The True Border Mission

| Walter Pincus
Walter Pincus
Columnist, The Cipher Brief

OPINION — President Trump’s pre-election-day deployment of U.S. Army units on the southwest border may turn out to be more of a dangerous, long-term precedent than a short-term, political stunt.

Forget about the Posse Comitatus Act, which in the past, has been thought to protect civilians from the government’s use of the military to enforce federal, state and local laws.

Northern Command is claiming that legal authority for Trump’s action rests in part on “POTUS’ Inherent Authority exception [under] Article II and Article IV of the Constitution [to] Protect federal property, functions and personnel [and allow] military personnel to provide federal, state and local police with assistance that is necessary to protect CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) personnel so they can perform their federal functions.”

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The Author is Walter Pincus

Walter Pincus is a Columnist and the Senior National Security Reporter at The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Price for national reporting. He also won an Emmy in 1981 and the 2010 Arthur Ross Award from the American Academy for Diplomacy.  He can be reached at wpincus@thecipherbrief.com.

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