The Logan Act is a 1799 law, signed by John Adams, that forbids private citizens from conducting their own personal diplomacy:
§ 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments.
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
The curious thing about the Logan Act is the obscure provision that says it is only applies to Republicans. So when Jesse Jackson takes off to kowtow to some
random donor foreign potentate, that’s a humanitarian mission. When the Speaker of the House conspires with a communist dictator to thwart the policy of the US government or when Democrats try to make deals with totalitarian governments to swing a presidential election, the Logan Act is clearly unconstitutional.
Last week, virtually any site you went to, from cooking to porn, was holding forth on the egregious violation of the Logan Act by Trump’s national security adviser, Mike Flynn. Flynn was picked up on FBI wiretaps of the Russian embassy in Washington discussing matters with the Russian ambassador. Never mind that Flynn is a government employee (executive office of the president staff start on salary when they are appointed by the incoming president) and that he will be the national security adviser.
On the other hand, there is this:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) secretly visited the capital of Syria on a “fact finding” mission to find an end to the six-year civil war there, according to Foreign Policy.
Gabbard’s spokeswoman, Emily Latimer, told Foreign Policy that the congresswoman “felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders.”
“Gabbard has long been committed to peace and ending counterproductive, interventionist wars,” Latimer said.
Gabbard is an Army National Guard major and Iraq War veteran who has called for the U.S. to stop arming Syrian opposition rebels and fueling the civil war. She has also called for the U.S. to abandon its goal of removing Assad.
“I don’t think Assad should be removed,” Gabbard told CNN in November 2015. “If Assad is removed and overthrown, ISIS, al Qaeda, Al Nusra, these Islamic extremist groups will walk straight in and take over all of Syria … they will be even stronger.”
Gabbard, who is a military officer, makes a “secret” visit to Syria. She parrots what Vladimir Putin has been saying since 2013. And no one really cares.