REVERSING COUNTERTERROR DIRECTIVE
Aides to President-elect Donald Trump say one of the many presidential directives to be struck down early in the Trump administration will be Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11.
Key advisers to Mr. Trump, including incoming White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, have criticized the Obama administration over its policy of playing down or ignoring the Islamic nature of the global terrorist conflict.
Many security analysts say one basis for the Obama administration’s ideological approach to terrorism is PSD-11. The still-secret directive, according to an official who has read it, is the main rationale behind the counterterrorism strategy of President Obama, who has sought to court the Islamist movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood as an alternative ideology to that of al Qaeda and now the Islamic State.
Trump advisers told Inside the Ring that PSD-11 will be canceled as soon as the national security team takes office after Jan. 20. As part of a new transparency policy, the order also may be declassified to expose what the advisers say were harmful counterterrorism policies that restricted the government’s ability to understand and adequately counter the Islamist terrorist threat.
A Congressional Research Service report states that Mr. Trump will have powerful executive authority to cancel or revoke executive
orders once in office.
“While the Constitution does not permit the president to single-handedly repeal or amend statutes, there is much that a new president can do to rapidly reverse the policies of a previous administration,” the Nov. 22 CRS report states.
Most executive actions fall into three categories: executive orders issued by the president that govern executive branch officials and agencies; discretionary agency directives and guidance documents that do not have the force of law; and agency rules issued pursuant to delegated authority from Congress that have the effect of law.
“An executive order may be as swiftly repealed as it was issued, and recent presidents have traditionally exercised this prerogative,” the report said. “For example, both Presidents Obama and George W. Bush acted quickly to revoke executive orders issued by their predecessors that did not reflect their own policy goals.”
Discretionary orders can be withdrawn by the heads of executive agencies, and agency rules and regulations can be repealed, although the repeal process can take time and must comply with mandated procedures.
“Reports suggest that the Trump Administration may target any number of existing rules for repeal, including rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, and Food and Drug Administration,” the report said.