2012 Candidates for President

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Candidate Views on Homeland Security

Ron Paul

Summary

Congressman Paul opposed the PATRIOT Act and it's re-authorization. He was one of three Republicans to vote against it. He opposes warrant-less wiretaps and the use of torture on prisoners. He has been an outspoken critic on the weakening of habeas corpus rights in the US and has consistently advocated for the repeal of the PATRIOT Act.

In 2001, Congressman Paul spoke against the PATRIOT Act and noted that there was much the US could do within the law to address terrorism. Congressman Paul notes that the PATRIOT Act is not limited to acts of terrorism, but can be applied to many normal crimes within the US. He also states that the provisions centralizing the power to issue writs of habeas corpus to federal courts located in the District of Columbia. He states that habeas corpus is one of the most powerful checks on government and anything which burdens the ability to exercise this right expands the potential for government abuses of liberty.

One item that Congressman Paul has consistently pointed to in addressing the flaws in the PATRIOT Act is the sunsetting of certain provisions. He notes that if these provisions (such as wiretapping) are not violations of civil liberties, then there is no need to sunset them. If they do violate civil liberties, then they should not be enacted as the loss of liberty in war time is never reasserted in peace time. The fact that the "war on terror" will have no definitive end is further cause for concern.

Since the passage of the PATRIOT Act, Congressman Paul has warned of an emerging police state in America. He notes the rise of government power and the use of the war on terror to create a department of Homeland Security - a department he urged strongly not to create. He asserts that most police states are elected by the people with the understanding that they are necessary at the time, but newly enacted provisions will eventually subside. He states that terror and fear are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The changes, they are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary, such as those that occur in times of a declared war. Under these conditions, most citizens believe that once the war is won, the restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. For the most part, however, after a declared war is over, the return to normalcy is never complete. In an undeclared war, without a precise enemy and therefore no precise ending, returning to normalcy can prove illusory. This reasoning is part of Congressman Paul's opposition to the PATRIOT Act and it's reauthorizations.

Congressman Paul also opposed the FISA amendments in 2005 that gave immunity to telecommunications companies that gave the government user's data, and further authorized bulk data collection. Congressman Paul stated that the legislation clearly violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by allowing the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications without a search warrant. He also noted that the measure deprived Americans who have had their rights violated by telecommunication companies involved in the Administration’s illegal wiretapping program the right to seek redress in the courts for the wrongs committed against them.

In November of 2010, Congressman Paul introduced the Traveler's Rights Act to prohibit TSA screening, prevent a TSA from touching a traveler, and prevent the use of scanners. He notes that a person does not cede their rights when they buy a plane ticket. Congressman Paul also notes that the government's job is to protect our rights and not to prevent every possible accident or tragedy.

Congressman Paul opposed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which provided the President with the authority to arrest and detain US citizens who are suspected of being terrorists.

 

Floor Remarks on the PATRIOT Act

During the discussions on the PATRIOT Act, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor and discussed the PATRIOT Act and his views that it could be detrimental to American Security. These remarks were taken from the Thomas system for October 12, 2001 (H6768).

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have reminded us all that the primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect the security and liberty of our nation's citizens. Therefore, we must do what we can to enhance the ability of law enforcement to prevent future terrorist attacks. For example, the federal government can allow enhanced data-sharing among federal agencies that deal with terrorism. The federal government should also forbid residents of countries which sponsor terrorism from receiving student visas as well as prohibit residents of terrorist countries from participating in programs which provide special privileges to immigrants. In fact, I have introduced my own anti-terrorism legislation, the Securing American Families Effectively (SAFE) Act, which strengthens the ability of law enforcement to track down and prosecute suspected terrorists as well as keep potential terrorists out of the country.

There is also much the federal government can do under current existing law to fight terrorism. The combined annual budgets of the FBI, the CIA and various other security programs amount to over $30 billion. Perhaps Congress should consider redirecting some of the money spent by intelligence agencies on matters of lower priority to counterrorism efforts. Since the tragic attacks, our officials have located and arrested hundreds of suspects, frozen millions of dollars of assets, and received authority to launch a military attack against the ring leaders in Afghanistan. It seems the war against terrorism has so far been carried our satisfactorily under current law.

Still, there are areas where our laws could be strengthened with no loss of liberties, and I am pleased that HR 3108 appears to contain many common sense provisions designed to strengthen the government's ability to prevent terrorist attacks while preserving constitutional liberty.

However, other provisions of this bill represent a major infringement of the American people's constitutional rights. I am afraid that if these provisions are signed into law, the American people will lose large parts of their liberty--maybe not today but over time, as agencies grow more comfortable exercising their new powers. My concerns are exacerbated by the fact that HR 3108 lacks many of the protections of civil liberties which the House Judiciary Committee worked to put into the version of the bill they considered. In fact, the process under which we are asked to consider this bill makes it nearly impossible to fulfill our constitutional responsibility to carefully consider measures which dramatically increase government's power.

Many of the most constitutionally offensive measures in this bill are not limited to terrorist offenses, but apply to any criminal activity. In fact, some of the new police powers granted the government could be applied even to those engaging in peaceful protest against government policies. The bill as written defines terrorism as acts intended ``to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.'' Under this broad definition, should a scuffle occur at an otherwise peaceful pro-life demonstration the sponsoring organization may become the target of a federal investigation for terrorism. We have seen abuses of law enforcement authority in the past to harass individuals or organizations with unpopular political views. I hope my colleagues consider that they may be handing a future administration tools to investigate pro-life or gun rights organizations on the grounds that fringe members of their movements advocate violence. It is an unfortunate reality that almost every political movement today, from gun rights to environmentalism, has a violent fringe.

I am very disturbed by the provisions centralizing the power to issue writs of habeas corpus to federal courts located in the District of Columbia. Habeas corpus is one of the most powerful checks on government and anything which burdens the ability to exercise this right expands the potential for government abuses of liberty. I ask my colleagues to remember that in the centuries of experience with habeas corpus there is no evidence that it interferes with legitimate interests of law enforcement. HR 3108 also codifies one of the most common abuses of civil liberties in recent years by expanding the government's ability to seize property from citizens who have not yet been convicted of a crime under the circumvention of the Bill of Rights known as ``asset forfeiture.''

Among other disturbing proposals, H.R. 3108 grants the President the authority to seize all the property of any foreign national that the President determines is involved in hostilities against the United States. Giving the executive branch discretionary authority to seize private property without due process violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the fifth amendment to the Constitution. Furthermore, given that one of the (unspoken) reasons behind the shameful internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry in the 1940s was to reward favored interests with property forcibly taken from innocent landowners, how confident are we that future, less scrupulous executives will refrain from using this power to reward political allies with the property of alleged ``hostile nationals?''

H.R. 3108 waters down the fourth amendment by expanding the federal governments ability to use wiretaps free of judicial oversight. The fourth amendment's requirement of a search warrant and probable cause strikes a balance between effective law enforcement and civil liberties. Any attempt to water down the warrant requirement threatens innocent citizens with a loss of their liberty. This is particularly true of provisions which allow for nationwide issuance of search warrants, as these severely restrict judicial oversight of government wiretaps and searches.

Many of the questionable provisions in this bill, such as the expanded pen register authority and the expanded use of roving wiretaps, are items for which law enforcement has been lobbying for years. The utility of these items in catching terrorists is questionable to say the least. After all, terrorists have demonstrated they are smart enough not to reveal information about their plans when they know federal agents could be listening.

This legislation is also objectionable because it adopts a lower standard than probable cause for receiving e-mails and Internet communications. While it is claimed that this is the same standard used to discover numbers dialed by a phone, it is also true that even the headings on e-mails or the names of web sites one visits can reveal greater amounts of personal information than can a mere telephone number. I wonder how my colleagues would feel if all of their e-mail headings and the names of the web sites they visited were available to law enforcement upon a showing of mere ``relevance.'' I also doubt the relevance of this provision to terrorist investigation, as it seems unlikely that terrorists would rely on e-mail or the Internet to communicate among themselves.

