The Framers understood Congress could not be trusted to keep secrets, and entrusted (as John Jay explained in Federalist 64)“the business of intelligence” exclusively in the President when in Art. 2, Sec. 1, of the Constitution it vested “the executive power” in that office subject only to “narrowly defined” “exceptions.”
Congress has a role in protecting secrets. The 5th Amendment prohibits depriving people of “life, liberty, or property” without “due process of law.” So before a leaker or spy can be sent to prison Congress must attach criminal penalties to the act.
But the Constitution vests in Congress no authority to usurp the Executive control over intelligence—including the protection of national security secrets. Yes, it has the power to deny funding for intelligence activities—just as it has control over appropriations for the Judiciary. But that power does not include power to direct how the President protects national security information—any more than control of Judicial appropriations empowers Congress to direct how judges decide pending cases.
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