Signed, Sealed, and… that's About It


The Government Accountability Office has a new report on presidential signing statements: Researchers looked at 30 signing statements and checked if respective agencies were dragging their feet or disobeying Congress the way Bush told them to. In about 50 percent of the cases, they were. The most obeyant department: Defense.

For example, section 1079 of the 2008 NDAA requires certain members of the intelligence community to respond to Armed Services Committee requests for existing intelligence assessments, reports, estimates, or legal opinions within 45 days, subject to presidential assertion of privilege. In our previous work, we examined a provision with time frames that required DOD to respond to certain questions or inquiries from a congressional committee within 21 days. We determined that DOD had not executed this provision as written because it responded to one of the two inquiries covered by the provision in 38 days.

Section 846 of the 2008 NDAA increased certain whistleblower protections for DOD contractors… Another provision that the President objected to in the 2008 NDAA was section 841, establishing a Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The conclusion:

Given our findings regarding these similar provisions, the Subcommittee may wish to stay abreast of DOD's implementation of the provisions in the 2008 NDAA to which the President objected in his signing statement.

Yeah, that's probably true.