With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.
In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a “catastrophic emergency.”
Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”
He laid this all out in a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51″ and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.”
The White House released it on May 9.
Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.
The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”
It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”
This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”
The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.
But it says flat out: “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.”
The document waves at the need to work closely with the other two branches, saying there will be “a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government.” But this effort will be “coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers.”