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.
- MAJ Peter Combe is a Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps. He is presently assigned as Operational Law Attorney, International and Operational Law Branch, Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters Marine Corps. He holds an LL.M. (2015) from The Judge Advocate General’s School and a J.D. (2008) from the University of Houston.