The powers of the President of the United States include those powers explicitly granted by Article II of the United States Constitution to the President of the United States, powers granted by Acts of Congress, implied powers, and also a great deal of soft power that is attached to the presidency.
The Constitution explicitly assigns the president the power to sign or veto legislation, command the armed forces, ask for the written opinion of their Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, grant reprieves and pardons, and receive ambassadors. The President oversees federal law execution by directing and removing executive officers. The president may make treaties, which need to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, and is accorded those foreign-affairs functions not otherwise granted to Congress or shared with the Senate. Thus, the President can control the formation and communication of foreign policy and can direct the nation's diplomatic corps. The president may also appoint Article III judges and some officers with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. In the condition of a Senate recess, the president may make a temporary appointment.
Article II of the Constitution expressly designates the president as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States." Since the National Security Act of 1947, this has been understood to mean all United States Armed Forces. U.S. ranks have their roots in British military traditions, with the President possessing ultimate authority, but no rank, maintaining a civilian status. Before 1947, the President was the only common superior of the Army (under the Secretary of War) and the Navy and Marine Corps (under the Secretary of the Navy). The National Security Act of 1947, and the 1949 amendments to the same act, created the Department of Defense and the services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force) became subject to the "authority, direction and control" of the Secretary of Defense; the civilian cabinet-level official serving as the head of the Department of Defense and who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The power to declare war is constitutionally vested in Congress, but the president has overall responsibility for the direction and disposition of the military. The present-day operational command of the Armed Forces is delegated to the Department of Defense and is normally exercised through the Secretary of Defense. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combatant Commands assist with the operation as outlined in the presidentially approved Unified Command Plan (UCP).
The exact degree of authority that the Constitution grants to the President as Commander in Chief has been the subject of much debate throughout American history, with Congress at various times granting the president wide authority and at others attempting to restrict that authority. Pursuant to the War Powers Resolution of 1973, Congress must authorize any troop deployments longer than 60 days, although that process relies on triggering mechanisms that have never been employed, rendering it ineffectual. Additionally, Congress provides a check to presidential military power through its control over military spending and regulation. Presidents have historically initiated the process for going to war, but critics have charged that there have been several conflicts in which presidents did not get official declarations, including Theodore Roosevelt's military move into Panama in 1903, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the invasions of Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.
The amount of military detail handled personally by the President in wartime has varied dramatically. George Washington, the first U.S. president, firmly established military subordination under civilian authority. In 1794, Washington used his constitutional powers to assemble 12,000 militia to quell the Whiskey Rebellion—a conflict in western Pennsylvania involving armed farmers and distillers who refused to pay excise tax on spirits. According to historian Joseph Ellis, this was the "first and only time a sitting American president led troops in the field", though James Madison briefly took control of artillery units in defense of Washington D.C. during the War of 1812.
Abraham Lincoln was deeply involved in strategy development and day-to-day operations during the American Civil War, 1861–1865; historians have given Lincoln high praise for his strategic sense and his ability to select and encourage commanders such as Ulysses S. Grant. On the other extreme, Woodrow Wilson paid very little attention to operational military details of World War I and had very little contact with the War Department or with General John J. Pershing, who had a high degree of autonomy as commander of the armies in France. As President in World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt worked closely with his generals, and admirals, and assigned Admiral William D. Leahy as "Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief". Harry S. Truman believed in a high amount of civilian leadership of the military, making many tactical and policy decisions based on the recommendations of his advisors—including the decision to use atomic weapons on Japan, to commit American forces in the Korean War, and to terminate Douglas MacArthur from his command. Lyndon B. Johnson kept a very tight personal control of operations during the Vietnam War, which some historians have sharply criticized.
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the ensuing Gulf War in 1991 saw George H. W. Bush assemble and lead one of the largest military coalitions of nations in modern times. Confronting a major constitutional issue of murky legislation that left the wars in Korea and Vietnam without official declarations of war, Congress quickly authorized sweeping war-making powers for Bush. The leadership of George W. Bush during the War in Afghanistan and Iraq War achieved mixed results. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda, the subsequent War on Terror that followed, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq due to Iraq's alleged sponsorship of terrorism and possession of weapons of mass destruction, the speed at which the Taliban and Ba'ath Party governments in both Kabul and Baghdad were toppled by an overwhelming superiority of American and allied forces defied the predictions of many military experts. However, insufficient post-war planning and strategy by Bush and his advisors to rebuild those nations were costly.