Some defenders of individuals rights may point to the provisions establishing new penalties for violations of individual rights and the provisions ``sunsetting'' some of the government's new powers as justifying support for this bill. Those who feel that simply increasing the penalties for ``unauthorized'' disclosure of information collected under this act should consider that existing laws did not stop the ineffectiveness of such laws in preventing the abuse of personal information collected by the IRS or FBI by administrations of both parties. As for ``sunsetting,'' I would ask if these provisions are critical tools in the fight against terrorism, why remove the government's ability to use them after five years? Conversely, if these provisions violate American's constitutional rights why is it acceptable to suspend the Constitution at all?

As Jeffery Rosen pointed out in the New Republic, this proposal makes even the most innocuous form of computer hacking a federal offense but does not even grant special emergency powers to perform searches in cases where police have reason to believe that a terrorist attack would be imminent. Thus, if this bill were law on April 24, 1995 and the FBI had information that someone in a yellow Ryder Truck was going to be involved in a terrorist attack, the government could not conduct an emergency search of all yellow Ryder Trucks in Oklahoma City. This failure to address so obvious a need in the anti-terrorism effort suggests this bill is a more hastily cobbled together wish list by the federal bureauracy than a serious attempt to grant law enforcement the actual tools needed to combat terrorism.

H.R. 3108 may actually reduce security as private cities may not take necessary measures to protect their safety because ``the government is taking care of our security.'' In a free market, private owners have great incentives to protect their private property and the lives of their customers. That is why industrial plants in the United States enjoy reasonably good security. They are protected not by the local police but by owners putting up barbed wire fences, hiring guards with guns, and requiring identification cards to enter. All this, without any violation of anyone's civil liberties. In a free society private owners have a right, if not an obligation, to ``profile'' if it enhances security.

The reason this provision did not work in the case of the airlines is because the airlines followed federal regulations and assumed they were sufficient. This is often the case when the government assumes new powers or imposes new regulations. Therefore, in the future, once the horror of the events of September 11 fade from memory, people will relax their guard, figuring that the federal government is using its new powers to protect them and thus they do not need to invest their own time or money in security measures.

In conclusion, I reiterate my commitment to effective ways of enhancing the government's powers to combat terrorism. However, H.R. 3108 sacrifices too many of our constitutional liberties and will not even effectively address the terrorist menace. I, therefore, urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and instead support reasonable common-sense measures that are aimed at terrorism such as those contained in my SAFE Act.

  

The Police State

In June of 2002, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about the emerging police state in America. The speech is very long, and we have not been able to find video to accompany it.

Is America a Police State?
Congressman Ron Paul U.S. House of Representatives June 27, 2002

Mr. Speaker:

Most Americans believe we live in dangerous times, and I must agree. Today I want to talk about how I see those dangers and what Congress ought to do about them.

Of course, the Monday-morning quarterbacks are now explaining, with political overtones, what we should have done to prevent the 9/11 tragedy. Unfortunately, in doing so, foreign policy changes are never considered.

I have, for more than two decades, been severely critical of our post-World War II foreign policy. I have perceived it to be not in our best interest and have believed that it presented a serious danger to our security.

For the record, in January of 2000 I stated the following on this floor:

Our commercial interests and foreign policy are no longer separate...as bad as it is that average Americans are forced to subsidize such a system, we additionally are placed in greater danger because of our arrogant policy of bombing nations that do not submit to our wishes. This generates hatred directed toward America ...and exposes us to a greater threat of terrorism, since this is the only vehicle our victims can use to retaliate against a powerful military state...the cost in terms of lost liberties and unnecessary exposure to terrorism is difficult to assess, but in time, it will become apparent to all of us that foreign interventionism is of no benefit to American citizens, but instead is a threat to our liberties.

Again, let me remind you I made these statements on the House floor in January 2000. Unfortunately, my greatest fears and warnings have been borne out.

I believe my concerns are as relevant today as they were then. We should move with caution in this post-9/11 period so we do not make our problems worse overseas while further undermining our liberties at home.

So far our post-9/11 policies have challenged the rule of law here at home, and our efforts against the al Qaeda have essentially come up empty-handed. The best we can tell now, instead of being in one place, the members of the al Qaeda are scattered around the world, with more of them in allied Pakistan than in Afghanistan. Our efforts to find our enemies have put the CIA in 80 different countries. The question that we must answer some day is whether we can catch enemies faster than we make new ones. So far it appears we are losing.

As evidence mounts that we have achieved little in reducing the terrorist threat, more diversionary tactics will be used. The big one will be to blame Saddam Hussein for everything and initiate a major war against Iraq, which will only generate even more hatred toward America from the Muslim world.

But, Mr. Speaker, my subject today is whether America is a police state. I'm sure the large majority of Americans would answer this in the negative. Most would associate military patrols, martial law and summary executions with a police state, something obviously not present in our everyday activities. However, those with knowledge of Ruby Ridge, Mount Carmel and other such incidents may have a different opinion.

The principal tool for sustaining a police state, even the most militant, is always economic control and punishment by denying disobedient citizens such things as jobs or places to live, and by levying fines and imprisonment. The military is more often used in the transition phase to a totalitarian state. Maintenance for long periods is usually accomplished through economic controls on commercial transactions, the use of all property, and political dissent. Peaceful control through these efforts can be achieved without storm troopers on our street corners.

Terror and fear are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The changes, they are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary, such as those that occur in times of a declared war. Under these conditions, most citizens believe that once the war is won, the restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. For the most part, however, after a declared war is over, the return to normalcy is never complete. In an undeclared war, without a precise enemy and therefore no precise ending, returning to normalcy can prove illusory.

We have just concluded a century of wars, declared and undeclared, while at the same time responding to public outcries for more economic equity. The question, as a result of these policies, is: "Are we already living in a police state?" If we are, what are we going to do about it? If we are not, we need to know if there's any danger that we're moving in that direction.

Most police states, surprisingly, come about through the democratic process with majority support. During a crisis, the rights of individuals and the minority are more easily trampled, which is more likely to condition a nation to become a police state than a military coup. Promised benefits initially seem to exceed the cost in dollars or lost freedom. When people face terrorism or great fear- from whatever source- the tendency to demand economic and physical security over liberty and self-reliance proves irresistible. The masses are easily led to believe that security and liberty are mutually exclusive, and demand for security far exceeds that for liberty.

Once it's discovered that the desire for both economic and physical security that prompted the sacrifice of liberty inevitably led to the loss of prosperity and no real safety, it's too late. Reversing the trend from authoritarian rule toward a freer society becomes very difficult, takes a long time, and entails much suffering. Although dissolution of the Soviet empire was relatively non-violent at the end, millions suffered from police suppression and economic deprivation in the decades prior to 1989.

But what about here in the United States? With respect to a police state, where are we and where are we going?

Let me make a few observations:

Our government already keeps close tabs on just about everything we do and requires official permission for nearly all of our activities.

One might take a look at our Capitol for any evidence of a police state. We see: barricades, metal detectors, police, military soldiers at times, dogs, ID badges required for every move, vehicles checked at airports and throughout the Capitol. The people are totally disarmed, except for the police and the criminals. But worse yet, surveillance cameras in Washington are everywhere to ensure our safety.

The terrorist attacks only provided the cover for the do-gooders who have been planning for a long time before last September to monitor us "for our own good." Cameras are used to spy on our drug habits, on our kids at school, on subway travelers, and on visitors to every government building or park. There's not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain- anything goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.

If this huge amount of information and technology is placed in the hands of the government to catch the bad guys, one naturally asks, What's the big deal? But it should be a big deal, because it eliminates the enjoyment of privacy that a free society holds dear. The personal information of law-abiding citizens can be used for reasons other than safety- including political reasons. Like gun control, people control hurts law-abiding citizens much more than the law-breakers.

