Lurking inside Obama's secret drone law: another secret drone law




We should really try to get someone to explain exactly what terrorist scenario they imagine happening if these laws/interpretations were made public.

The point of states/federal secrecy is to allow actions to be taken that can be preventable by whoever the action is against.

Surely it's not just the American Public's outrage that these secrecy laws are about; there must be other countries involved, such as Saudi Arabia, that we're attempting to subvert covertly.

This all is just a strange area of public policy and transparency that on either side of the debate, we appear to rely soley on the faith that our policies/redaction of policies, will be for the betterment.


Yo dog, I heard you like secret drone laws...


LAW: the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

I understand the need a government has for secrecy, but it seems to me that by definition, laws can't be included under that umbrella, at least not for a law based society. It has to be public in order to be recognizable.


Oh, that's easy. If the terrorists knew what the law was, then obviously they could find a way to kill American citizens while not doing anything illegal. Or, at least, while only breaking laws that have punishments that aren't quite as bad. And they could tie up the legal system by exploiting loopholes to prevent themselves from being punished!

You know, just like how we can't try the people in Guantanamo in a regular courts because they might somehow be found innocent...


I meant someone whose job it is to perform classifications of this stuff; perhaps even the judges that approve it.


Anybody else think these secret memos are turtles all the way down?


Lets face it, rule of law is just a veneer that powerful use to justify their rule.


Let's not just face facts, but grow tired of complaining about them in bitter resignation, put our heads together, and come up with a plan.


I'm thinking that it might be worse than that. Definitely turtles; but possibly in combination with one or more recursion terrapins or Klein tortoises.


Lurking inside Obama’s secret drone law: another secret drone law.

Obama, as President, does not write laws.

Obama is a no-fooling Constitutional scholar; you'd think that he'd be wise to the idea that secret law is not law at all.

on that, you are, sadly, dead wrong. the supreme court has affirmed that laws can in fact be kept secret. and the Constitution itself allows for secret debate (aka 'legislating').


OK, let's put aside whether or not you agree with this particular subject - drone killings. I think everyone (most people? reasonable people?) can agree that in a Representative Democracy we should not tolerate secret laws. How can you know if you're running afoul of the law? That's some pure Stalinist bullshit right there. So....question time:

As said, Obama cannot write laws. He is not part of the legislative branch. this a misreported subject? (The same way we know right away when the press has technology stuff so horribly wrong) Is this not a drone law, but an interpretation of existing laws that he believes makes it legal to use drones? Because those are two very different things with very different remedies.

Either way, is there ANY recourse? Because, if not, can not any president just make up secret laws left and right and fuck everyone over? And, if he does it fast enough, not end up with a revolution because he's quashed everyone who would have opposed him? I am not some conspiracy guy who says Obama is going to do this. But in the same way that what bothers me MOST of all the things that bother me about drones is that you're setting a precedent for killing people in countries you aren't at war at that could come back to bite us in the ass really hard, what bothers me is that it sets a precedent that some president, any president can use. So maybe you like the secret law for drone thing because it's killing terrorists. But what about a secret law against ..... whatever you think should have laws against it?

So are we truly helpless? Left to gripe on the internet? Is there nothing short of violence to solve it? And, seeing how horribly civil war has worked for every country (including our own) I would very much like to avoid that at all costs.


A good start would be to learn how to play their game.
The Mayday Superpac might be a good place to test the waters.


AFAIK, these are all interpretations of law, by the executive branch. They're likely a perquisite to take the actions that appear to violate other laws (ie, US citizen execution in foreign lands).

They could technically be challenged, but in this specific instance, the family of the victim would have to challenge. Since the act itself wasn't a 'secret', it's not exactly hard to fathom a challenge where this secret memo would be used.

As I said above, it'd be nice if whoever authorized the secrecy of it explained why. But it could have simply been to prevent the terrorist from hiding when we make it known we want to kill our own citizen, who we're convinced is a terrorist.

I'm sure whoever prepared it believed there was a catch-22 in public discourse on the matter.


How naive. He writes writes a good deal of law (well, not personally, it's written by the people who work for him). Not all law is legislation, and considering how incompetent the legislature has been lately, there's a lot left to fill in.

Maybe ideally laws are only written by congress, but they have ceded quite a lot of that power to the executive branch over the years. Should they want to, they can take it back, and they sometimes but, but they have given the executive powers to determine what the law is. Obama still has to work within the confines Congress sets up, of course, but a lot of the "laws" they pass amount to "let the executive figure out what the actual law should be, following these guidelines".

A good example here is Drug Classifications. Congress set up the framework, and leaves it to the executive to handle the details. Sometimes they will come in and override the executive, but the executive has quite a lot of power to determine what the actual law is thanks to the concept of delegated legislation.

The other example, as is seen here, is through executive "memos" and "orders". "executive orders have the full force of law[1]  when they take authority from a power granted directly to the Executive  by the Constitution, or are made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress that explicitly delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power " -

Also, wtf do secret laws have to do with secret debate?


Can you cite that case or point us to an article?


Knowing what the Executive Branch claims to be the law it has made will result in more people becoming terrorists.



That doesn't seem to say what you think it does. The court said the plaintiff had no standing since they could not prove the law was effecting them. It did not rule on the legality of having a secret law. I think that story was covered here not too long ago.

EDIT: Here is a snippet from a previous article found on BB

The court didn’t address the constitutionality of the FAA itself, but instead ruled that the plaintiffs—a group of lawyers, journalists, and human rights advocates who regularly communicate with likely "targets" of FAA wiretapping—couldn’t prove the surveillance was "certainly impending," so therefore didn’t have the "standing" necessary to sue


You can't expect to prevail if you're fighting entities based on a corrupt premise (e.g.: PACs) with an entity based on a corrupt premise (e.g.: a PAC). They'll just call you cute and precious, laugh, and you will never make an impact on the system.

It's going to take something to push the power structures off the rails entirely so that we can start anew. Anything less is wishful thinking.