During the 20th century, certain area commanders came to be called "Commander-in-chief". As of 2011, there are nine combatant commanders; six have regional responsibilities, and three have functional responsibilities. Before 2002, the combatant commanders were referred to in daily use as Commanders-in-chief (for instance "Commander in chief, U.S. Central Command"), even though the positions were in fact already statutory designated as "combatant commander" (CCDR). On 24 October 2002, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced his decision that the use of Commander-in-chief would thereafter be reserved for the President only.
The president, as Commander in Chief, may also call into federal service individual state units of the National Guard. In times of war or national emergency, the Congress may grant the president broader powers to manage the national economy and protect the security of the United States, but these powers were not expressly granted by the Constitution.
Within the executive branch itself, the president has broad powers to manage national affairs and the priorities of the government. The president can issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require approval of the United States Congress. Executive orders are subject to judicial review and interpretation.
The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 put additional responsibilities on the presidency for the preparation of the United States federal budget, although Congress was required to approve it. The act required the Office of Management and Budget to assist the president with the preparation of the budget. Previous presidents had the privilege of impounding funds as they saw fit, however the United States Supreme Court revoked the privilege in 1998 as a violation of the Presentment Clause. The power was available to all presidents and was regarded as a power inherent to the office. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 was passed in response to large-scale power exercises by President Nixon. The act also created the Congressional Budget Office as a legislative counterpoint to the Office of Management and Budget.
The president has several options when presented with a bill from Congress. If the president agrees with the bill, he can sign it into law within ten days of receipt. If the president opposes the bill, he can veto it and return the bill to Congress with a veto message suggesting changes unless the Congress is out of session then the president may rely on a pocket veto.
Presidents are required to approve all of a bill or none of it; selective vetoes have been prohibited. In 1996, Congress gave President Bill Clinton a line-item veto over parts of a bill that required spending federal funds. The Supreme Court, in Clinton v. New York City, found Clinton's veto of pork-barrel appropriations for New York City to be unconstitutional because only a constitutional amendment could give the president line-item veto power.
When a bill is presented for signature, the president may also issue a signing statement with expressions of their opinion on the constitutionality of a bill's provisions. The president may even declare them unenforceable but the Supreme Court has yet to address this issue.
Congress may override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate. The process has traditionally been difficult and relatively rare. The threat of a presidential veto has usually provided sufficient pressure for Congress to modify a bill so the President would be willing to sign it.
Much of the legislation dealt with by Congress is drafted at the initiative of the executive branch. The president may personally propose legislation in annual and special messages to Congress including the annual State of the Union address and joint sessions of Congress. If Congress has adjourned without acting on proposals, the president may call a special session of the Congress.
Beyond these official powers, the U.S. president, as a leader of his political party and the United States government, holds great sway over public opinion whereby they may influence legislation.
To improve the working relationship with Congress, presidents in recent years have set up an Office of Legislative Affairs. Presidential aides have kept abreast of all important legislative activities.
Before taking office, the president-elect and his transition team must appoint people to more than 6,000 federal positions. The appointments range from top officials at U.S. government agencies, to the White House Staff, and members of the United States diplomatic corps. Many, but not all, of these positions at the highest levels are appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.
The president also nominates persons to fill federal judicial vacancies, including federal judges, such as members of the United States courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. These nominations require Senate confirmation, and this can provide a major stumbling block for presidents who wish to shape the federal judiciary in a particular ideological stance.
As head of the executive branch, the president appoints the top officials for all federal agencies. These positions are listed in the Plum Book which outlines more than seven thousand appointive positions in the government. Many of these appointments are made by the president. In the case of ten agencies, the president is free to appoint a new agency head. For example, it is not unusual for the CIA's Director or NASA's Administrator to be changed by the president. Other agencies that deal with federal regulation such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission have set terms that will often outlast presidential terms. For example, governors of the Federal Reserve serve for fourteen years to ensure agency independence. The president also appoints members to the boards of directors for government-owned corporations such as Amtrak. The president can also make a recess appointment if a position needs to be filled while Congress is not in session.
In the past, presidents could appoint members of the United States civil service. This use of the spoils system allowed presidents to reward political supporters with jobs. Following the assassination of President James Garfield by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled office seeker, Congress instituted a merit-based civil service in which positions are filled on a nonpartisan basis. The Office of Personnel Management now oversees the staffing of 2.8 million federal jobs in the federal bureaucracy.
