Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bush changes requirements for Executive reporting to the Congress regarding Arms Exports

From the October 24th Federal Register:

Pursuant to section 654(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, notice is hereby given that:

(1) On August 18, 2006, the President made a determination pursuant to section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended; and (2) The President has concluded that publication of such determination would be harmful to the national security of the United States.

Seems harmless enough, right? Well, consider this:
Section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act mandates that the Presiden transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate detailed accounts relating to the sale, proposed sale, or agreement to sell defense articles to a foreign country and/or international organization. Within these transmittals the President is required to be very specific as to the purchaser, the United States Government department or agency responsible for implementing the sale, type, quantity, and dollar value of any listed transactions.

This is just one small facet of this section of this law. There are many other provisions such as applications for export licensing that require Congressional notification. Essentially, this section allows the Congress to monitor what the President is doing with US defense technology and weaponry.

What exactly did the President determine regarding this law? Why couldn't it be disclosed publically when the section deals only with reporting to the Congress? What is he trying to hide? My guess is that he determined to ignore it. We shall see what, if any, transmittals come across the pages of the Federal Register in the future.


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