[House Document 110-100]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

110th Congress, 2d Session - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 110-100

                       VETO MESSAGE ON H.R. 2082






                       ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008''

                 March 10, 2008.--Ordered to be printed
To the House of Representatives:
    I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 2082, the 
``Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.'' The 
bill would impede the United States Government's efforts to 
protect the American people effectively from terrorist attacks 
and other threats because it imposes several unnecessary and 
unacceptable burdens on our Intelligence Community.
    Section 444 of the bill would impose additional Senate 
confirmation requirements on two national security positions--
the Director of the National Security Agency and the Director 
of the National Reconnaissance Office. The National Commission 
on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) 
observed that the effectiveness of the Intelligence Community 
suffers due to delays in the confirmation process; section 444 
would only aggravate those serious problems. Senior 
intelligence officials need to assume their duties and 
responsibilities as quickly as possible to address the pressing 
requirements of national security. Instead of addressing the 9/
11 Commission's concern, the bill would subject two additional 
vital positions to a more protracted process of Senate 
confirmation. Apart from causing such potentially harmful 
delays, this unwarranted requirement for Senate confirmation 
would also risk injecting political pressure into these 
positions of technical expertise and public trust.
    Section 413 would create a new Inspector General for the 
Intelligence Community. This new office is duplicative and 
unnecessary. Each intelligence community component already has 
an Inspector General, and the Inspector General of the Office 
of the Director of National Intelligence has been vested with 
all the legal powers of any inspector general to carry out 
investigations on matters under the jurisdiction of the 
Director of National Intelligence. There is no reason to commit 
taxpayer resources to an additional inspector general with 
competing jurisdiction over the same intelligence elements. 
Creating duplicative inspectors general, who may have 
inconsistent views on the handling of particular matters, has 
the potential to create conflicts and impede the Intelligence 
Community from efficiently resolving issues and carrying out 
its core mission. In addition, the creation of a new inspector 
general would add yet another position in the Intelligence 
Community subject to Senate confirmation, contrary to the 9/11 
Commission's recommendations.
    Section 327 of the bill would harm our national security by 
requiring any element of the Intelligence Community to use only 
the interrogation methods authorized in the Army Field Manual 
on Interrogations. It is vitally important that the Central 
Intelligence Agency (CIA) be allowed to maintain a separate and 
classified interrogation program. The Army Field Manual is 
directed at guiding the actions of nearly three million active 
duty and reserve military personnel in connection with the 
detention of lawful combatants during the course of traditional 
armed conflicts, but terrorists often are trained specifically 
to resist techniques prescribed in publicly available military 
regulations such as the Manual. The CIA's ability to conduct a 
separate and specialized interrogation program for terrorists 
who possess the most critical information in the War on Terror 
has helped the United States prevent a number of attacks, 
including plots to fly passenger airplanes into the Library 
Tower in Los Angeles and into Heathrow Airport or buildings in 
downtown London. While details of the current CIA program are 
classified, the Attorney General has reviewed it and determined 
that it is lawful under existing domestic and international 
law, including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. I 
remain committed to an intelligence-gathering program that 
complies with our legal obligations and our basic values as a 
people. The United States opposes torture, and I remain 
committed to following international and domestic law regarding 
the humane treatment of people in its custody, including the 
``Detainee Treatment Act of 2005.''
    My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular 
interrogation technique; for instance, it is not over 
waterboarding, which is not part of the current CIA program. 
Rather, my concern is the need to maintain a separate CIA 
program that will shield from disclosure to al Qaeda and other 
terrorists the interrogation techniques they may face upon 
capture. In accordance with a clear purpose of the ``Military 
Commissions Act of 2006,'' my veto is intended to allow the 
continuation of a separate and classified CIA interrogation 
program that the Department of Justice has determined is lawful 
and that operates according to rules distinct from the more 
general rules applicable to the Department of Defense. While I 
will continue to work with the Congress on the implementation 
of laws passed in this area in recent years, I cannot sign into 
law a bill that would prevent me, and future Presidents, from 
authorizing the CIA to conduct a separate, lawful intelligence 
program, and from taking all lawful actions necessary to 
protect Americans from attack.
    Other provisions of the bill purport to require the 
executive branch to submit information to the Congress that may 
be constitutionally protected from disclosure, including 
information the disclosure of which could impair foreign 
relations, the national security, the deliberative processes of 
the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's 
constitutional duties. Section 326, for example, would require 
that the executive branch report, on a very short deadline and 
in accordance with a rigid set of specific statutory 
requirements, the details of highly classified interrogation 
techniques and the confidential legal advice concerning them. 
The executive branch voluntarily has provided much of this 
information to appropriate members of Congress, demonstrating 
that questions concerning access to such information are best 
addressed through the customary practices and arrangements 
between the executive and legislative branches on such matters, 
rather than through the enactment of legislation.
    In addition, section 406 would require a consolidated 
inventory of Special Access Programs (SAPs) to be submitted to 
the Congress. Special Access Programs concern the most 
sensitive information maintained by the Government, and SAP 
materials are maintained separately precisely to avoid the 
existence of one document that can serve as a roadmap to our 
Nation's most vital information. The executive branch must be 
permitted to present this information in a manner that does not 
jeopardize national security. The executive branch will 
continue to keep the Congress appropriately informed of the 
matters to which the provisions relate in accordance with the 
accommodation principles the Constitution contemplates and the 
executive and legislative branches have long and successfully 
used to address information sharing on matters of national 

                                                    George W. Bush.
    The White House, March 8, 2008.