By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2009, 2:54pm PT  

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (whom I interviewed last night on the Malloy Show on somewhat related topics, audio archive now here), covers this morning's latest "entirely unsurprising" news that Cheney tried to deploy the U.S. military on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens following 9/11. And unaccountable-DoJ-attorney-for-all-illegal-unConstitutional-seasons John Yoo was happy to supply a "legal" memo for him, describing how the U.S. Constitution could be entirely ignored by any President at any whim.

Greenwald begins this way [emphasis in original]...

This new report today from The New York Times' Mark Mazzetti and David Johnston reveals an entirely unsurprising though still important event:   in 2002, Dick Cheney and David Addington urged that U.S. military troops be used to arrest and detain American citizens, inside the U.S., who were suspected of involvement with Al Qaeda.  That was done pursuant to a previously released DOJ memo (.pdf) authored by John Yoo and Robert Delahunty, addressed to Alberto Gonzales, dated October 23, 2001, and chillingly titled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the U.S."  That Memo had concluded that the President had authority to deploy the U.S. military against American citizens on U.S. soil.  Far worse, it asserted that in exercising that power, the President could not be bound either by Congressional statutes prohibiting such use (such as the Posse Comitatus Act) or even by the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which --- the Memo concluded --- was "inapplicable" to what it called "domestic military operations."

Though it received very little press attention, it is not hyperbole to observe that this October 23 Memo was one of the most significant events in American politics in the last several decades, because it explicitly declared the U.S. Constitution --- the Bill of Rights --- inoperative inside the U.S., as applied to U.S. citizens.  Just read what it said in arguing that neither the Fourth Amendment --- nor even the First Amendment --- can constrain what the President can do when overseeing "domestic military operations"...

Ultimately, the plan was opposed by those in the DoJ who either still believed in the Constitution, or otherwise wanted to keep all the "glory" for themselves. That said, as Greenwald points out,

[T]he Bush administration did use a very similar power when it dispatched FBI agents to arrest U.S. citizen Jose Padilla on American soil (at Chicago's O'Hare Airport), but then very shortly thereafter transferred him to military custody, where he was held for the next 3 years with no trial, no charges, and no contact with the outside world, including lawyers. The only thing distinguishing the Padilla case from what Cheney/Addington argued be done in the Lackawanna Six case was that the military wasn't used to make the initial apprehension of Padilla. But Padilla was then transferred to military custody and held on U.S. soil for years in a brig, incommunicado and tortured, with no charges of any kind (another U.S. citizen, Yaser Hamdi, was treated similarly until the Supreme Court ruled he was entitled to some sort of hearing, after which he was sent to Saudi Arabia).

But John Yoo and Dick Cheney and Addington and Gonzales and all the other fugitives from justice still roam free because cowardly Democrats want to "look forward not back," and lying hypocritical Republicans who once acted as if they believed in the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution actually don't give a tinker's damn about either of them.

Pathetic. But, yes, by now, unfortunately, unsurprising.