Statement on Signing the Intelligence Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1988


December 2, 1987


I am pleased to sign H.R. 2112, the Intelligence Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1988. This legislation authorizes the appropriation of funds for United States intelligence and intelligence-related activities. It represents the combined efforts of the Senate and House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees as well as the various agencies in the intelligence community to assure adequate funding for these important activities. The bill also contains many positive legislative initiatives that are the product of cooperation between these committees and the community. I am gratified to see the results of this cooperation and will work to ensure that it continues in the future.


I was disappointed that the authorization levels in this bill are less than I had requested. However, the intelligence community will do everything possible to meet the complex and diverse challenges it faces within current budgetary limits. In these times of fiscal constraint, it is necessary for all agencies to share in budget reductions, and the community stands ready to do its part. I will continue to work with the Congress to ensure the continuation of a strong intelligence capability for the United States.


Finally, I must express my view that section 501 of the bill is unconstitutional. This section would require the Attorney General to report to the Congress internal disagreements between executive officials about the admission of foreign officials to the United States. These internal disagreements reflect communications and deliberations that are protected from disclosure because of the need for candor and objectivity among executive officials. The President, of course, has the exclusive constitutional authority to ``receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers.'' Since the Presidency of George Washington, it has been consistently recognized that the executive branch cannot be made to disclose to the Congress information relating to actions taken pursuant to an authority assigned by the Constitution exclusively to the President. Accordingly, requiring this annual report by the Attorney General would violate long-established constitutional principles and, pursuant to my constitutional authority, I will instruct the Attorney General not to submit an annual report to the Congress pursuant to section 501. I do not, however, believe the unconstitutionality of section 501 affects the validity of the remainder of the bill.


Note: H.R. 2112, approved December 2, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 178.