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Sat Sep 21, 2019, 04:23 PM

The U.S. has no rules for when the president is a national security threat

The U.S. has no rules for when the president is a national security threat
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-us-has-no-rules-for-when-the-president-is-a-national-security-threat/2019/09/20/68c84412-dbac-11e9-bfb1-849887369476_story.html
By Asha Rangappa

...

Presidents have, of course, acted inappropriately in the past, and our constitutional system has a framework in place for addressing misconduct by the chief executive. But itís designed to deal with straightforward criminal activity, not national security threats. The special counsel regulations, for example, were created to deal with a Watergate-like situation as a worst-case scenario. So they take into account the need for an investigation insulated from political influence and give special counsels the ability to make prosecutorial decisions independently of the rest of the Justice Department or the attorney general. The rules even envision a report that might be made public.

This approach is appropriate when an investigation involves collecting evidence that can hold up in a court of law. But it is inadequate to address potentially noncriminal conduct that may nevertheless endanger the national security of the United States.

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But counterintelligence investigations are stymied if they involve the president.

In a criminal investigation, the public can get glimpses into its stages: Search warrants, subpoenas for documents and interviews of witnesses typically make it into the press. Counterintelligence investigations, though, differ in that they do not ultimately end up in a courtroom. Rather, they seek to monitor and neutralize national security threats behind the scenes, which means the public has no way of tracking their progress. And the normal ways of resolving counterintelligence threats ó like blocking a compromised subjectís access to classified information ó donít work with the president, who controls what is and isnít classified and is the ultimate consumer of the intelligence the government collects.

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