National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), signed by Bush and released without comment by the White House on May 9, 2007 has given George W. Bush and subsequent presidents the dictatorial powers hinted at in NSPD-51. To quote from NSPD-51: “This policy establishes ‘National Essential Functions,’ prescriptive continuity requirements … that will enhance the creditability of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.”
Under NSPD-51, only limited of government will continue, which may or may not include Congress and the courts. NSPD-51 assures us: This which usually refers to the informal and voluntary recognition of jurisdiction among courts, is a troublesomely ambiguous phrase in this context wherein the president determines this as he “coordinates.”
Unfortunately, NSPD-51 provides limited “guidance” to state and local governments, as “This directive…shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders.” In other words, all the details are secret and even the non-secret “Annex A” remains undisclosed by the White House.