The president must also appoint his staff of aides, advisers, and assistants. These individuals are political appointments and are not subject to review by the Senate. All members of the staff serve "at the pleasure of the President". Since 1995, the president has been required to submit an annual report to Congress listing the name and salary of every employee of the White House Office. The 2011 report listed 454 employees.
Article II of the United States Constitution gives the president the power of clemency. The two most commonly used clemency powers are those of pardon and commutation. A pardon is an official forgiveness for an acknowledged crime. Once a pardon is issued, all punishment for the crime is waived. A person seeking executive clemency by pardon, reprieve, commutation of sentence, or remission of fine shall execute a formal petition. The petition shall be addressed to the President of the United States and shall be submitted to the Pardon Attorney, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530, except for petitions relating to military offenses. A person accepting the pardon through execution of a formal petition must, however, acknowledge that the crime did take place. The president can only grant pardons for federal offences. The president maintains the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice to review all requests for pardons. The president can also commute a sentence which, in effect, changes the punishment to time served. While the guilty party may be released from custody or not have to serve out a prison term, all other punishments still apply.
Most pardons are issued as oversight of the judicial branch, especially in cases where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are considered too severe. This power can check the legislative and judicial branches by altering punishment for crimes. Presidents can issue blanket amnesty to forgive entire groups of people. For example, President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam draft dodgers who had fled to Canada. Presidents can also issue temporary suspensions of prosecution or punishment in the form of respites. This power is most commonly used to delay federal sentences of execution.
Under the Constitution, the president is the federal official that is primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations. The president appoints ambassadors, ministers, and consuls (subject to confirmation by the Senate) and receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials. With the Secretary of State, the president manages all official contacts with foreign governments.
On occasion, the president may personally participate in summit conferences where heads of state meet for direct consultation. For example, President Wilson led the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 after World War I; President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Allied leaders during World War II; and every president sits down with world leaders to discuss economic and political issues and to reach agreements.
Through the Department of State and the Department of Defense, the president is responsible for the protection of Americans abroad and of foreign nationals in the United States. The president decides whether to recognize new nations and new governments, and negotiate treaties with other nations, which become binding on the United States when approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The president may also negotiate executive agreements with foreign powers that are not subject to Senate confirmation.
The Constitution does not expressly grant the president additional powers in times of national emergency. However, many scholars think that the Framers implied these powers because the structural design of the Executive Branch enables it to act faster than the Legislative Branch. Because the Constitution remains silent on the issue, the courts cannot grant the Executive Branch these powers when it tries to wield them. The courts will only recognize a right of the Executive Branch to use emergency powers if Congress has granted such powers to the president.
A claim of emergency powers was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ. With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex parte Merryman, although Lincoln ignored the order.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued an order directing that all Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast be placed into internment camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States.
Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he nationalized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952. With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the president the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation.
Executive privilege gives the president the ability to withhold information from the public, Congress, and the courts in national security and diplomatic affairs. George Washington first claimed privilege when Congress requested to see Chief Justice John Jay's notes from an unpopular treaty negotiation with Great Britain. While not enshrined in the Constitution, Washington's action created the precedent for privilege. When Richard Nixon tried to use executive privilege as a reason for not turning over subpoenaed audio tapes to a special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that privilege was not absolute. The Court reasoned that the judiciary’s interest in the “fair administration of criminal justice” outweighed President Nixon’s interest in keeping the evidence secret. Later President Bill Clinton lost in federal court when he tried to assert privilege in the Lewinsky affair. The Supreme Court affirmed this in Clinton v. Jones, which denied the use of privilege in cases of civil suits.
Because of the vast array of presidential roles and responsibilities, coupled with a conspicuous presence on the national and international scene, political analysts have tended to place great emphasis on the president's powers. Some have even spoken of "the imperial presidency", referring to the expanded role of the office that Franklin D. Roosevelt maintained during his term.
President Theodore Roosevelt famously called the presidency a "bully pulpit" from which to raise issues nationally, for when a president raises an issue, it inevitably becomes subject to public debate. A president's power and influence may have limits, but politically the president is certainly the most important power in Washington and, furthermore, is one of the most famous and influential of all Americans.
Though constrained by various other laws passed by Congress, the president's executive branch conducts most foreign policy, and their power to order and direct troops as commander-in-chief is quite significant (the exact limits of a president's military powers without Congressional authorization are open to debate).
The Separation of Powers devised by the founding fathers was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist.  Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as "checks and balances". For example, the President appoints judges and departmental secretaries, but these appointments must be approved by the Senate. The president can veto bills, or deny them. If he does that, the bill is sent back to Congress.
