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Secrets and LeaksThe Dilemma of State Secrecy$
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Rahul Sagar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168180

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168180.001.0001

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Should We Rely on Congress?

Should We Rely on Congress?

Oversight and the Problem of Executive Privilege

Chapter:
(p.80) Chapter 3 Should We Rely on Congress?
Source:
Secrets and Leaks
Author(s):

Rahul Sagar

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691168180.003.0004

This chapter examines why Congress typically struggles to stay abreast of the president's covert actions and policies. It identifies the principal challenge that Congress faces in its oversight of state secrecy: the executive does not believe that it is obliged to comply with Congress's requests for information. It also rejects the argument put forward by a number of scholars that such invocations of an “executive privilege” to withhold information do not pose a serious obstacle to oversight because Congress can use its wide-ranging constitutional powers to compel the president to part with the information needed to perform oversight. This is because absent some initial hint of wrongdoing, Congress will be hard-pressed to know whether and when it ought to enter into combat with the president.

Keywords:   state secrecy, executive, U.S. Congress, executive privilege

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