Social Security numbers are used to monitor our daily activities. The numbers are given at birth, and then are needed when we die and for everything in between. This allows government record keeping of monstrous proportions, and accommodates the thugs who would steal others' identities for criminal purposes. This invasion of privacy has been compounded by the technology now available to those in government who enjoy monitoring and directing the activities of others. Loss of personal privacy was a major problem long before 9/11.

Centralized control and regulations are required in a police state. Community and individual state regulations are not as threatening as the monolith of rules and regulations written by Congress and the federal bureaucracy. Law and order has been federalized in many ways and we are moving inexorably in that direction.

Almost all of our economic activities depend upon receiving the proper permits from the federal government. Transactions involving guns, food, medicine, smoking, drinking, hiring, firing, wages, politically correct speech, land use, fishing, hunting, buying a house, business mergers and acquisitions, selling stocks and bonds, and farming all require approval and strict regulation from our federal government. If this is not done properly and in a timely fashion, economic penalties and even imprisonment are likely consequences.

Because government pays for much of our health care, it's conveniently argued that any habits or risk-taking that could harm one's health are the prerogative of the federal government, and are to be regulated by explicit rules to keep medical-care costs down. This same argument is used to require helmets for riding motorcycles and bikes.

Not only do we need a license to drive, but we also need special belts, bags, buzzers, seats and environmentally dictated speed limits- or a policemen will be pulling us over to levy a fine, and he will be toting a gun for sure.

The states do exactly as they're told by the federal government, because they are threatened with the loss of tax dollars being returned to their state- dollars that should have never been sent to DC in the first place, let alone used to extort obedience to a powerful federal government.

Over 80,000 federal bureaucrats now carry guns to make us toe the line and to enforce the thousands of laws and tens of thousands of regulations that no one can possibly understand. We don't see the guns, but we all know they're there, and we all know we can't fight "City Hall," especially if it's "Uncle Sam."

All 18-year-old males must register to be ready for the next undeclared war. If they don't, men with guns will appear and enforce this congressional mandate. "Involuntary servitude" was banned by the 13th Amendment, but courts don't apply this prohibition to the servitude of draftees or those citizens required to follow the dictates of the IRS- especially the employers of the country, who serve as the federal government's chief tax collectors and information gatherers. Fear is the tool used to intimidate most Americans to comply to the tax code by making examples of celebrities. Leona Helmsley and Willie Nelson know how this process works.

Economic threats against business establishments are notorious. Rules and regulations from the EPA, the ADA, the SEC, the LRB, OSHA, etc. terrorize business owners into submission, and those charged accept their own guilt until they can prove themselves innocent. Of course, it turns out it's much more practical to admit guilt and pay the fine. This serves the interest of the authoritarians because it firmly establishes just who is in charge.

Information leaked from a government agency like the FDA can make or break a company within minutes. If information is leaked, even inadvertently, a company can be destroyed, and individuals involved in revealing government-monopolized information can be sent to prison. Even though economic crimes are serious offenses in the United States, violent crimes sometimes evoke more sympathy and fewer penalties. Just look at the O.J. Simpson case as an example.

Efforts to convict Bill Gates and others like him of an economic crime are astounding, considering his contribution to economic progress, while sources used to screen out terrorist elements from our midst are tragically useless. If business people are found guilty of even the suggestion of collusion in the marketplace, huge fines and even imprisonment are likely consequences.

Price fixing is impossible to achieve in a free market. Under today's laws, talking to, or consulting with, competitors can be easily construed as "price fixing" and involve a serious crime, even with proof that the so-called collusion never generated monopoly-controlled prices or was detrimental to consumers.

Lawfully circumventing taxes, even sales taxes, can lead to serious problems if a high-profile person can be made an example.

One of the most onerous controls placed on American citizens is the control of speech through politically correct legislation. Derogatory remarks or off-color jokes are justification for firings, demotions, and the destruction of political careers. The movement toward designating penalties based on the category to which victims belong, rather the nature of the crime itself, has the thought police patrolling the airways and byways. Establishing relative rights and special penalties for subjective motivation is a dangerous trend.

All our financial activities are subject to "legal" searches without warrants and without probable cause. Tax collection, drug usage, and possible terrorist activities "justify" the endless accumulation of information on all Americans.

Government control of medicine has prompted the establishment of the National Medical Data Bank. For efficiency reasons, it is said, the government keeps our medical records for our benefit. This, of course, is done with vague and useless promises that this information will always remain confidential- just like all the FBI information in the past!

Personal privacy, the sine qua non of liberty, no longer exists in the United States. Ruthless and abusive use of all this information accumulated by the government is yet to come. The Patriot Act has given unbelievable power to listen, read, and monitor all our transactions without a search warrant being issued after affirmation of probably cause. "Sneak and peak" and blanket searches are now becoming more frequent every day. What have we allowed to happen to the 4th amendment?

It may be true that the average American does not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. I'm sure our citizens are more tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing all this government supervision is necessary and helpful- and besides they are living quite comfortably, material wise. However the reaction will be different once all this new legislation we're passing comes into full force, and the material comforts that soften our concerns for government regulations are decreased. This attitude then will change dramatically, but the trend toward the authoritarian state will be difficult to reverse.

What government gives with one hand- as it attempts to provide safety and security- it must, at the same time, take away with two others. When the majority recognizes that the monetary cost and the results of our war against terrorism and personal freedoms are a lot less than promised, it may be too late.

I'm sure all my concerns are unconvincing to the vast majority of Americans, who not only are seeking but also are demanding they be made safe from any possible attack from anybody, ever. I grant you this is a reasonable request.

The point is, however, there may be a much better way of doing it. We must remember, we don't sit around and worry that some Canadian citizen is about to walk into New York City and set off a nuclear weapon. We must come to understand the real reason is that there's a difference between the Canadians and all our many friends and the Islamic radicals. And believe me, we're not the target because we're "free and prosperous".

The argument made for more government controls here at home and expansionism overseas to combat terrorism is simple and goes like this: "If we're not made safe from potential terrorists, property and freedom have no meaning." It is argued that first we must have life and physical and economic security, with continued abundance, then we'll talk about freedom.

It reminds me of the time I was soliciting political support from a voter and was boldly put down: "Ron," she said, "I wish you would lay off this freedom stuff; it's all nonsense. We're looking for a Representative who will know how to bring home the bacon and help our area, and you're not that person." Believe me, I understand that argument; it's just that I don't agree that is what should be motivating us here in the Congress.

That's not the way it works. Freedom does not preclude security. Making security the highest priority can deny prosperity and still fail to provide the safety we all want.

The Congress would never agree that we are a police state. Most members, I'm sure, would argue otherwise. But we are all obligated to decide in which direction we are going. If we're moving toward a system that enhances individual liberty and justice for all, my concerns about a police state should be reduced or totally ignored. Yet, if, by chance, we're moving toward more authoritarian control than is good for us, and moving toward a major war of which we should have no part, we should not ignore the dangers. If current policies are permitting a serious challenge to our institutions that allow for our great abundance, we ignore them at great risk for future generations.

That's why the post-9/11 analysis and subsequent legislation are crucial to the survival of those institutions that made America great. We now are considering a major legislative proposal dealing with this dilemma- the new Department of Homeland Security- and we must decide if it truly serves the interests of America.

Since the new department is now a forgone conclusion, why should anyone bother to record a dissent? Because it's the responsibility of all of us to speak the truth to our best ability, and if there are reservations about what we're doing, we should sound an alarm and warn the people of what is to come.

In times of crisis, nearly unanimous support for government programs is usual and the effects are instantaneous. Discovering the error of our ways and waiting to see the unintended consequences evolve takes time and careful analysis. Reversing the bad effects is slow and tedious and fraught with danger. People would much prefer to hear platitudes than the pessimism of a flawed policy.

Understanding the real reason why we were attacked is crucial to crafting a proper response. I know of no one who does not condemn the attacks of 9/11. Disagreement as to the cause and the proper course of action should be legitimate in a free society such as ours. If not, we're not a free society.

