Bill Gertz reports that the Senate is trying to include language that would require an explicit Presidential order to use special operations troops in the latest intelligence authorization bill.

“We want to be able to deploy [special-operations commandos] in minutes and hours instead of days and weeks,” said the former special-operations officer. “And this will get us delays. It will make it hard to kill terrorists by turning over deployment decisions to the Senate.”

A senior U.S. intelligence official said the new report language undermines the efforts of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet to loosen restrictions on covert action in the war on terrorism since the September 11 attacks.

The senior official said the report language was inserted based on misunderstandings that resulted from conversations between Mr. Cambone and several senators, who were not identified.

“This hurts both CIA and [the Department of Defense],” the official said.

This measure is not in the House version of the bill. My guess is this doesn’t make it into the combined bill and that it would be vetoed if it did. The rules of engagement are approved by the chain of command; this requirement is simply too restrictive if we wish to successfully prosecute a war on terrorists.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Terrorism, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, if you think this can only be solved by the military, sure. But given the powder keg we seem to have in Iraq, perhaps it’s more prudent to put some thinking and reflection before we go leaping off a cliff. This should have always been a “police action on terror”, not a war.