His Most Awesome Responsibility

Morelaw-breaking from the Bush Assministration.

Ten months after Congress passed a law establishing a White House coordinator for preventing nuclear terrorism, President Bush has no plans to create the high-level post any time soon, according to the National Security Council.

The provision – suggested by leading members of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – was contained in 2007 legislation designed to improve homeland defenses. Congress passed it by a wide margin, with bipartisan support.

Some congressional leaders said Bush’s failure to fill the job nearly a year later marks an outright evasion of the law, and called on the president to fill the position swiftly, even though his administration has only seven months left in office.

“Congress and a range of bipartisan experts, including 9/11 commissioners, clearly judged that such a position would help strengthen the effectiveness of the administration’s handling of [weapons of mass destruction] proliferation matters,” the office of Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate, said in a statement. “The Congress passed and the president signed into law this requirement.”

When asked this month why the position remains unfilled, the National Security Council described it as an internal matter still under deliberation.


The White House opposed creating the position from the start. In a January 2007 letter to Congress – six months before the law was adopted – the Bush administration wrote that the appointment of a nuclear antiterrorism chief “is unnecessary given extensive coordination and synchronization mechanisms that now exist within the executive branch,” citing a 2006 strategy document that lays out the responsibilities of numerous government departments.

But in the past, Bush has tried to bypass provisions of laws he disagrees with by issuing “signing statements,” documents singling out those parts of statutes that White House lawyers advised would infringe on his constitutional powers as chief of the government’s executive branch. Bush has used this practice more than any prior president.

This time, however, the White House seems to be ignoring the nuclear terrorism coordinator requirement not for constitutional reasons but simply because the administration thinks it is a bad idea. It is a stance some legal scholars called an even more blatant disregard of the checks and balances on presidential power.

4 thoughts on “His Most Awesome Responsibility

  1. Is it as obvious to everyone else as it is to me that Bushwants a nuclear war? Between agitating for things like so-called “bunker buster” nukes to demolishing the world’s nonproliferation treaty strictures to slavering hopefully over which regimes he thinks will be next on the Mushroom Cloud Club guest list to his peculiar ifsub rosa beliefs about Armageddon, I’m having a hard time picturing how it could beless, but I wager there have to besome optimists around…

  2. When you leave the keys in the ignition, the engine running, with your 2 yr old in the car, as you go shopping, you can hardly be surprised when something bad happens. Electing Bush in 2004 was the equivalent.
    Every law violation, every diplomatic blunder, every act of war and every war crime, not to speak of every misfeasance and malfeasance of the past 3 1/2 years, was entirely predictable and resulted from the mass insanity of our voting citizens in 2004.
    Congress may have an excuse too, but I’ll be damned if I can find one.

  3. clearly georgee is america’s true enemy.
    osama was probably thrilled after 9/11. not by the plan working, but georgee’s boneheaded reaction.

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