On June 21, 1989, in secret, the Justice Department promulgated an extraordinary legal opinion,

asserting the president's right to order the capture of fugitives from U.S. laws

even if they were living in foreign countries,

even if the arrest meant ignoring extradition treaties and international law.


The opinion had specific relevance to U.S.-Panamanian relations

because a federal grand jury in Florida had indicted Panama's military leader,

Gen. Manuel Noriega, on drug-trafficking charges.

Our government put Noriega in power in Panama,

then we go to war to arrest Noriega to put him in prison?