In classified briefings on Capitol Hill, lead administration cabinet members made it very clear that Obama does not intend to consult Congress on the Libyan
war kinetic military action.
More than anything, the meetings served to underscore how little influence Congress has in shaping the war.
That’s normal. Â The executive exists to give shape to any wars. Â The report indicated thatÂ Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were in obvious disagreement over some issues.
They said one dynamic was very clear: The administration doesnâ€™t much care what Congress thinks about the actions itâ€™s taken so far.Â Challenged on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in attacking Libya without congressional approval, Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress.
When they stepped out of the briefing, members of Congress were greeted with news of the recent Presidential Finding which authorized clandestine intelligence activities in Libya starting 2 or 3 weeks ago.
Allahpundit over at Hot Air marvels:
No wonder Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intel Committee, is now drawing aÂ very sharp line on arming the rebels:
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) said in a late Wednesday interview that the Obama administrationâ€™s top national security officials were deeply split on whether arming the rebels was a good idea. In a classified briefing Wednesday with lawmakers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Rogers said it was clear that there were deep divisions between the cabinet officials regarding the wisdom of arming the rebels.
â€œIâ€™ve never seen an uneasiness amongst their national security cabinet members as I have seen on this. Itâ€™s kind of odd,â€ said Rogers. He declined to say which cabinet members were supporting arming the rebels and which were opposed, but he said it was obvious that they disagreedâ€¦
â€œAny covert action that happensÂ would have to get the sign off of the intelligence chairmen, by statute. You wonâ€™t get a sign off from me,â€ Rogers said referring to National Security Act 47. â€œI still think arming the rebels is a horrible idea. We donâ€™t know who they are, we only know who they are against but we donâ€™t really who they are for. We donâ€™t have a good picture of whoâ€™s really in charge.â€
I wonâ€™t pretend to know offhand whether he has the right to block The One under the NSA, but if weâ€™re no longer abiding by the War Powers Act, why bother with that one either?
Clapper could have relieved considerable pressure from this steam cooker by simply stating that the intelligence assets had been inserted in order to determine if the rebels were composed of parties we could support and determine how strong the Al Queda rebel component was Â — another issue that seems to be near a full boil right now.
It could be that Obama has no intent of allowing the Libyan action to bump up against the 60 day limit before he needs to go to Congress. Â Then again, he may discover that wars aren’t nearly as easily wound down as they are started.
In any event, the administration still needs to comply with the National Security Act of 1947 and get the intelligence chairs to sign off on clandestine actions, and above, House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers clearly says he has no intention of doing so.
Eric Holder has been bucking for some time to be held in contempt of Congress. Â Looks like now the President is too.