The American Civil Liberties Union has been consistent with both the Bush and Obama administrations. It strongly -- and wrongly in my view -- criticized President Bush for his anti-terrorism policies. Reacting to the publication of the white paper, Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, called it "a profoundly disturbing document." "It's hard to believe," she added, "that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances." She characterized it as "...a stunning overreach of executive authority."
She may have a point. One that should be debated in Congress. Appropriate committees should invite or, if necessary, subpoena the person, or persons, who wrote the document. U.S. citizens should know what kind of action constitutes "imminent threat." At present, the government's definition is a little cryptic.
Given the way some criminal lawyers have "gamed" the U.S. court system to free hardened criminals, the president might be justified in this approach, but the larger question of how much authority he should be allowed to have in these circumstances and whether U.S. citizenship alone should be enough to guarantee due process when there is substantial evidence someone is involved in plots to kill other Americans, is a subject worthy of congressional consideration.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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