Not only do I condemn the vicious acts of 9/11, but also, out of deep philosophic and moral commitment, I have pledged never to use any form of aggression to bring about social or economic changes.

But I am deeply concerned about what has been done and what we are yet to do in the name of security against the threat of terrorism.

Political propagandizing is used to get all of us to toe the line and be good "patriots," supporting every measure suggested by the administration. We are told that preemptive strikes, torture, military tribunals, suspension of habeas corpus, executive orders to wage war, and sacrificing privacy with a weakened 4th Amendment are the minimum required to save our country from the threat of terrorism.

Who's winning this war anyway?

To get popular support for these serious violations of our traditional rule of law requires that people be kept in a state of fear. The episode of spreading undue concern about the possibility of a dirty bomb being exploded in Washington without any substantiation of an actual threat is a good example of excessive fear being generated by government officials.

To add insult to injury, when he made this outlandish announcement, our Attorney General was in Moscow. Maybe if our FBI spent more time at home, we would get more for the money we pump into this now- discredited organization. Our FBI should be gathering information here at home, and the thousands of agents overseas should return. We don't need these agents competing overseas and confusing the intelligence apparatus of the CIA or the military.

I'm concerned that the excess fear, created by the several hundred al Qaeda functionaries willing to sacrifice their lives for their demented goals, is driving us to do to ourselves what the al Qaeda themselves could never do to us by force.

So far the direction is clear: we are legislating bigger and more intrusive government here at home and are allowing our President to pursue much more military adventurism abroad. These pursuits are overwhelmingly supported by Members of Congress, the media, and the so-called intellectual community, and questioned only by a small number of civil libertarians and anti-imperial, anti-war advocates.

The main reason why so many usually levelheaded critics of bad policy accept this massive increase in government power is clear. They, for various reasons, believe the official explanation of "Why us?" The several hundred al Qaeda members, we were told, hate us because: "We're rich, we're free, we enjoy materialism, and the purveyors of terror are jealous and envious, creating the hatred that drives their cause. They despise our Christian-Judaic values and this, is the sole reason why they are willing to die for their cause." For this to be believed, one must also be convinced that the perpetrators lied to the world about why they attacked us.

The al Qaeda leaders say they hate us because:

-We support Western puppet regimes in Arab countries for commercial reasons and against the wishes of the populace of these countries.

-This partnership allows a military occupation, the most confrontational being in Saudi Arabia, that offends their sense of pride and violates their religious convictions by having a foreign military power on their holy land. We refuse to consider how we might feel if China's navy occupied the Gulf of Mexico for the purpose of protecting "their oil" and had air bases on U.S. territory.

-We show extreme bias in support of one side in the fifty-plus-year war going on in the Middle East.

What if the al Qaeda is telling the truth and we ignore it? If we believe only the official line from the administration and proceed to change our whole system and undermine our constitutional rights, we may one day wake up to find that the attacks have increased, the numbers of those willing to commit suicide for their cause have grown, our freedoms are diminished, and all this has contributed to making our economic problems worse. The dollar cost of this "war" could turn out to be exorbitant, and the efficiency of our markets can be undermined by the compromises placed on our liberties.

Sometimes it almost seems that our policies inadvertently are actually based on a desire to make ourselves "less free and less prosperous"- those conditions that are supposed to have prompted the attacks. I'm convinced we must pay more attention to the real cause of the attacks of last year and challenge the explanations given us.

The question that one day must be answered is this:

What if we had never placed our troops in Saudi Arabia and had involved ourselves in the Middle East war in an even-handed fashion. Would it have been worth it if this would have prevented the events of 9/11?

If we avoid the truth, we will be far less well off than if we recognize that just maybe there is some truth in the statements made by the leaders of those who perpetrated the atrocities. If they speak the truth about the real cause, changing our foreign policy from foreign military interventionism around the globe supporting an American empire would make a lot of sense. It could reduce tensions, save money, preserve liberty and preserve our economic system.

This, for me, is not a reactive position coming out of 9/11, but rather is an argument I've made for decades, claiming that meddling in the affairs of others is dangerous to our security and actually reduces our ability to defend ourselves.

This in no way precludes pursuing those directly responsible for the attacks and dealing with them accordingly- something that we seem to have not yet done. We hear more talk of starting a war in Iraq than in achieving victory against the international outlaws that instigated the attacks on 9/11. Rather than pursuing war against countries that were not directly responsible for the attacks, we should consider the judicious use of Marque and Reprisal.

I'm sure that a more enlightened approach to our foreign policy will prove elusive. Financial interests of our international corporations, oil companies, and banks, along with the military-industrial complex, are sure to remain a deciding influence on our policies.

Besides, even if my assessments prove to be true, any shift away from foreign militarism- like bringing our troops home- would now be construed as yielding to the terrorists. It just won't happen. This is a powerful point and the concern that we might appear to be capitulating is legitimate.

Yet how long should we deny the truth, especially if this denial only makes us more vulnerable? Shouldn't we demand the courage and wisdom of our leaders to do the right thing, in spite of the political shortcomings?

President Kennedy faced an even greater threat in October 1962, and from a much more powerful force. The Soviet/Cuban terrorist threat with nuclear missiles only 90 miles off our shores was wisely defused by Kennedy's capitulating and removing missiles from Turkey on the Soviet border. Kennedy deserved the praise he received for the way he handled the nuclear standoff with the Soviets. This concession most likely prevented a nuclear exchange and proved that taking a step back from a failed policy is beneficial, yet how one does so is crucial. The answer is to do it diplomatically- that's what diplomats are supposed to do.

Maybe there is no real desire to remove the excuse for our worldwide imperialism, especially our current new expansion into central Asia or the domestic violations of our civil liberties. Today's conditions may well be exactly what our world commercial interests want. It's now easy for us to go into the Philippines, Columbia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or wherever in pursuit of terrorists. No questions are asked by the media or the politicians- only cheers. Put in these terms, who can object? We all despise the tactics of the terrorists, so the nature of the response is not to be questioned!

A growing number of Americans are concluding that the threat we now face comes more as a consequence of our foreign policy than because the bad guys envy our freedoms and prosperity. How many terrorist attacks have been directed toward Switzerland, Australia, Canada, or Sweden? They too are rich and free, and would be easy targets, but the Islamic fundamentalists see no purpose in doing so.

There's no purpose in targeting us unless there's a political agenda, which there surely is. To deny that this political agenda exists jeopardizes the security of this country. Pretending something to be true that is not is dangerous.

It's a definite benefit for so many to recognize that our $40 billion annual investment in intelligence gathering prior to 9/11 was a failure. Now a sincere desire exists to rectify these mistakes. That's good, unless, instead of changing the role for the CIA and the FBI, all the past mistakes are made worse by spending more money and enlarging the bureaucracies to do the very same thing without improving their efficiency or changing their goals. Unfortunately that is what is likely to happen.

One of the major shortcomings that led to the 9/11 tragedies was that the responsibility for protecting commercial airlines was left to the government, the FAA, the FBI, the CIA, and the INS. And they failed. A greater sense of responsibility for the owners to provide security is what was needed. Guns in the cockpit would have most likely prevented most of the deaths that occurred on that fateful day.

But what does our government do? It firmly denies airline pilots the right to defend their planes, and we federalize the security screeners and rely on F16s to shoot down airliners if they are hijacked.

Security screeners, many barely able to speak English, spend endless hours harassing pilots, confiscating dangerous mustache scissors, mauling grandmothers and children, and pestering Al Gore, while doing nothing about the influx of aliens from Middle-Eastern countries who are on designated watch lists.

We pump up the military in India and Pakistan, ignore all the warnings about Saudi Arabia, and plan a secret war against Iraq to make sure no one starts asking where Osama bin Laden is. We think we know where Saddam Hussein lives, so let's go get him instead.

Since our government bureaucracy failed, why not get rid of it instead of adding to it? If we had proper respect and understood how private property owners effectively defend themselves, we could apply those rules to the airlines and achieve something worthwhile.

