Last week Obama issued a presidential memo giving the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) authority to shield companies from lawsuits related to “contracts performed in Africa in support of USAID's response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa where the contractor, its employees, or subcontractors will have significant exposure to Ebola.”

Obama justified his memo based on Public Law 85-804, which allows the president to give any federal agency or department connected to national security the authority to enter into, amend, or modify contracts with private companies in order to “facilitate the national defense.”

Since when is USAID part of American national defense? (For more on this point, see my colleague Charlotte Hay’s post here.) But no official seems willing to speak to that inconvenient fact. As CNSNews.com’s Brittany M. Hughes reports:

CNSNews.com emailed USAID to ask if the president’s directive also protects these companies from being sued by a U.S. citizen who contracts Ebola from an employee who brings the disease back from West Africa after working under a government contract.

An unnamed spokesperson for the agency responded: “Yes. The indemnification applies only to the extent that the claim, loss, or damage arises out of or results from exposure to Ebola in the course of performance of a contract and exceeds applicable insurance coverage.”

In other words, if a Company A employee contracts Ebola while working in West Africa, brings the disease back to the United States, is not quarantined and ends up infecting members of the general public, Company A is protected from any damages arising from lawsuits by these secondary victims.

As Hays recently pointed out, Obama has refused to ban entry of individuals from affected countries into the U.S.

Shielding government contractors from penalties for allowing workers infected with Ebola back into the U.S. is utterly irresponsible, but it is completely in keeping with Obama’s desire to put his preferred global agendas ahead of the welfare—much less national defense—of his fellow citizens.