What Happens When You Violate An Executive Order?

Executive Order 12333 prohibits the United States Government from engaging in or conspiring to engage in assassination.

Executive Order 12333–United States intelligence activities

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12333 of Dec. 4, 1981, appear at 46 FR 59941, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 200, unless otherwise noted.

2.11Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

The following video shows president Obama explaining the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011.

The following report from Reuters gives added details on this “strike”:

Drone strike ends long hunt for U.S.-born Awlaki

The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen on Friday by a U.S. drone strike is the culmination of two years of extensive U.S. efforts to track down the American-born member of al Qaeda and put him out of action.

Awlaki, identified by U.S. intelligence as “chief of external operations” for al Qaeda’s Yemen branch and a Web-savvy propagandist for the Islamist cause, was killed in an attack by missiles fired from multiple CIA drones in a remote Yemeni town, U.S. officials said.

Among three other people killed in the attack, a U.S. official said, was Samir Khan, another American who turned to militancy and served as editor of “Inspire,” a glossy magazine used as a propaganda and recruitment vehicle by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Yemen-based group is deemed by U.S. officials to be one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous offshoots.


The United States participated in the Libyan “right to protect” action under the United Nations which led to the capture and execution of Gaddafi again using US drones to attack his convoy. Let’s give the president some latitude on whether this was another assassination attempt since it did not kill Gaddafi directly. Let’s not go into the bin Laden attack.

The president has authorized the deployment of a strike team to Uganda in another “kill or capture” kinetic action:

US to send troops to Uganda to help fight LRA rebels

US President Barack Obama has said he is sending about 100 US soldiers to Uganda to help regional forces battle the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army.

The force will use hi-tech equipment to assist in what analysts say is a “kill or capture” policy, the BBC’s Marcus George in Washington reports.


I am not judging the actions of the president in these matters. I am just curious what the penalty for violating presidential executive orders really is. I guess it is predicated on what your definition of the word “is” is.

David DeGerolamo


The answer to the question posed by this article is given in the followup article:

Executive Order 12333 Controversy

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12 Responses to What Happens When You Violate An Executive Order?

  1. Ed says:

    I see nothing wrong with using drones to take-out enemies of ours that hide and attack us from overseas. If you find this wrong, then you have not served in combat in recent times, nor understand the ideologies of our enemies and what it takes to combat them. What is the alternative? Do want America to display weakness by not doing anything, or show strength through accountability to those who threaten us.

    We have bigger problems here in the US dealing with one another than wasting time bashing government for protecting our country. Its our intelligence services and military commanders that give the advice to the President, which in turn he must act on this intelligence, or face repercussions for not acting later.

    If you have served recently like I have in Iraq, OIF 2009-2010, or Afghanistan and disagree with my assessment, contact me and I will be happy to discuss the alternatives. If you have not served and do not understand firsthand what the enemy is like because you do not posses the clearances, then please do not throw stones at me for something you have little to no understanding of.



    • David says:

      “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”

      The ends justify the means? Isn’t this what we discussed previously concerning our future actions? America was a republic built on the rule of law. Do we follow the law when it is convenient? Do we now justify our actions based on weakness or “good vs. evil”?

      The point of the article still stands: what happens when you violate an executive order? Based on your logic, the United States was justified in its actions to overthrow the government of Libya with our new “right to protect” policy. Then why are we not in Syria for the same reason? Are you saying that Obama is justified sending our soldiers to Uganda to assassinate Mr. Kony to protect George Soros oil fields?

      Don’t worry the NDAA will protect you from terrorists like me in the United States. One thing is certain: war is coming whether it is for our security, economic recovery or political expediency.

  2. Ed says:


    You have NO horse in this race because you have no coverage on true threats facing our country from a military perspective. You can make all the references you like to famous quotes which have some traction with uninformed readers; and its very attractive to their emotions, but its not based on factual evidence and real intelligence of threats facing this country. Therefore the uniformed person makes his assessment without the facts. I guess after 911 it would have been best to have done nothing, is that what you are saying? Well, heck, this may start another debate if 911 was even real, or created by us. I do not even want to go there. My point is, all this is nothing but chatter and nonsense, because its uninformed people speculating on emotional conspiracy theories spread on the internet.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it too. War is sometimes a necessary evil, which I do not like as an alternative, but necessary. Look at history, war has been part of mankind’s genetic code since the beginning. Sorry we are human and very flawed. If you can change this code, then you can win the fight of Evil Vs Good. In the meantime, this is our reality and attempt to make the best of it.

    Personally, I may disagree with war, but have served both domestically and overseas to protect our country. I and other soldiers take offense and get demoralized when Americans speak ill of our military actions publicly without having the facts. This is why I personally believe that if you disagree with the Commander and Chief you simply vote them out, but not undermined the American fighter in the process who is in harms way, while we sleep comfortably at night.


    • David says:

      Ed and Roger,

      Did you actually read the title of the article?


      You are making new arguments that this article did not address. Here is another reference:

      Matthew 24:6

      You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

  3. Roger Smith says:

    Ed, AMEN Brother!

    Roger Smith, USMC

  4. Hans says:

    So … Ed (and, by self-inclusion, Roger)

    As I read your comments, I receive the following message:

    “Your life experiences are invalid unless they correspond precisely to my life experiences!”

    How very adult of you.

    BTW … our institutions of government were established to protect the rights and opinions of minorities … minorities cannot as you so glibly state “…simply vote them out…”

    Respect for the rights and opinions of a single individual is the ultimate test of protection for our Liberties.

  5. Ed says:

    My Patriot, Hans-

    Sorry, but your interpretation is little off, and you return with a personal attack:

    “Your life experiences are invalid unless they correspond precisely to my life experiences!”

    How very adult of you.

    Therefore, if you are unable to discern correctly, I’m un-adult like. I refuse to engage in nonsense and fighting with pens and keyboards, which seems to be the new weapon of choice today. One trying to out-wit the other’s intellect before an audience online, wow how worthy of us. Most of the continuous people online today that are wasting away their lives in forums and blogs have no idea of what it’s like these days to serve and protect. My message is clear and goes to all patriots and men who protect our country, who know what I am speaking of. Much of it involves National Security issues that cannot be discussed, or debated in a forum. Sorry friend, its not that I am being like you say un-adult like, but rather being realistic about something many here fail to see. I know you and David have the same group thought on these issues and therefore I will not fall prey to this game and engage. You are welcome to have the last word after this my friend. I chose not to battle over nonsense in a public forum, for it serves no constructive purpose. You and David both have your opinions and are entitled to them, but please do not assume you’re correct by default. My message is simply about history which repeats itself many times, and that not all which is perceived to be is so. So lets not spin everything into conspiracies, and ulterior motives.

    Stay safe Patriot-

    Ed --

  6. TMT says:

    I’m looking for a former Marine Roger A. Smith. TBS in the early 60’s.

    It that you?


  7. Scott says:

    So the question here was “What is the consequence to violating an Executive Order. I am unable to discern from the posts here if that question was answered.

Comments are closed.