If our immigration policies have failed us, when will we defy the politically correct fanatics and curtail the immigration of those individuals on the highly suspect lists? Instead of these changes, all we hear is that the major solution will come by establishing a huge new federal department- the Department of Homeland Security.

According to all the pundits, we are expected to champion this big-government approach, and if we don't jolly well like it, we will be tagged "unpatriotic." The fear that permeates our country cries out for something to be done in response to almost daily warnings of the next attack. If it's not a real attack, then it's a theoretical one; one where the bomb could well be only in the mind of a potential terrorist.

Where is all this leading us? Are we moving toward a safer and more secure society? I think not. All the discussions of these proposed plans since 9/11 have been designed to condition the American people to accept major changes in our political system. Some of the changes being made are unnecessary, and others are outright dangerous to our way of life.

There is no need for us to be forced to choose between security and freedom. Giving up freedom does not provide greater security. Preserving and better understanding freedom can. Sadly today, many are anxious to give up freedom in response to real and generated fears..

The plans for a first strike supposedly against a potential foreign government should alarm all Americans. If we do not resist this power the President is assuming, our President, through executive order, can start a war anyplace, anytime, against anyone he chooses, for any reason, without congressional approval. This is a tragic usurpation of the war power by the executive branch from the legislative branch, with Congress being all too accommodating.

Removing the power of the executive branch to wage war, as was done through our revolution and the writing of the Constitution, is now being casually sacrificed on the altar of security. In a free society, and certainly in the constitutional republic we have been given, it should never be assumed that the President alone can take it upon himself to wage war whenever he pleases.

The publicly announced plan to murder Saddam Hussein in the name of our national security draws nary a whimper from Congress. Support is overwhelming, without a thought as to its legality, morality, constitutionality, or its practicality. Murdering Saddam Hussein will surely generate many more fanatics ready to commit their lives to suicide terrorist attacks against us.

Our CIA attempt to assassinate Castro backfired with the subsequent assassination of our president. Killing Saddam Hussein, just for the sake of killing him, obviously will increase the threat against us, not diminish it. It makes no sense. But our warriors argue that someday he may build a bomb, someday he might use it, maybe against us or some yet-unknown target. This policy further radicalizes the Islamic fundamentalists against us, because from their viewpoint, our policy is driven by Israeli, not U.S. security interests.

Planned assassination, a preemptive strike policy without proof of any threat, and a vague definition of terrorism may work for us as long as we're king of the hill, but one must assume every other nation will naturally use our definition of policy as justification for dealing with their neighbors. India can justify a first strike against Pakistan, China against India or Taiwan, as well as many other such examples. This new policy, if carried through, will make the world much less safe.

This new doctrine is based on proving a negative, which is impossible to do, especially when we're dealing with a subjective interpretation of plans buried in someone's head. To those who suggest a more restrained approach on Iraq and killing Saddam Hussein, the war hawks retort, saying: "Prove to me that Saddam Hussein might not do something someday directly harmful to the United States." Since no one can prove this, the warmongers shout: "Let's march on Baghdad."

We all can agree that aggression should be met with force and that providing national security is an ominous responsibility that falls on Congress' shoulders. But avoiding useless and unjustifiable wars that threaten our whole system of government and security seems to be the more prudent thing to do.

Since September 11th, Congress has responded with a massive barrage of legislation not seen since Roosevelt took over in 1933. Where Roosevelt dealt with trying to provide economic security, today's legislation deals with personal security from any and all imaginable threats, at any cost- dollar or freedom-wise. These efforts include:

-The Patriot Act, which undermines the 4th Amendment with the establishment of an overly broad and dangerous definition of terrorism.

- The Financial Anti-Terrorism Act, which expands the government's surveillance of the financial transactions of all American citizens through increased power to FinCen and puts back on track the plans to impose "Know Your Customer" rules on all Americans, which had been sought after for years.

-The airline bailout bill gave $15 billion, rushed through shortly after 9/11.

- The federalization of all airline security employees.

-Military tribunals set up by executive order-undermining the rights of those accused- rights established as far back in history as 1215.

- Unlimited retention of suspects without charges being made, even when a crime has not been committed- a serious precedent that one day may well be abused.

- Relaxation of FBI surveillance guidelines of all political activity.

- Essentially monopolizing vaccines and treatment for infectious diseases, permitting massive quarantines and mandates for vaccinations.

Almost all significant legislation since 9/11 has been rushed through in a tone of urgency with reference to the tragedy, including the $190 billion farm bill as well as fast track.

Guarantees to all insurance companies now are moving quickly through the Congress. Increasing the billions already flowing into foreign aid is now being planned as our interventions overseas continue to grow and expand.

There's no reason to believe that the massive increase in spending, both domestic and foreign, along with the massive expansion of the size of the federal government, will slow any time soon. The deficit is exploding as the economy weakens. When the government sector drains the resources needed for capital expansion, it contributes to the loss of confidence needed for growth.

Even without evidence that any good has come from this massive expansion of government power, Congress is in the process of establishing a huge new bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, hoping miraculously through centralization to make all these efforts productive and worthwhile.

There is no evidence, however, that government bureaucracy and huge funding can solve our nation's problems. The likelihood is that the unintended consequences of this new proposal will diminish our freedoms and do nothing to enhance our security.

Opposing currently proposed and recently passed legislation does not mean one is complacent about terrorism or homeland security. The truth is that there are alternative solutions to these problems we face, without resorting to expanding the size and scope of government at the expense of liberty.

As tempting as it may seem, a government is incapable of preventing crimes. On occasion, with luck it might succeed. But the failure to tip us off about 9/11, after spending $40 billion annually on intelligence gathering, should have surprised no one. Governments, by nature, are very inefficient institutions. We must accept this as fact.

I'm sure that our intelligence agencies had the information available to head off 9/11, but bureaucratic blundering and turf wars prevented the information from being useful. But, the basic principle is wrong. City policeman can't and should not be expected to try to preempt crimes. That would invite massive intrusions into the everyday activities of every law-abiding citizen.

But that's exactly what our recent legislation is doing. It's a wrong-headed goal, no matter how wonderful it may sound. The policemen in the inner cities patrol their beats, but crime is still rampant. In the rural areas of America, literally millions of our citizens are safe and secure in their homes, though miles from any police protection. They are safe because even the advantage of isolation doesn't entice the burglar to rob a house when he knows a shotgun sits inside the door waiting to be used. But this is a right denied many of our citizens living in the inner cities.

The whole idea of government preventing crime is dangerous. To prevent crimes in our homes or businesses, government would need cameras to spy on our every move; to check for illegal drug use, wife beating, child abuse, or tax evasion. They would need cameras, not only on our streets and in our homes, but our phones, internet, and travels would need to be constantly monitored- just to make sure we are not a terrorist, drug dealer, or tax evader.

This is the assumption now used at our airports, rather than allowing privately owned airlines to profile their passengers to assure the safety for which the airline owners ought to assume responsibility. But, of course, this would mean guns in the cockpit. I am certain that this approach to safety and security would be far superior to the rules that existed prior to 9/11 and now have been made much worse in the past nine months.

This method of providing security emphasizes private-property ownership and responsibility of the owners to protect that property. But the right to bear arms must also be included. The fact that the administration is opposed to guns in the cockpit and the fact that the airline owners are more interested in bailouts and insurance protection mean that we're just digging a bigger hole for ourselves- ignoring liberty and expecting the government to provide something it's not capable of doing.

Because of this, in combination with a foreign policy that generates more hatred toward us and multiplies the number of terrorists that seek vengeance, I am deeply concerned that Washington's efforts so far sadly have only made us more vulnerable. I'm convinced that the newly proposed Department of Homeland Security will do nothing to make us more secure, but it will make us all a lot poorer and less free. If the trend continues, the Department of Homeland Security may well be the vehicle used for a much more ruthless control of the people by some future administration than any of us dreams. Let's pray that this concern will never materialize.

