Obama To Military: Transparency Provides Check On "Unfettered Executive Power"


President Obama delivers his final military speech to members of the military and public Tuesday afternoon in Tampa, Florida.

"Let my final words to you as your Commander-in-Chief be a reminder of what it is that you’re fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for," he said.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: So the actions that we’ve taken have saved lives at home and abroad. But the point is, is that we do have to be careful to make sure that when we take actions, we’re not alienating local populations, because that will serve as recruitment for new terrorists.

Number five, transparency and accountability serve our national security not just in times of peace, but, more importantly, in times of conflict. And that’s why we’ve made public information about which terrorist organizations we’re fighting and why we’re fighting them. We’ve released assessments of non-combatants killed in our operations, taken responsibility when mistakes are made. We’ve declassified information about interrogation methods that were wrong so we learn from past mistakes. And yesterday, I directed our government for the first time to release a full description of the legal and policy frameworks that guide our military operations around the world.

This public information allows for a more informed public debate, and it provides a potential check on unfettered executive power. The power of the presidency is awesome, but it is supposed to be bound by you, our citizens. (Applause.) But here’s the thing: That information doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t work if the people’s representatives in Congress don’t do their jobs, if they’re not paying attention.

Watch the full speech:

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