The normally-reserved Yves Smith asks whether Obama should be impeached over it. Democratic Senator Wyden – the head of the committee which is supposed to oversee it – is so furious about the lack of access that he has introduced legislation to force disclosure.
Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so upset by it that he has leaked a document on his website to show what’s going on.
What is everyone so furious about?
An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.
It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Wyden is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate … the committee which is supposed to have jurisdiction over the TPP. Wyden is also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so he and his staff have high security clearances and are normally able to look at classified documents.
And yet Wyden and his staff have been denied access to the TPP’s text. This is similar to other recent incidences showing that we’ve gone from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men making laws in secret.
For example, in the summer 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio – who is on the Homeland Security Committee (and so has proper security access to be briefed on so-called “Continuity of Government” issues) – inquired about continuity of government plans, and was refused access. Indeed, DeFazio told Congress that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress has been denied access to the plans by the White House (video; or here is the transcript). The Homeland Security Committee has full clearance to view all information about COG plans. DeFazio concluded: “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.
As University of California Berkeley Professor Emeritus Peter Dale Scott warned:
If members of the Homeland Security Committee cannot enforce their right to read secret plans of the Executive Branch, then the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution would seem to be failing.
To put it another way, if the White House is successful in frustrating DeFazio, then Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority.
Watch this interview from today explaining why TPP is so dangerous to America … and the rest of the world: