, the they won’t have a choice. The New Constitution will strip them of powers they are not asserting; and will compel Members of Congress to take action when there are self-evident abuses of power; and fatal admissions of wrong doing.
    You also note that there are ongoing combat operations: ”The stark reality is that we are engaged in fighting a war that was declared on us by terrorist forces who are still trying to kill us.” This may be true that there are ongoing combat operations; however, the Constitution was not written to be cast aside with war. Rather, the separation of powers continues; as does the required check on the unlawful use of that power, or violation of a ministerial act.
    You also assert that the war has been declared on us. I would have to take another view: You are partially correct. The combat operations in Iraq were unrelated to terrorism; and as to whether they are or are not trying to kill anyone – that is outside the discussion of whether the NSA is or is not breaking the law. I will grant you that combat operations overseas is an issue; however, our laws and Constitution are designed to protect Americans from abuse. You are correct that we must prevail on the battlefield; but that victory is not contingent upon ignoring the laws – and our system of values and way of life we cherish -- to which we are waging a battle to assert. It remains a matter of debate whether we are lawfully there; or whether the values we hold are consistent or inconsistent with what we are actually doing on the ground. However, it is clear this many months after the invasion that the requisite evidence – needed to justify a claim that there was an imminent threat – remains elusive. As to what did or didn’t happen is subject of debate; but the problem with respect to the just war theory and the existing statues governing combat forces is that lawful orders can only be issued for a lawful war. Without evidence there is not basis to assert there is a lawful war.

    You also describe the outcome in terms of success, without regard to whether the foundation for that war is lawful. ”We have no choice but to win that war. The lives and freedom of literally millions of people all around the world depend on our success.” Whether we do or do not win is not linked with whether the war is or is not lawful. Victor on the battlefield cannot be honorable when it comes at a heavy price of having waged unlawful war. That we “have no choice” to win or not win is surely an admirable goal; however, we run the risk of assuming that the outcome must prevail, regardless the feasibility, leadership, or willingness of the National Command Authority to link the needed resources to achieve that outcome. It is a fine thing to admirably claim we must win – quite another when our leadership in the Joint Staff have not been able to organize the resources to ensure that desired outcome occurs.
    You also well state the role of Commander in Chief when waging war. “The President, as Commander in Chief, must be able to conduct military intelligence against our terrorist enemies without having a committee of 535 politicians looking over his shoulder. The issue is whether FISA is or is not a lawful ministerial guide; if the FISA was not an appropriate guideline – as the President appears to assert through his assertion he need not follow it, as evidenced by his admission that the NSA activity was occurring contrary to FISA – then it makes little difference why that rule was or was not followed; or who is or is not overseeing the effort. Contrary to your assertion that that the operations are overseen by 535 politicians, the FISA statute explicitly recognized the need of the Executive to quickly move, and this was the reason for having the FISA court.

    The issue here is not whether there was or was not a violation; but whether the rules as they are constructed will be enforced; or what excuses the Executive is or is not giving to not do what he said he would do when he took that oath. I agree with you that gathering intelligence in war time is important; but the existing statute as it exists explicitly states that the FISA statute is the exclusive means by which the Executive can get a warrant during wartime. Had this been a problem it remains to be understood what was or wasn’t done. However, this is pure conjecture; at this juncture, it is clear the statute says one thing; the conduct was not the same; and the evidence – or lack thereof – is a curious debate issue, but has little relevance given the fatal admission that he was doing what was contrary to the law. We need not trouble ourselves with investigations; rather, the issue is to censure the President for what he fatally admitted doing: Violating the law. I agree that combat operations are important to support; and it is a separate issue whether those combat operations – including the apparent use of military force domestically – is or is not legal; or whether there are other programs. At this juncture, we have all we need to know to conclude one thing: There was a clear law; and the conduct is at odds with that law. Whether the Congress wants to concur or not concur is the issue.

    Going forward, if Congress fails to enforce the law – namely, hold the Executive accountable by way of a censure, and then a subsequent impeachment – We the People shall proceed with what is already underway: The effort to draft a New Constitution to compel Members of Congress to not ratify or validate conduct that violates the law; and forced them to assert the rule of law, not shirk their oaths. Whether the Congress freely chooses to wake up, or requires them to have their power lawfully stripped away remains only a choice Congress can make; but there remains an active effort underway to lawfully create a New Constitution that will compel the Congress to do what it appears unwilling to do: Assert power to check the apparent abuse of power.

