In the recent past, there have been increased cases of security threat to the US government and her citizens. The threats present a big challenge to the nation as well as to the intelligence community. Terrorism and proliferation has been at the top of threat lists because of the reduced danger of nuclear war. This occurred as a result of the normalization of the relationship with the Chinese government and demise of the Soviet Union. The fall of the cold war resulted in other changes in the aspect of international life. This includes the re emergence of long repressed political aspirations and hatred that stems from ethnic and religious background. Terrorism and guerilla war has remained an option for countries that feel they cannot defeat the US military hence opt to unleash terror against the US citizens. To combat terrorism and proliferation, there is need to provide the intelligence with substantial effort and resources to fight against the issue.
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The Right of the President to withhold Information from the Congress
The president of the US has to be at the forefront to protect the citizens of his country against the increased cases of terrorism. The president has to use all the available resources in the country to at his disposal to protect the citizens. That is why after the president signed the reauthorization of the Patriot Act in March 2006, he included an addendum that did not oblige him to inform the congress. The act required the president to inform the congress how the FBI was using the Act’s expanded the powers of the police. Some of the provisions in the act required that the FBI does not use the terrorism bill to abuse its powers, for instance by searching homes of suspects’ without permission and seizing of the papers secretly. The administration was to provide the information to the congress on how the FBI used the powers. President Bush signed the document but said that he was not bound to inform the congress of the FBI powers especially if he felt that some information might for instance impair foreign relations or national security. The president also had allowed the military to conduct the electronic surveillance on all the international phone calls of the American people as well their emails without warrant. This also to the president is allowed by law to bypass if he feels he is under wartime powers.
Furthermore, the congress passed the law to forbid torturing of detainees under the American custody. But the again the president can bypass the law if he feels that harsh interrogation worked in favor of national security.
Therefore, looking at all this points that the president has had to bypass the laws, it amounts to the security of the nation. The prevention of terrorism requires proactive approach that will enable the policy makers as well as law enforcers to preempt the terror plots and take measures that will warn all the sectors that might be affected by the terror strike.
Despite the fact that the president has the powers under the constitution, the congress should keep the powers of the president under checks to ensure he doesn’t misuse it. The issues concerning national security are not only for the president but the whole members of the congress as well as the entire country. Through its 2/3 majority votes, the congress can continuously check the powers of the president.
The law gives the legislative committee and the other branches of the government as well as NGOs and citizens the powers to compel the police and other security services to give information that will ensure monitoring of their activities. Such laws include the freedom Information Act. The judiciary has the authority to give injunction and allow compensation to an individual that his rights have been infringed by the police.
Because of the increased situation of terrorism, it would be wise if for the supervisory committees to continue checking the powers of the president and the FBI but the information that the president feels that is extremely of security threat should not be given out.
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Mazower Mark (1997): The Policing of Politics in the 20th Century: Historical Perspectives, ISBN 1571818731, Berghahn Books.
Savage G. (2006): Bush Shuns Patriot Act requirements: In addendum to law, he says oversight rules not binding, 2007. Web.