Throughout American history, presidents have abused and used a power not delegated to them to create and pass “laws” through executive orders. Historically speaking, executive orders were meant only tell departments, under the president, how to execute or enforce laws. Now executive orders are used as a way to bypass Congress.

Not only does the president not posses any constitutional authority to legislate via executive order, the vast majority of policies and agencies created by these presidential edicts are unconstitutional. Virtually all of them project the federal government into areas in which it has no delegated power, and they often authorize actions specifically prohibited by the Bill of Rights..

Congress and the American public refuses to question this abuse. Every time it goes unchallenged, it empowers each president to continue along and imperial path. Executive over-reach is cheered by the by the party in power, encouraged by mainstream media as “doing his job”, and considered valid tradition and constitutional by the public.

There are many examples of presidential over-reach through executive orders, including the theft of Americans’ gold, and even the internment of Japanese and German Americans during WWII. Here is the short list of recent executive orders in modern times.


In 1942, FDR wrote an executive order to establish the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The OSS was an early version of the CIA. This agency was formed to centralize the war time collection of intelligence in all the military branches. This branch was created to deter events like bombing of Pearl Harbor from ever happening again.

The OSS, run by “Wild Bill” Donovan, soon became known as the American Gestapo.

“In a global and totalitarian war,” General Donovan believed, “intelligence must be global and totalitarian.”

This executive order laid the groundwork for a runaway executive intelligence agency that has remained shrouded in secrecy, with actions at times even hidden from the president.

During Truman’s presidency, an executive order was signed abolishing the OSS.

“The OSS had done “serious harm to the citizens, business interests, and national interests of the United States,” the report said.

However, in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was established through the National Security Act. It’s first objective was to be more of a global intelligence newspaper to the president, but then splintered into covert operations abroad.

Not much has changed in the CIA’s modus opereandi from OSS. Global political warfare continues to do serious harm to citizens, business interests and our national interests.


In 1961, President Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created USAID by executive order. USAID, “carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad.”

However, unlike it’s mission statement, many countries have accused USAID of serving as a front for the CIA because it was found out to be promoting “regime change,” and destabilizing countries through propaganda.

We have seen this in the Ukraine crisis, the Cuban twitter feed, the scandal, in Bolivia which expelled USAID members from the country. Even Pakistan has accused USAID of being a CIA front.

Not only are other countries upset at the provocation of the foreign policy directed through the agency, many members of Congress are not that thrilled with the it either. USAID has also been accused by congressional members of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in Afghanistan.

Surely, after all things are said and done, USAID must do something right? It does give food to countries in need, right?

Actually, USAID creates more of a crises in foreign markets. Without USAID, the poor would be better able to sell their goods without the bottom of the market dropping out.


In 1973, Executive Order 11727 merged the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement and Office of National Narcotics Intelligence to form the Drug Enforcement Agency. This executive order was written to fight Nixon’s War on Drugs. Currently, the DEA is trying to stop states from legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana in states.

Prohibition has resulted in mass incarcerations, mandatory minimum sentencing, asset forfeiture, decimation of cities and families.

Many other countries followed along with US policy so they can get aid, arms and training, through the DEA and US military special forces units. The drug war has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people perpetrated through Plan Columbia and Plan Mexico that has created death squads. There are currently DEA operations in other countries fueling the fire in the drug war.

By making other countries crack down on drugs, violence has increased exponentially. This has caused the current border crisis, and DHS is struggling to figure out what to do with all those seeking amnesty.


In 1979, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was established by President Jimmy Carter. “FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.”

Contrary to the mission statement, this agency has created a moral hazard. Instead of letting insurance companies issue high rates to home owners in areas with a history of severe weather, the government is now on the hook. Public money is now used to pay for homes continually damaged in these areas. Whereas if the private market were in charge, more people would really have to think of owning or building a home in sever weather prone areas.

It also has unique powers preventing volunteer aid workers from helping people affected by disaster.

NSA spying on Americans

NSA was not created by an executive order, but by secret memo. However, President Reagan’s Executive Order 12333 was a major building block.

We do know a little about the spying conducted using EO 12333, but more must be revealed to the public. One early news report revealed it was the NSA’s claimed authority for the collection of Americans’ address books and buddy lists. It’s also involved in the NSA’s elite hacking unit, the Tailored Access Operations unit, which targets system administrators and installs malware while masquerading as Facebook servers. And in March, the Washington Post revealed the order alone—without any court oversight—is used to justify the recording of 100 percent of a foreign country’s telephone calls.

The NSA’s reliance on the order for foreign spying includes few, if any, Congressional limits or oversight. Some of the only known limits on Executive spying are found in Executive procedures like USSID 18, the metadata procedures discussed above, and probably other still-classified National Security Policy Directives, none of which have been publicly debated much less approved by Congress or the courts.”

“Unlike Section 215 [of the Patriot Act], the executive order authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons. Such persons cannot be individually targeted under 12333 without a court order. However, if the contents of a U.S. person’s communications are “incidentally” collected (an NSA term of art) in the course of a lawful overseas foreign intelligence investigation, then Section 2.3(c) of the executive order explicitly authorizes their retention. It does not require that the affected U.S. persons be suspected of wrongdoing and places no limits on the volume of communications by U.S. persons that may be collected and retained.”


President George W. Bush signed an executive order establishing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS houses FEMA, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Immigration and Customs Services (ICE), the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), the Secret Service, the US Coast Guard, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and even more pieces of the grand police state puzzle.

This is the department that has created Fusion Centers in every state to share your electronic data with local and state officers to the NSA; funneled guns, grenade launchers, drones, and tanks to your local and state police departments, and created the 100 mile Constitutional Free zone.


Under President Bush, torture was standard operating procedure thanks to the John Yoo memos. Not only was the John Yoo memo released, but executive order 13440 allowed for torture during detention way beyond the limits of the Geneva Convention. But, that was supposed to change under Obama. Executive order 13491 (which should be titled Authorized Use of Enhanced Interrogation, but is really named Ensuring Lawful Interrogations) was sold as a proclamation to invalidate the Bush Torture memos.

When LTC Breasseale was questioned about this executive order and appendix M of the 2006 Army field manual, he stated,

Executive Order (EO) 13491 did not withdraw “‘All executive directives, orders, and regulations… from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals.’” It revoked all executive directives, orders, and regulations that were inconsistent with EO 13491, as determined by the Attorney General…

One last point – you seem suggest below that EO 13491 somehow cancelled Steven Bradbury’s legal review of the FM. EO 13491 did not cancel Mr. Bradbury’s legal review of the FM.”

Torture was never stopped under Obama. As long as the DoD wants to use appendix M as a guide to torture, it may. This executive order still ignores Geneva Convention compliance when it comes to detention of enemy combatants.

The Kill List
Just for this minute, put aside the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment. Pretend we live in a parallel universe where they don’t exist, in the same way the federal government does on a routine basis.

Now, pretend you’re the president, and you treat executive orders as law! Except, when there is a executive order on the books that bans assassinations because you have a super secret kill list.

You don’t have to aknoweldge this executive order because you have a kill list so classified, not even you can question whether placing someone on a list to be targeted and killed ever happened.

If you get trapped by human rights activists demanding the rational for an American citizens targeted for assassination, cite the AUMF, or a foreign country’s supreme court ruling to completely ignore this executive order.

So which executive order is this? It is executive order 123333. The banning of assassinations or in other words, death by SIGINT, is in the exact same executive order used to spy on American citizens.


There are many executive orders that effect us, our foreign policy, and other countries. The executive branch has grown like a cancer building bureaucracy after bureaucracy Good intentions turn into fronts for covert actions, and even the prohibition of heinous acts are completely ignored through classification. The executive branch has broken from the bounds of the Constitution. People can no longer view executive orders as lawful without unduly consequences.

The reality of the consequence is a police state.

Kelli Sladick

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