U.S. defense and intelligence community played role in drafting articles 19 & 20 to protect U.S. rights
[ Page 363-364 ]
Though national security remains a top U.S. priority, opponents of UNCLOS have overstated the degree to which the treaty would endanger that security. First, major concerns appear to stem from a misreading of articles 19 and 20.81 Additionally, the provisions at issue were negotiated with the input and consent of the U.S. intelligence community (including the National Security Council) and were approved by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense.82 In fact, some of the strongest supporters of the treaty come from the intelligence community and the highest ranks of the U.S. military.83 As for the reliance upon customary international law to ensure permission for navigation by U.S. vessels, some commentators see this as a risky and costly alternative to ratification.84
Opponents of U.S. ratification of UNCLOS have argued that U.S. intelligence operations will be complicated by UNCLOS because it will prevent U.S. submarines from gathering intelligence in territorial waters. However, these operations are already regulated by the existing 1958 convention which the U.S. ratified and expects other nations to abide by. Furthermore, the intelligence community has reviewed the treaty and concluded that it was still in U.S. interests to ratify the treaty.