A major overhaul of Executive Order 12333 has been authorized by the White House. The effort, led by Intelligence Director Mike McConnell will rewrite the Reagan-era presidential order which outlines the fundamental guidance of intelligence agencies. The White House believes this is necessary to help all 16 spy agencies work more closely together, and to reflect the changes in the intelligence agencies post 9/11.
The national intelligence director has won White House approval to begin revising an executive order that lays out each spy agency’s responsibilities and the government’s protections against spying on Americans.
The Reagan-era 1981 presidential order is woven into the culture at the 16 spy agencies and spells out their powers. It also provides fundamental guidance to protect against spying on Americans, prohibitions against human experimentation and the long-standing ban on assassination.
Some officials familiar with Intelligence Director Mike McConnell’s plans, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the deliberations remain internal, said his intent is solely to update the policy to reflect changes in the intelligence community since Sept. 11, 2001, including the creation of his own office.
But other officials, who also spoke on condition they not be identified, said opening the order to changes could lead well beyond that. They said the exercise could threaten civil liberties protections approved by President Reagan following intelligence abuses in the 1970s, and that intelligence agencies will be tempted to expand their powers. [...]
The effort to redo the executive order comes as McConnell has been pushing a skeptical Democratic Congress to overhaul a landmark law that provides the rules of the road for foreign intelligence investigations on U.S. soil, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Lawmakers have demanded more information about government surveillance before they act, but the administration has thus far been unwilling to respond to all of their requests.
Unlike the surveillance law, the White House can change an executive order without congressional or judicial approval.
Source: AP via Fox