The reality of NSPD-51 is almost as bad as the NSPD=51paranoia.By Ron Rosenbaum
10/19/07 "Slate" -- -- Oh, god. I'm reluctant to write this particular column. I've been scarred by this kind of story before. I've learned that it's difficult to write about the sources of paranoia without spreading paranoia.
Scenario for 2008: Sometime in middle to late summer, perhaps early fall, a "terrorist attack," or a natural disaster occurs, allowing Bush to suspend the elections in the name of "national security," and take the control of the government via the "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20," released by the WH May 9th of this year. He could remain in control as long as he wanted. Now, wouldn't THAT be an interesting nightmare?
"Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency. (Italics mine.)
"Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.
Conservative activist Jerome Corsi and Marjorie Cohn of the [left wing] National Lawyers Guild have interpreted this as a break from Constitutional law in that the three branches of government are equal, with no single branch coordinating the others. … The directive does not specify whose responsibility it would be to either declare a catastrophic emergency or declare it over.
(23) Annex A and the classified Continuity Annexes, attached hereto, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this directive.(24) Security. This directive and the information contained herein shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders.