Bush's executive tyranny - Los Angeles Times Just how close to the brink of executive tyranny did the United States come in the panic that swept George W. Bush's administration after 9/11? The answer, it now seems clear, is that we came far closer than even staunch critics of the White House believed. On Monday, the Obama administration released nine legal opinions produced for the Bush White House by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That heretofore obscure office essentially serves as the president's arbiter of what's legal and what isn't. Among other things, the memorandums issued by the office in 2001 asserted that Bush had the power to order the military to capture suspected terrorists on U.S. soil and to treat them as enemy combatants without any rights to due process. In the course of such operations, according to the Office of Legal Counsel, the military was free to ignore 4th Amendment prohibitions on illegal search and seizure and to engage in warrantless wiretapping. 1st Amendment protections of free speech also could be suspended at the chief executive's directive, according to these opinions, and the president has the power to abrogate any international treaty at will.