covert action statute

The Covert Action Statute: The CIA’s Blank Check?

MAJ Peter Combe argues that the covert action statute prohibits the Central Intelligence Agency from violating self-executing treaties to which the United States is party, as well as non-self-executing treaties and customary international law implemented by statute, but it provides domestic legal authority to violate non-self-executing treaties and customary international law that have not been implemented through legislation by Congress. This application of the covert action statute in practice is illuminated through a case study of the legal issues surrounding the Osama bin Laden raid.

Lead Author

Peter Combe
Lt. Col. Combe is a Judge Advocate, and student at Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting. His previous operational assignments include a deployment to Afghanistan as a member of the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, International Security Assistance Force, and multiple deployments in support of special operations in multiple Geographic Combatant Commands.
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