When justifying the release of five vicious Taliban terrorists detained at “Gitmo” in exchange for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, the president said, “We don’t leave our people behind.” He was subsequently accused of violating a law requiring him to notify Congress thirty days before releasing any Gitmo detainees.
Apparently breaking the law is no problem for the Obama administration. He has often bragged, “If Congress won’t act, I will. I have a pen and a phone.” In other words, he is willing to issue Executive Orders to dictate what he wants done.
Earlier this year, in June, the Supreme Court decided there are some limits on the powers of our Chief Executive in deciding two cases – one on “recess appointments” when Congress is in session and a second suit on Obama-Care violations of the 1st Amendment to our Constitution.
And now, we have yet another example of presidential law-breaking. This one doesn’t require the courts to intervene – just “We The People” need to act. Here’s the law:
U.S. Code, Title 22, Chapter 23, Section 1732. It is entitled, “Release of citizens imprisoned by foreign governments.”
Whenever it is made known to the President that any citizen of the United States has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by or under the authority of any foreign government, it shall be the duty of the President forthwith to demand of that government the reasons of such imprisonment; and if it appears to be wrongful and in violation of the rights of American citizenship, the President shall forthwith demand the release of such citizen, and if the release so demanded is unreasonably delayed or refused, the President shall use such means, not amounting to acts of war and not otherwise prohibited by law, as he may think necessary and proper to obtain or effectuate the release; and all the facts and proceedings relative thereto shall as soon as practicable be communicated by the President to Congress.
One need not be a vaunted “Constitutional lawyer” or even a “Nobel Laureate” like our current head of state to see how this law relates directly to the case of U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi – now enduring his fourth month in a Mexican prison.
The facts as we know them have been well articulated – even demonstrated – by Greta Van Susteren, host of “On The Record” on Fox News Channel:
Sergeant Tahmooressi completed two combat tours and received two meritorious promotions for battlefield service in Afghanistan. This spring, the honorably discharged 26-year-old veteran was planning to relocate from his home in Florida to California.
Late on March 31, disoriented by poorly-lighted, graffiti-covered traffic signs, he inadvertently drove his pick-up truck, loaded with all his possessions – including three legally purchased firearms -- into Mexico at the San Ysidro, Calif., Port of Entry crossing.
Realizing his error, the young Marine immediately dialed 911 on his cell phone and was connected to a dispatcher on the U.S. side of the border. Informed that no help could be provided to him on the Mexican side of the border he told Mexican authorities that he had three firearms in his truck. He was immediately taken into custody – where he has languished for nearly four months.
When I raised the issue of 22 USC, Sect. 1732 (above) with members of Congress and asked if the president was complying, I was told, “No. But he has an ‘out.’ The law says ‘Whenever it is made known to the President that any citizen of the United States has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by or under the authority of any foreign government, it shall be the duty…’ All Obama has to do is claim the case of American citizen Andrew Tahmooressi has never been made known to him.”
How can the White House claim the president is unaware of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s “unjust” and, “wrongful” deprivation of liberty in violation of ‘the rights of American citizenship?”
Members of Congress from Florida, California and elsewhere have written nearly a dozen letters to the president about Sgt. Tahmooressi. More than 100,000 Americans have responded to online petitions at WhiteHouse.gov; FoxNews.com, FreedomAlliance.org and AndrewFreedomFund.com, among others have written about his plight.
Our president has ignored them all. Apparently he’s been too busy with political fundraisers and vacuous speeches about the “Republican war on women,” economic injustice, and Congressional ineptness. There just hasn’t been time to pick up that famous phone and call Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
If Congress can’t get Obama’s attention on freeing an unjustly imprisoned Marine, We The People must. Join the effort to demand that our president obey the law. Otherwise the phrase “Leave no one behind,” is meaningless.
Lt. Col. Oliver L. North (ret.) serves as host of the Fox News Channel documentary series "War Stories with Oliver North." From 1983 to 1986, he served as the U.S. government's counterterrorism coordinator on the National Security Council staff. "Counterfeit Lies," is his novel about how Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Click here for more information on Oliver North.