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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 13, 2003
Statement on H.R. 2417
Statement by the President
Today, I have signed into law H.R. 2417, the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004." The Act authorizes funding for United States intelligence activities, including activities in the war against terrorists of global reach.
Section 506A(c) of the National Security Act of 1947, as enacted by section 312(b) of the Act, purports to require the President to request that the Congress enact laws appropriating funding for a major intelligence system procurement in an amount set as a cost estimate by an entity subordinate to the President or to explain why the President instead requests amounts below those levels. Moreover, beginning with the submittal to the Congress of the President's budget for FY 2006, section 312(d)(2) of H.R. 2417 purports to condition the obligation or expenditure of funds for development or procurement of a major intelligence system on the President's compliance with the requirements of section 506A. The executive branch shall construe these provisions in a manner consistent with the Constitution's commitment to the President of exclusive authority to submit for the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President judges necessary and expedient and to supervise the unitary executive branch, and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair the deliberative processes of the Executive or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties.
Section 341(b) purports to require the Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence, acting through particular offices subordinate to them respectively, to establish certain policies and procedures relating to espionage prosecutions. The executive branch shall implement this provision in a manner consistent with the authority committed exclusively to the President by the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws and to supervise the unitary executive branch. Similarly, sections 1102(a) and 1102(c) of the National Security Act, as enacted by section 341(a) of the Act, purport to mandate that the Director of Central Intelligence use or act through the Office of National Counterintelligence Executive to establish and implement an inspection process for all agencies and departments of the U.S. Government that handle classified information. The executive branch shall implement this provision in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch.
The executive branch shall construe and implement section 376 of the Act, relating to making available classified information to courts, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to classify and control access to information bearing on the national security and consistent with the statutory authority of the Attorney General for the conduct of litigation for the United States.
Many provisions of the Act, including section 106 and subtitle D of title III of the Act, seek to require the executive branch to furnish information to the Congress on various subjects. The executive branch shall construe the provisions in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties.
The executive branch shall implement section 319 of the Act in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
Section 502 purports to place restrictions on use of the U.S. Armed Forces and other personnel in certain operations. The executive branch shall construe the restrictions -in section 502 as advisory in nature, so that the provisions are consistent with the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief, including for the conduct of intelligence operations, and to supervise the unitary executive branch.
Section 106 enacts by reference certain requirements set forth in the joint explanatory statement of the House-Senate committee of conference or in a classified annex. The executive branch continues to discourage this practice of enacting secret laws and encourages instead appropriate non-binding uses of classified schedules of authorizations, classified annexes to committee reports, and joint statements of managers that accompany the final legislation.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 13, 2003.
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