America is not now a ruthless authoritarian police state. But our concerns ought to be whether we have laid the foundation of a more docile police state. The love of liberty has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacies today that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. Tolerance of inconvenience to our liberties is not uncommon when both personal and economic fear persists. The sacrifices being made to our liberties will surely usher in a system of government that will please only those who enjoy being in charge of running other people's lives.

Mr. Speaker, what, then, is the answer to the question: "Is America a Police State?" My answer is: "Maybe not yet, but it is fast approaching." The seeds have been sown and many of our basic protections against tyranny have been and are constantly being undermined. The post-9/11 atmosphere here in Congress has provided ample excuse to concentrate on safety at the expense of liberty, failing to recognize that we cannot have one without the other.

When the government keeps detailed records on every move we make and we either need advance permission for everything we do or are penalized for not knowing what the rules are, America will be declared a police state. Personal privacy for law-abiding citizens will be a thing of the past. Enforcement of laws against economic and political crimes will exceed that of violent crimes (just look at what's coming under the new FEC law). War will be the prerogative of the administration. Civil liberties will be suspended for suspects, and their prosecution will not be carried out by an independent judiciary. In a police state, this becomes common practice rather than a rare incident.

Some argue that we already live in a police state, and Congress doesn't have the foggiest notion of what they're dealing with. So forget it and use your energy for your own survival. Some advise that the momentum towards the monolithic state cannot be reversed. Possibly that's true, but I'm optimistic that if we do the right thing and do not capitulate to popular fancy and the incessant war propaganda, the onslaught of statism can be reversed.

To do so, we as a people will once again have to dedicate ourselves to establishing the proper role a government plays in a free society. That does not involve the redistribution of wealth through force. It does not mean that government dictates the moral and religious standards of the people. It does not allow us to police the world by involving ourselves in every conflict as if it's our responsibility to manage a world American empire.

But it does mean government has a proper role in guaranteeing free markets, protecting voluntary and religious choices and guaranteeing private property ownership, while punishing those who violate these rules- whether foreign or domestic.

In a free society, the government's job is simply to protect liberty- the people do the rest. Let's not give up on a grand experiment that has provided so much for so many. Let's reject the police state.

 

Opposition to the Creation of the Department of Homeland Security

In July of 2002, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about his opposition to the creation of a department of homeland security (H5094).

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Homeland Security, who needs it? Mr. Speaker, everyone agrees the 9-11 tragedy confirmed a problem that exists in our domestic security and dramatized our vulnerability to outside attacks. Most agree that the existing bureaucracy was inept. The CIA, the FBI, the INS, and Customs failed to protect us.

It was not a lack of information that caused this failure; they had plenty. But they filed to analyze, communicate, and use the information to our advantage.

The flawed foreign policy of interventionism that we have followed for decades significantly contributed to the attacks. Warnings had been sounded by the more astute that our meddling in the affairs of others would come to no good. This resulted in our inability to defend our own cities, while spending hundreds of billions of dollars providing more defense for others than for ourselves. In the aftermath, we were even forced to ask other countries to patrol our airways to provide security for us.

A clear understanding of private property and an owner's responsibility to protect it has been seriously undermined. This was especially true for the airline industry. The benefit of gun ownership and second amendment protections were prohibited. The government was given the responsibility for airline safety through FAA rules and regulations, and it failed miserably.

The solution now being proposed is a giant new Federal department, and it is the only solution we are being offered, and one which I am certain will lead to tens of billions of dollars of new spending.

What is being done about the lack of emphasis on private property ownership? The security services are federalized. The airlines are bailed out and given guaranteed insurance against all threats. We have made the airline industry a public utility that gets to keep its profits and pass on its losses to the taxpayers, like Amtrak and the post office. Instead of more ownership responsibility, we get more government controls.

Is the first amendment revitalized, and are owners permitted to defend their property, their passengers, and personnel? No, no hint of it, unless you are El Al airlines, which enjoys this right, while no others do.

Has anything been done to limit immigration from countries placed on the terrorist list? Hardly. Have we done anything to slow up immigration of individuals with Saudi passports? No, oil is too important to offend the Saudis.

Yet, we have done plenty to undermine the liberties and privacy of all Americans through legislation such as the PATRIOT Act. A program is being planned to use millions of Americans to spy on their neighbors, an idea appropriate for a totalitarian society. Regardless of any assurances, we all know that the national ID card will soon be instituted.

Who believes for a moment that the military will not be used to enforce civil law in the near future? Posse comitatus will be repealed by executive order or by law, and liberty, the Constitution, and the Republic will suffer another major setback.

Unfortunately, foreign policy will not change, and those who suggest that it be strictly designed for American security will be shouted down for their lack of patriotism. Instead, war fever will build until the warmongers get their wish and we march on Baghdad, making us even a greater target of those who despise us for our bellicose control of the world.

A new department is hardly what we need. That is more of the same, and will surely not solve our problems. It will, however, further undermine our liberties and hasten the day of our national bankruptcy.

A common sense improvement to homeland security would allow the DOD to provide protection, not a huge, new, militarized domestic department. We need to bring our troops home, including our Coast Guard; close down the base in Saudi Arabia; stop expanding our presence in the Muslim portion of the former Soviet Union; and stop taking sides in the long, ongoing war in the Middle East.

If we did these few things, we would provide a lot more security and protect our liberties a lot better than any new department ever will, and it will cost a lot less.

On July 26, 2002, Congressman Paul again spoke on the House floor about his opposition to the reorganization of various departments into the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, the move to create a federal Department of Homeland Security was initiated in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 and subsequent revelations regarding bureaucratic bungling and ineptness related to those attacks. Leaving aside other policy initiatives that may be more successful in reducing the threat of future terror attacks, I believe the President was well-intentioned in suggesting that a streamlining of functions might be helpful.

Mr. Speaker, as many commentators have pointed out, the creation of this new department represents the largest reorganization of federal agencies since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Unfortunately, the process by which we are creating this new department bears little resemblance to the process by which the Defense Department was created. Congress began hearings on the proposed department of defense in 1945--two years before President Truman signed legislation creating the new Department into law! Despite the lengthy deliberative process through which Congress created the new department, turf battles and logistical problems continued to bedeviled the military establishment, requiring several corrective pieces of legislation. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the Goldwater-Nicholas Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 (PL 99-433) was passed to deal with problems stemming from the 1947 law! The experience with the Department of Defense certainly suggests the importance of a more deliberative process in the creation of this new agency.

This current proposed legislation suggest that merging 22 government agencies and departments--compromising nearly 200,000 federal employees--into one department will address our current vulnerabilities. I do not see how this can be the case. If we are presently under terrorist threat, it seems to me that turning 22 agencies upside down, sparking scores of turf wars and creating massive logistical and technological headaches--does anyone really believe that even simple things like computer and telephone networks will be up and running in the short term?--is hardly the way to maintain the readiness and focus necessary to defend the United States. What about vulnerabilities while Americans wait for this massive new bureaucracy to begin functioning as a whole even to the levels at which its component parts were functioning before this legislation was taken up? Is this a risk we can afford to take? Also, isn't it a bit ironic that in the name of ``homeland security'' we seem to be consolidating everything except the government agencies most critical to the defense of the United States: the multitude of intelligence agencies that make up the Intelligence Community?

 

Opposing the PATRIOT Act

In 2003, Congressman Paul spoke at a political event and discussed the PATRIOT Act at length. He notes that as a Congressman, the chief duty is to abide by the Constitution.

 

Reconsidering the PATRIOT Act

In May of 2005, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" edition to address the reconsidering of the PATRIOT Act. He notes that the PATRIOT Act waters down the fourth amendment.

Reconsidering the Patriot Act
May 2, 2005

When Congress passed the Patriot Act in the emotional aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, a sunset provision was inserted in the bill that causes certain sections to expire at the end of 2005. But this begs the question: If these provisions are critical tools in the fight against terrorism, why revoke them after five years? Conversely, if these provisions violate civil liberties, why is it acceptable to suspend the Constitution for any amount of time? Congress is scheduled to review those sections this year, but there is little chance any portion of the Act will be allowed to lapse. If anything, many members of Congress are eager to expand federal police powers.