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water
No clear mechanism or requirement exists today for the president and Congress to consult. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 contains only vague consultation requirements. Instead, it relies on reporting requirements that, if triggered, begin the clock running for Congress to approve the particular armed conflict. By the terms of the Resolution, however, Congress need not act to disapprove the conflict; the cessation of all hostilities is required in 60 to 90 days merely if Congress fails to act. Many have criticized this aspect of the Resolution as unwise and unconstitutional, and no president in the past 35 years has filed a report "pursuant" to these triggering provisions.
Presidents have sent forces abroad more than 100 times; Congress has declared war only five times: the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish–American War, World War I and World War II.
President Reagan told Congress of the invasion of Grenada two hours after he had ordered the landing. He told Congressional leaders of the bombing of Libya while the aircraft were on their way.
It was not clear whether the White House consulted with Congressional leaders about the military action, or notified them in advance. Thomas S. Foley, the Speaker of the House, said on Tuesday night that he had not been alerted by the Administration.
Condoleezza Rice served as United States Secretary of State under George W. Bush. She was preceded by Colin Powell and followed by Hillary Clinton. As secretary of state she traveled widely and initiated many diplomatic efforts on behalf of the Bush administration.David C. Cloud
David Caesar Cloud (January 29, 1817 – July 10, 1903) was an American politician, writer, and lawyer.
Born in Champaign County, Ohio, Cloud moved to Muscatine, Iowa Territory in 1839. He was a carpenter and studied law. In 1846, Cloud was admitted to the Iowa bar. In 1851, Cloud was elected county attorney for Muscatine County, Iowa. From 1853 to 1856, Cloud served as the first Iowa Attorney General and was a Democrat. He then served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1856 to 1858. He supported President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party. Cloud wrote several books on monopolies and the war powers of the President of the United States. In 1872, at the Democratic Party convention, Cloud supported Horace Greeley for the presidency. He continued to practice law. Then, Cloud moved to Chicago, Illinois because of his age and health. He died in Chicago.John Lansdale Jr.
John Lansdale Jr. (9 January 1912 – 22 August 2003) was a United States Army colonel who was in charge of intelligence and security for the Manhattan Project.
A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and Harvard Law School, Lansdale was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve in 1933. He was called up for active duty in June 1941, and was assigned to the Investigations Branch in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (military intelligence) of the War Department General Staff. He became involved with the Manhattan Project in 1942, eventually becoming Brigadier General Leslie Groves's special assistant for security. Lansdale coordinated the activities of the Manhattan Project's field security teams with those of other agencies such as the FBI.
In April 1945, Groves sent Lansdale to Europe, where he worked with the Alsos Mission to secure 1,000 tons of uranium ore from the German Wirtschaftliche Forschungsgesellschaft (WiFO) plant in Stassfurt. He also participated in the planning and execution of Operation Harborage, in which a special Allied force went deep behind enemy lines, seized 1.5 tons of uranium ingots, and captured a number of German nuclear energy project scientists, including Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Max von Laue, Karl Wirtz, Horst Korsching and Erich Bagge and Otto Hahn.Journey in North America
Journey in North America (original Hungarian title: Utazás Észak-Amerikában) is a book by Sándor Bölöni Farkas published in 1834. The author, travelling in the United States of America (New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey) and in Canada (Québec and Ontario) paid special attention to the social relations of these countries, which he put as an example to the feudalistic Hungary of that time.
