Analysis and commentary on the Bush-era memos made public on Monday, March 2:
David G. Savage, "Bush Memos on Presidential Power Shock Legal Experts," Chicago Tribune, 4 March 2009: Legal experts said Tuesday they were taken aback by the claim in the latest batch of secret Bush-era memos that the president alone had the power to set the rules during the war on terrorism.
Yale law professor Jack Balkin called this a "theory of presidential dictatorship. They say the battlefield is everywhere. And the president can do anything he wants, so long as it involves the military and the enemy."...
The criticism was not limited to liberals. "I agree with the left on this one," said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. The approach in the memos "was simply not a plausible reading of the case law. The Bush [Office of Legal Counsel] eventually rejected [the] memos because they were wrong on the law, and they were right to do so." more
Michael Isikoff, "Extraordinary Measures," Newsweek, 2 March 2009: "In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Justice Department secretly gave the green light for the U.S. military to attack apartment buildings and office complexes inside the United States, deploy high-tech surveillance against U.S. citizens and potentially suspend First Amendment freedom-of-the-press rights in order to combat the terror threat, according to a memo released Monday....
In perhaps the most surprising assertion, the Oct. 23, 2001, memo suggested the president could even suspend press freedoms if he concluded it was necessary to wage the war on terror. "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," [John] Yoo wrote in the memo entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States." more
Robert Parry, "How Close the Bush Bullet," Consortium News, 4 March 2009: These theories held that at a time of war – even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror” – Bush’s powers as Commander in Chief were “plenary,” or total. And since the conflict against terrorism had no boundaries in time or space, his unfettered powers would exist everywhere and essentially forever. more