Balance the Imperatives of Secrecy and Transparency: For the sake of our security, some information must be protected from public disclosure—for instance, to protect our troops, our sources and methods of intelligence-gathering or confidential actions that keep the American people safe. Yet our democracy depends upon transparency, and whenever possible, we are making information available to the American people so that they can make informed judgments and hold their leaders accountable. For instance, when we invoke the State Secrets privilege, we will follow clear procedures so as to provide greater accountability and to ensure the privilege is invoked only when necessary and in the narrowest way possible. We will never invoke the privilege to hide a violation of law or to avoid embarrassment to the government.
Protect Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Oversight: Protecting civil liberties and privacy are integral to the vibrancy of our democracy and the exercise of freedom. We are balancing our solemn commitments to these virtues with the mandate to provide security for the American people. Vigorous oversight of national security activities by our three branches of government and vigilant compliance with the rule of law allow us to maintain this balance, affirm to our friends and allies the constitutional ideals we uphold.
Uphold the Rule of Law: The rule of law—and our capacity to enforce it—advances our national security and strengthens our leadership. At home, fidelity to our laws and support for our law enforcement community safeguards American citizens and interests, while protecting and advancing our values. Around the globe, it allows us to hold actors accountable, while supporting both international security and the stability of the global economy. America’s commitment to the rule of law is fundamental to our efforts to build an international order that is capable of confronting the emerging challenges of the 21st century.
Draw Strength from Diversity: The United States has benefited throughout our history when we have drawn strength from our diversity. While those who advocate on behalf of extremist ideologies seek to sow discord among ethnic and religious groups, America stands as an example of how people from different backgrounds can be united through their commitment to shared values. Within our own communities, those who seek to recruit and radicalize individuals will often try to prey upon isolation and alienation. Our own commitment to extending the promise of America will both draw a contrast with those who try to drive people apart, while countering attempts to enlist individuals in ideological, religious, or ethnic extremism.
Promote Democracy and Human Rights Abroad
The United States supports the expansion of democracy and human rights abroad because governments that respect these values are more just, peaceful, and legitimate. We also do so because their success abroad fosters an environment that supports America’s national interests. Political systems that protect universal rights are ultimately more stable, successful, and secure. As our history shows, the United States can more effectively forge consensus to tackle shared challenges when working with governments that reflect the will and respect the rights of their people, rather than just the narrow interests of those in power. The United States is advancing universal values by: