During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing regarding the situation in Syria, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey admit that their authority comes United Nations and NATO, not from the U.S. Constitution.
At 3:26 in the video below:
Senator Jeff Sessions: “Do you think that you can act without Congress and initiate a no-fly zone in Syria without Congressional approval?”
Defense Secretary Panetta: “You know, our goal would be to seek international permission. And we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress. I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”
Senator Jeff Sessions: “Well, I’m almost breathless about that because what I heard you say is, ‘We’re going to seek international approval and then we will come and tell the Congress what we might do and we might seek Congressional approval.”
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