    You also well state, “There will be time enough to sort out political turf battles after we win the war.” This point is important. You have correctly stated that there is a difference between politics and war. Our Constitution is based on the idea that we can continue with all matter of issues – whether they be related to peace of war – at the same time. In short, there is not a trade off, and no reason for delay. Rather, there will always be turf battles; we need not wait for that political battle to end – it will never end. Rather, the right way forward is to recognize that honorable people firmly know they are standing for principles. The right thing to do is to honor their commitment to their calling in the profession of arms; let them do their jobs; and at the same time we do what must be done at home to ensure they are supported with lawful orders, enough resources, and the prudent leadership. We owe it to them, and to honor their oath to the Constitution.
    You also point out an interesting comment related to evidence and who is or is not targeted.” In the meantime, not one administration critic has ever documented an actual case of an American citizen being abused under the NSA program.” You well state that there is a serious question of evidence, and a reasonable person could point to the lack of evidence as proof of something. But let’s consider the nature of the laws – in general, not with respect to FISA. Let us put aside the issue of innocence and guilt, and look strictly at the notion of “crime” and what that means. When someone commits a crime – that act is not considered a crime against a person – rather, it is considered a crime against the State. This means that although there is a victim, for someone to commit a crime there does not have to be a victim per se; rather, all that is needed is a clear law that does or does not say something; and some conduct that is at odds with that standard. Thus, even if we agree that there may be no victims, the issue is whether or not the Executive did or did not violate a standard. Under our system of laws, there is no requirement that a victim per se be present. Thus, whether any critic has or has not documented any specific “victim” – for the purposes of our legal system that is not relevant and we need not trouble ourselves with that. Rather, it is not the burden of a critic or a support to argue over whether there are or are not victims. The only standard is whether the law was or was not violated. At this juncture, the Executive has already asserted the programs were done without the requisite FISA warrant, thus satisfying all elements of a crime, and warranting censure.
    You also well state that our troops in the field deserve our support. This is an admirable thing to say, and we should honor those who want to do the right thing. You succinctly state the critical issue: “One would think that such documentation would be the minimum requirement for any effort to deprive our troops of this valuable intelligence tool, or to censure their Commander in Chief. -- As you well know, this Executive took an oath to God to protect the Constitution; and in Article II he has the requirement to enforce the law, of which FISA is one of them. He also has the job of being responsible for lawfully ensure that under the UCMJ all tribunals are consistent with the DC court of appeals rules of evidence. Article 1 Section 8 grants exclusive power to this rule making authority to the Congress, and states explicitly it is the power of Congress to make rules related to the use of military personnel, and US persons used in support of the United States. I will grant you that combat operations are difficult, they depend on sustained support, and that the way forward is to ensure we do ensure that the laws we are fighting to preserve, protect, and defend are honored in the same manner as those who put their lives on the line. The issue before is whether we do or do not honor the troops commitment to their oath by choosing to hold others to a different standard. As to the specific issue whether or not – as you well stated – documentation is or is not required – that is outside the issue: The Executive has already stated that his conduct was contrary to FISA. More broadly, FISA does not deprive the Executive or combat troops of any information; rather it merely defines the ministerial duties the Executive must follow when seeking a warrant. This is consistent with the constitution.. If we are to presume that the system of laws our troops are fighting to assert – and the oath they take to preserve that constitution are worthy of supporting their sacrifice and effort – then we are obligated to ensure that the system of laws we apply to troops on the battle field, also applies to those who lead them. It is fitting that during combat operations, the troops in the field know that the laws and system of governance – at the heart of our constitution – remain in full force, and applicable to all. FISA does not deprive anyone of information; rather, it is the way by which information can be gleaned to ensure we both prevail on the battlefield, and at the same time do so in a manner that is consistent with our system of laws, and protects our rights. To do so in any other matter, is merely an assent to an abuse of power.

    Whether Congress does or does not censure remains in question. But Congress should well know that We the People are willing to strip them of the powers they refuse to assert; and compel them to assert power to ensure our system of laws remains vibrant – not simply to protect our rights, but to ensure that our legal foundation at the heart of our combat operations is consistent with the principles our fighting men and women have sworn their lives to uphold. The troops see that the system is working; that the needed oversight is there. The issue is whether that oversight will be used; if it is not, then that power shall be stripped from Congress in a way that better ensures our rights are protected, our system of laws respected, and power is not abused. Those are the core principles American combat troops are righting for worldwide 24/7; and they need not worry themselves whether the leadership is or is not conducting itself in manner consistent with the principles they put their lives on the line to protect. To that end, Congress has a job; if they fail, then We the People have a duty to ensure combat troops are well supported, not just with effective leadership, but that their orders are lawful and consistent with our Constitutional system. To that end, that is why they take their oath.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share a few remarks in response to your very though provoking comments. I trust that you will know that the common issue is our system of laws and the desire to ensure we protect rights, and prevent the abuse of power. To that end, all American fighting men and women can be proud that they have taken an oath to defend this Constitution and its principles worldwide. Best wishes!