Thirty two years later - practically to the day - the current occupant signed a super-double-secret executive order gutting the oversight panel and stripping it of authority.
"It's quite clear that the Bush administration officials who were around in the 1970s are settling old scores now. Here they are even preventing oversight within the executive branch. They have closed the books on the post-Watergate era," said Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel to the ACLU.
But Bush downsized the board's mandate to be an aggressive watchdog against such problems in an executive order issued on Feb. 29, the eve of the anniversary of the day Ford's order took effect. The White House said the timing of the new order was "purely coincidental.Two attorneys who have served as deputy and general counsel to the CIA denounced the order, insisting that the board had been reduced to little more than paper-pushers, and that weakening it undermines the public trust. "An organization like this gives some level of comfort that there is an independent review capability. Changes like this appear to water down an organization that contributes to the public's confidence," said the former general counsel.
"Under the old rules, whenever the oversight board learned of intelligence activity that it believed might be "unlawful or contrary to executive order," it had a duty to notify both the president and the attorney general. But Bush's order deleted the board's authority to refer matters to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation, and the new order said the board should notify the president only if other officials are not already "adequately" addressing the problem. (emphasis added)
Bush's order also terminated the board's authority to oversee each intelligence agency's general counsel and inspector general, and it erased a requirement that each inspector general file a report with the board every three months. Now only the agency directors will decide whether to report any potential lawbreaking to the panel, and they have no schedule for checking in.
But gutting intelligence oversight was just the beginning. That executive order, EO 11905, banned assassinations. Yet Bush drew up a list of suspected al Qaeda operatives to be summarily executed.
It is abundantly clear that the people who are around now who were around during Nixon are all sociopaths. They weren't content to count their blessings, thank their lucky stars and slink away in shame to molest the American people no more. No, they weren't content to be thankful they didn't all go to prison. They came back with an agenda, to settle old scores.
It was a mistake to pardon Nixon - and we can't make the same mistake again. The Republic wouldn't survive a third try by these fascist bastards.
It is imperative that we impeach these bastards, before he takes out the pardon pen and blanket-pardons the whole lot of them.
Justice demands public accountability, not weary resignation.
What's not to get?