New 'Secret' Executive Order Raises Questions

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Conservative blogs have erupted in recent weeks with warnings like "Obama unleashes international cops on the U.S."

It's all about a new executive order that grants certain immunities to the International Criminal Police Commission, or Interpol.

The Obama administration is being accused of giving Interpol agents more immunity and protection from oversight than America's own law enforcement officers have.

Critics charge the president is elevating the international crime-fighting agency's officers above the Constitution and putting them beyond the reach of U.S. law.

The charge revolves around an executive order signed quietly just before Christmas. It amends an order first signed by Ronald Reagan that gave Interpol immunity similar to what foreign diplomats in the U.S. enjoy.

But Reagan made sure there were some big limits -- limits Obama has now removed.

"Now Interpol can operate within the U.S. without regard to potential public scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act, or just general public observation of its activities," said

Colby May at the American Center for Law and Justice.

And its property and assets kept here in the U.S. Justice Department can no longer be searched or seized.

The most anti-Obama blogs say this is part of an Obama conspiracy to eventually create an untouchable global police force. They add that it's also one step in a process of surrendering U.S. sovereignty to make America fit in better with countries like the liberal Euro-states.

"When you go back and look at it, you realize that you've taken away what we might regard as some of the most fundamental safeguards," May added. "To protect Americans, to make sure we can see what it is the foreign enforcements are doing domestically in the U.S. Why, how they're conducting themselves, how they're carrying out their activities and the like."

There are many conservatives who are not worried about this new executive order. For example, the National Rifle Association said in a release, "Rumors abound, so don't believe everything you read."

NRA lawyers dismiss these blogosphere's rumors as not true and say the executive order will not let Interpol officers seize Americans' firearms, kidnap Americans or otherwise violate U.S. citizens' rights.

Other defenders say the reason governments prohibit searching and seizing international groups' records is so that one government can't use its seizure powers to find out what other governments are up to.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs laughed off fears the Obama administration is up to something sinister with this order about Interpol. And he says the reason the White House didn't make any big announcement about the order is it didn't think anyone would be interested.

The explosion of outrage in the conservative blogosphere suggests it guessed that wrong.

*Originally published January 21, 2010.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.