-- Executive Order 11905, signed Feb. 18, 1976, by President Gerald Ford in response to the Church Committee. Section 5(g) of that order states "no employee of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."
-- Section 2-305 of Executive Order 12036, signed by President Jimmy Carter on Jan. 24, 1978, broadens the prohibition from "political assassination" to "assassination" generally.
-- Executive Order 12333 -- signed by President Ronald Reagan on Dec. 4, 1981, specifies that assassination is against the law and contrary to U.S. policy. Section 2.11 of the order, labeled, "Prohibition on Assassination" says "no person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination." The next section (Section 2.12) states "no agency of the intelligence community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this order."
Without hubris, I must acknowledge that I wrote, "staffed" and presented EO 12333 to President Reagan for his signature. I was asked then -- and have been many times since -- if I thought such a prohibition was important. I did then and I do now. And since no chief executive has ever rescinded them, it seemed as though they did, too -- up until Clinton's petulant outburst.
Ordering the assassination of a foreign national is arguably more important than lying about a tryst with an intern in the Oval Office. So where is the "shock and awe" from human rights standard bearers who still complain about the so-called abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay? Do they not care that Clinton ordered an assassination?
Where are John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter and Colin Powell now? If we want the world to know our prisoners of war are accorded protection under the Geneva Conventions, don't we also want the world to know we don't engage in assassination?
And since presidential findings -- orders for the CIA to conduct covert operations -- are all highly classified, shouldn't those who reveal them be held accountable?
Ah, there's that word again -- "accountable." It doesn't apply to Clinton.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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