26.09.2014 - 07:12 [ Techdirt ]

Obama Administration Learns: If You Redefine Every Word In The Dictionary, You Can Get Away With Just About Anything

We’ve written before about how the NSA uses its own definitions of some fairly basic English words, in order to pretend to have the authority to do things it probably… doesn’t really have authority to do. It’s become clear that this powergrab-by-redefinition is not unique to the NSA when it comes to the executive branch of the government. Earlier this year, we also wrote about the stunning steady redefinition of words within the infamous „Authorization to Use Military Force“ (AUMF) that was passed by Congress immediately after September 11, 2001. It officially let the President use „all necessary and appropriate force“ against those who „planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.“ But, over time, the AUMF was being used to justify efforts against folks who had nothing to do with September 11th, leading to this neat sleight of hand in which the military started pretending that the AUMF also applied to „associated forces.“ That phrase appears nowhere in the AUMF, but it’s a phrase that is regularly repeated and claimed by the administration and the military.