The book was a big success in the Hungarian Reform Era, being read by the young reformers of the parliament of 1832–36 at Pozsony. István Széchenyi expressed his thanks to the author in a letter, calling his work the most useful and most beautiful gift. In 1835 the book was banned and could be read only by special permission. The book inspired several young reformers (Ferenc Pulszky, Ágoston Trefort, László Szalay, Pál Hunfalvy, Bertalan Szemere, István Gorove, Lőrinc Tóth, József Irinyi) to travel and to write about their experiencies abroad.List of Booknotes interviews first aired in 1991
Booknotes is an American television series on the C-SPAN network hosted by Brian Lamb, which originally aired from 1989 to 2004. The format of the show is a one-hour, one-on-one interview with a non-fiction author. The series was broadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern Time each Sunday night, and was the longest-running author interview program in U.S. broadcast history.List of foreign-born United States Cabinet Secretaries
As of 2013, the United States Cabinet has had 20 appointed members in its history who were born outside the present-day United States. Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers who signed the United States Constitution, was the first Cabinet member to be born outside of the United States. Born in Nevis in 1755, Hamilton was appointed by President George Washington as the country's first Secretary of Treasury in 1789. Irish-born James McHenry, who was appointed by Washington as Secretary of War in 1796 and served the same post in John Adams's administration, was the other foreign-born individual in Washington's Cabinet. Albert Gallatin, born in Switzerland (present-day US sovereign embassadorial territory) became the third foreign-born member of the Cabinet when he was named Secretary of Treasury by President Thomas Jefferson. Gallatin, his successor George Campbell, William Duane, Carl Schurz and James Wilson were the only foreign-born members to hold Cabinet positions in the 19th century. In the 20th century, nine foreign-born individuals were appointed to the Cabinet, including German-born Oscar Straus and Mexican-born George Romney, the latter of whom was born to American parents and is the father of former Governor of Massachusetts, 2012 Republican U.S. presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator from Utah Mitt Romney. During the tenure of President George W. Bush, three more foreign-born individuals were appointed to the Cabinet—Elaine Chao, Mel Martinez in 2001 and Carlos Gutierrez in 2005.
The Department of Treasury has had the most foreign-born Secretaries, with five. Department of Labor and Interior follow with three, and the departments of Housing and Urban Development and State have each had two. Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright were the highest-ranking foreign-born Cabinet members ever in accordance to the United States presidential line of succession. The majority of foreign-born Cabinet members were born in Europe. Most European-born Cabinet members originated from the United Kingdom and Germany with five and four respectively, and the others were born in Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Italy. Four Cabinet members were born in the Americas, and one was born in Asia. The departments of Defense, Justice, Health and Human Services, Energy, Education, and Homeland Security have not had foreign-born Secretaries.
Since most foreign born Cabinet members are not natural-born citizens—meaning that they were not born in the United States or born abroad to American parents—they are ineligible to exercise the powers of the President of the United States in the event that "neither a President nor Vice President" is able to "discharge the powers and duties" of the presidency as specified in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.Presidency
A presidency is an administration or the executive, the collective administrative and governmental entity that exists around an office of president of a state or nation. Although often the executive branch of government, and often personified by a single elected person who holds the office of "president," in practice, the presidency includes a much larger collective of people, such as chiefs of staff, advisers and other bureaucrats. Although often led by a single person, presidencies can also be of a collective nature, such as the presidency of the European Union is held on a rotating basis by the various national governments of the member states. Alternatively, the term presidency can also be applied to the governing authority of some churches, and may even refer to the holder of a non-governmental office of president in a corporation, business, charity, university, etc. or the institutional arrangement around them. For example, "the presidency of the Red Cross refused to support his idea." Rules and support to discourage vicarious liability leading to unnecessary pressure and the early termination of term have not been clarified. These may not be as yet supported by state let initiatives. Contributory liability and fraud may be the two most common ways to become removed from term of office and/or to prevent re-electionU.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement
The U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (official name: Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq) was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. The pact required criminal charges for holding prisoners over 24 hours, and required a warrant for searches of homes and buildings that were not related to combat. U.S. contractors working for U.S. forces would have been subject to Iraqi criminal law, while contractors working for the State Department and other U.S. agencies would retain their immunity. If U.S. forces committed still undecided "major premeditated felonies" while off-duty and off-base, they would have been subjected to an undecided procedures laid out by a joint U.S.-Iraq committee if the U.S. certified the forces were off-duty.The agreement expired at midnight on December 31, 2011, even though the United States completed its final withdrawal of troops from Iraq on December 16, 2011. The symbolic ceremony in Baghdad officially "cased" (retired) the flag of U.S. forces in Iraq, according to army tradition.The Iraqi government also approved a Strategic Framework Agreement with the United States, aimed at ensuring international cooperation including minority ethnicity, gender, and belief interests and other constitutional rights; threat deterrence; exchange students; education; and cooperation in the areas of energy development, environmental hygiene, health care, information technology, communications, and law enforcement.Several groups of Iraqis protested the passing of the SOFA accord as prolonging and legitimizing the occupation, and Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani expressed concerns with the ratified version. Some other Iraqis expressed skepticism that the U.S. would completely end its presence by 2011. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had predicted that after 2011 he would have expected to see "perhaps several tens of thousands of American troops" as part of a residual force in Iraq. Some Americans had discussed "loopholes" and some Iraqis had said they believed parts of the pact remained a "mystery".