Gatesbobbrookskraftcorbisfortime_1

"I sat in the Situation Room in secret meetings for nearly twenty years under five Presidents, and all I can say is that some awfully crazy schemes might well have been approved had everyone present not known and expected hard questions, debate, and criticism from the Hill. And when, on a few occasions, Congress was kept in the dark, and such schemes did proceed, it was nearly always to the lasting regret of the Presidents involved. Working with the Congress was never easy for Presidents, but then, under the Constitution, it wasn't supposed to be. I saw too many in the White House forget that," - Bob Gates, from his 1996 memoir, "From the Shadows."

(Photo: Brooks Kraft/Corbis for Time.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.