Supporters of the Patriot Act argue that its provisions have not been abused since its passage in 2001. In essence, Justice Department officials are claiming, “Trust us-- we’re the government and we say the Patriot Act does not threaten civil liberties.” But this argument misses the point. Government assurances simply are not good enough in a free society. The overwhelming burden always must be placed on government to justify any new encroachment on our liberty.

Now that the emotions of September 11th have cooled, the American people are less willing to blindly accept terrorism as an excuse for expanding federal surveillance powers. Many of the most constitutionally offensive measures in the Act are not limited to terrorist offenses, but apply to any criminal activity. In fact, some of the new police powers could be applied even to those engaging in peaceful protest against government policies. The bill as written defines terrorism as acts intended “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” Under this broad definition, a scuffle at an otherwise peaceful pro-life demonstration might subject attendees to a federal investigation. We have seen abuses of law enforcement authority in the past to harass individuals or organizations with unpopular political views. Congress has given future administrations a tool to investigate pro-life or gun rights organizations on the grounds that fringe members of such groups advocate violence.

The Patriot Act waters down the Fourth amendment by expanding the federal government's ability to use wiretaps without judicial oversight. The requirement of a search warrant and probable cause strikes a balance between effective law enforcement and civil liberties. Any attempt to dilute the warrant requirement threatens innocent citizens with a loss of their liberty. This is particularly true of provisions that allow for issuance of nationwide search warrants that are not specific to any given location, nor subject to any local judicial oversight. The Act makes it far easier for the government to monitor your internet usage by adopting a lower standard than probable cause for intercepting e-mails and internet communications. I wonder how my congressional colleagues would feel if all of their e-mail headings and the names of the web sites they visited were available to law enforcement upon a showing of mere “relevance.”

It's easy for elected officials in Washington to tell the American people that government will do whatever it takes to defeat terrorism. Such assurances inevitably are followed by proposals either to restrict the constitutional liberties of the American people or spend vast sums from the federal treasury. We must understand that politicians and bureaucrats always seek to expand their power, without regard to the long-term consequences. If you believe in smaller government, ask yourself one simple question: Does the Patriot Act increase or decrease the power of the federal government over your life? The answer is obvious to those who understand that freedom cannot be exchanged for security.

 

Don't Reauthorize the PATRIOT Act

In July of 2005, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about his desire to see the PATRIOT Act ended.

Don't Reauthorize the Patriot Act
HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 21, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the USA PATRIOT Act and Terrorism Prevention Act (HR 3199) in no way brings the PATRIOT Act into compliance with the Constitution or allays concerns that the powers granted to the government in the act will be used to abuse the rights of the people. Much of the discussion surrounding this bill has revolved around the failure of the bill to extend the sunset clauses.

However, simply sunsetting troublesome provisions does not settle the debates around the PATRIOT Act. If the PATRIOT Act is constitutional and needed, as its proponents swear, why include sunset provisions at all? If it is unconstitutional and pernicious, why not abolish it immediately?

The sunset clauses do perform one useful service in that they force Congress to regularly re-examine the PATRIOT Act. As the people’s representatives, it is our responsibility to keep a close eye on the executive branch to ensure it does not abuse its power. Even if the claims of HR 3199’s supporters that there have been no abuses of PATRIOT Act powers under this administration are true, that does not mean that future administrations will not abuse these powers. HR 3199 continues to violate the constitution by allowing searches and seizures of American citizens and their property without a warrant issued by an independent court upon a finding of probable cause. The drafters of the Bill of Rights considered this essential protection against an overreaching government. For example, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, popularly known as the library provision, allows Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts, whose standards hardly meet the constitutional requirements of the Fourth Amendment, to issue warrants for individual records, including medical and library records. HR 3199 does reform this provision by clarifying that it can be used to acquire the records of an American citizen only during terrorist investigations. However, this marginal change fails to bring the section up to the constitutional standard of probable cause.

Requiring a showing of probable cause before a warrant may be issued will in no way hamper terrorist investigations. For one thing, federal authorities still would have numerous tools available to investigate and monitor the activities of non-citizens suspected of terrorism. Second, restoring the Fourth Amendment protections would in no way interfere with the provisions of the PATRIOT Act removing the firewalls that prevented the government’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies from sharing information.

The probable cause requirements will not delay a terrorist investigation. Preparations can be made for the issuance of a warrant in the event of an emergency, and allowances can be made for cases where law enforcement does not have time to obtain a warrant. In fact, a requirement that law enforcement demonstrate probable cause may help law enforcement focus their efforts on true threats, thus avoiding the problem of information overload that is handicapping the government’s efforts to identify sources of terrorist financing.

The requirement that law enforcement demonstrate probable cause before a judge preserves the Founders’ system of checks and balances that protects against one branch gathering too much power. The Founders recognized that one of the chief dangers to liberty was the concentration of power in a few hands, which is why they carefully divided power among the three branches. I would remind those of my colleagues who claim that we must set aside the constitutional requirements during war that the founders were especially concerned about the consolidation of power during times of war and national emergences. My colleagues should also keep in mind that PATRIOT Act powers have already been used in non-terrorism related cases, most notably in a bribery investigation in Nevada.

Mr. Speaker, HR 3199 does take some positive steps toward restoring respect for constitutional liberties and checks and balances that the original PATRIOT Act stripped away. However, it still leaves in place large chunks of legislation that threaten individual liberty by giving law enforcement power to snoop into American citizens’ lives without adequate oversight. This power is unnecessary to effectively fight terrorism. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to reject this bill.

 

The PATRIOT Act - Four Years Later

In July of 2005, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to address the PATRIOT Act four years after it's passage. He notes that the PATRIOT Act was recently reauthorized for another 10 years.

The Patriot Act Four Years Later
July 25, 2005

Congress passed legislation last week that reauthorizes the Patriot Act for another 10 years, although the bill faced far more opposition than the original Act four years ago. I’m heartened that more members of Congress are listening to their constituents, who remain deeply skeptical about the Patriot Act and expansions of federal police power in general. They rightfully wonder why Congress is so focused on American citizens, while bin Laden and other terrorist leaders still have not been captured.

The tired arguments we’re hearing today are that same ones we heard in 2001 when the Patriot Act was passed in the emotional aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. If the Patriot Act is constitutional and badly needed, as its proponents swear, why were sunset provisions included at all? If it’s unconstitutional and pernicious, why not abolish it immediately? All of this nonsense about sunsets and reauthorizations merely distracts us from the real issue, which is personal liberty. America was not founded on a promise of security, it was founded on a promise of personal liberty to pursue happiness.

One prominent Democratic opined on national television that “most of the 170 page Patriot Act is fine,” but that it needs some fine tuning. He then stated that he opposed the ten-year reauthorization bill on the grounds that Americans should not have their constitutional rights put on hold for a decade. His party’s proposal, however, was to reauthorize the Patriot Act for only four years, as though a shorter moratorium on constitutional rights would be acceptable! So much for the opposition party and its claim to stand for civil liberties.

Unfortunately, some of my congressional colleagues referenced the recent London bombings during the debate, insinuating that opponents of the Patriot Act somehow would be responsible for a similar act here at home. I won’t even dignify that slur with the response it deserves. Let’s remember that London is the most heavily monitored city in the world, with surveillance cameras recording virtually all public activity in the city center. British police officials are not hampered by our 4th amendment nor our numerous due process requirements. In other words, they can act without any constitutional restrictions, just as supporters of the Patriot Act want our own police to act. Despite this they were not able to prevent the bombings, proving that even a wholesale surveillance society cannot be made completely safe against determined terrorists.

Congress misses the irony entirely. The London bombings don’t prove the need for the Patriot Act, they prove the folly of it. The Patriot Act, like every political issue, boils down to a simple choice: Should we expand government power, or reduce it? This is the fundamental political question of our day, but it’s quickly forgotten by politicians who once promised to stand for smaller government. Most governments, including our own, tend to do what they can get away with rather than what the law allows them to do. All governments seek to increase their power over the people they govern, whether we want to recognize it or not. The Patriot Act is a vivid example of this. Constitutions and laws don’t keep government power in check; only a vigilant populace can do that.

 

Domestic Surveillance

In December of 2005, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to address domestic surveillance and the PATRIOT Act.

Domestic Surveillance and the Patriot Act
December 26, 2005

Recent revelations that the National Security Agency has conducted broad surveillance of American citizens' emails and phone calls raise serious questions about the proper role of government in a free society. This is an important and healthy debate, one that too often goes ignored by Congress. Public concerns about the misnamed Patriot Act are having an impact, as the Senate last week refused to reauthorize the bill for several years. Instead Congress will be back in Washington next month to consider many of the Act's most harmful provisions.

Of course most governments, including our own, cannot resist the temptation to spy on their citizens when it suits government purposes. But America is supposed to be different. We have a mechanism called the Constitution that is supposed to place limits on the power of the federal government. Why does the Constitution have an enumerated powers clause, if the government can do things wildly beyond those powers-- such as establish a domestic spying program? Why have a 4th Amendment, if it does not prohibit government from eavesdropping on phone calls without telling anyone? We're told that September 11 th changed everything, that new government powers like the Patriot Act are necessary to thwart terrorism. But these are not the most dangerous times in American history, despite the self-flattery of our politicians and media. This is a nation that expelled the British, saw the White House burned to the ground in 1814, fought two world wars, and faced down the Soviet Union. September 11th does not justify ignoring the Constitution by creating broad new federal police powers. The rule of law is worthless if we ignore it whenever crises occur.

The administration assures us that domestic surveillance is done to protect us. But the crucial point is this: Government assurances are not good enough in a free society. The overwhelming burden must always be placed on government to justify any new encroachment on our liberty. Now that the emotions of September 11th have cooled, the American people are less willing to blindly accept terrorism as an excuse for expanding federal surveillance powers. Conservatives who support the Bush administration should remember that powers we give government today will not go away when future administrations take office. Some Senators last week complained that the Patriot Act is misunderstood. But it's not the American public's fault nobody knows exactly what the Patriot Act does. The Act contains over 500 pages of detailed legalese, the full text of which was neither read nor made available to Congress in a reasonable time before it was voted on- which by itself should have convinced members to vote against it. Many of the surveillance powers authorized in the Act are not clearly defined and have not yet been tested. When they are tested, court challenges are sure to follow. It is precisely because we cannot predict how the Patriot Act will be interpreted and used in future decades that we should question it today.

 

SAFE Port Act

In May of 2006, Congressman Paul released a press statement noting his support for the SAFE Port Act.

Paul Votes to Strengthen Port Security
Legislation Authorizes $8.9 Billion for U.S. Ports over 5 Years

May 9, 2006

Washington, DC: Congressman Ron Paul voted last week to strengthen port security, as the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the SAFE Port Act. The SAFE Port Act authorizes nearly $9 billion between 2007 and 2011 for port grant programs, Coast Guard equipment and officer retention programs, new port inspectors and cargo scanning technology, and radiation monitoring.

“I’m pleased Congress finally decided to spend money securing America’s ports, which is a proper constitutional function of government,” Paul stated. “We need to focus on securing our own borders and coastlines instead of spending so much money overseas guarding other nations. Just a tiny fraction of our overseas military budget could provide tremendous help at our borders and ports. If we’re serious about combating terrorism, port security in Galveston and Freeport must be a higher priority than nation building abroad.”

Specific authorizations contained in the SAFE Port Act include the following: -$1.9 billion for the Coast Guard’s Deepwater Program to replace aging ships and aircraft; -$400 million in dedicated grant programs for state and local port authorities; -200 new federal port-of-entry inspectors; -more stringent identification requirements for port workers; -new scanning technology to detect nuclear material or radiation in cargo containers; -new standards for inspecting a greater percentage of cargo containers; and -expanded Coast Guard officer training programs.

 

Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act

In September of 2006, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor in opposition to the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act.

Mr. Speaker, Congress is once again rushing to abandon its constitutional duty to protect the constitution balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government by expanding the executive's authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps without approval from either a regular federal court or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Congress's refusal to provide any effective checks on the warrantless wiretapping program is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment and is not necessary to protect the safety of the American people. In fact, this broad grant of power to conduct unchecked surveillance may undermine the government's ability to identify threats to American security.

Instead of creating standards for warrantless wiretapping, H.R. 5825 leaves it to the President to determine when ``imminent'' threat requiring warrantless wiretapping exists. The legislation does not even define what constitutes an imminent threat; it requires the executive branch to determine when a threat is ``imminent.'' By passing this bill, Congress is thus abdicating its constitutional role while making it impossible for the judiciary to perform its constitutional function.

According to former Congressman Bob Barr, thanks to Congress' failure to establish clear standards for wiretapping, under H.R. 5825 Ð``.....simply making an international call or sending an e-mail to another country, even to a relative (or a constituent) who is an American citizen, will be fair game for the government to listen in on or read. Moreover, this legislation allows the government to conduct secret, warrantless searches of American citizens' homes in a broad range of circumstances that are essentially undefined in the legislation.''

Mr. Speaker, I do not deny that there may be certain circumstances justifying warrantless wiretapping. However, my colleagues should consider that current law allows for warrantless wiretapping in emergency situations as long as a ``retroactive'' warrant is sought within 72 hours of commencing the surveillance or the warrantless surveillance commences within 15 days after Congress declares war. If there are legitimate reasons why the current authorization for warrantless wiretapping is inadequate, then perhaps Congress should extend the time allowed to wiretap before applying to the FISA court for a ``retroactive'' warrant. This step could enhance security without posing the dangers to liberty and republican government contained in H.R. 5825 .

The requirement that, except in extraordinary circumstances, a warrant be obtained from the FISA court does not obstruct legitimate surveillance efforts. It is my understanding that FISA judges act very quickly to consider applications for search warrants, even if the applications are faxed to their houses at three in the morning. Applications for FISA warrants are rarely rejected. In 2005, the administration applied for 2,074 warrants from the FISA court. Of those 2 where voluntarily withdrawn and 63 where approved with modifications; the rest were approved. The FISA court only rejected four applications for warrants in the past four years; and one of those rejected warrants was subsequently partially approved.

Warrantless wiretapping may hinder the ability to identify true threats to safety. This is because experience has shown that, when Congress makes it easier for the federal government to monitor the activities of Americans, there is a tendency to collect so much information that it becomes impossible to weed out the true threats. My colleagues should consider how the over-filing of ``suspicious transaction reports'' regarding financial transactions hampers effective anti-terrorism efforts. According to investigative journalist James Bovard, writing in the Baltimore Sun on June 28, ``[a] U.N. report on terrorist financing released in May 2002 noted that a `suspicious transaction report' had been filed with the U.S. government over a $69,985 wire transfer that Mohamed Atta, leader of the hijackers, received from the United Arab Emirates. The report noted that `this particular transaction was not noticed quickly enough because the report was just one of a very large number and was not distinguishable from those related to other financial crimes.' '' Congress should be skeptical, to say the least, regarding the assertion that allowing federal bureaucrats to accumulate even more data without having to demonstrate a link between the data sought and national security will make the American people safer.

In conclusion Mr. Speaker, because H.R. 5825 sacrifices liberty for the illusion of security, I must oppose this bill. I urge my colleagues to do the same.

  

Campaign Video

In 2007, the Ron Paul campaign issued a video discussing the Real ID and the PATRIOT Act.

 

FISA Amendments

In March of 2008, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about the proposed FISA Amendments. He asked that the legislation be rejected.

Statement on FISA Amendments
Statement on H.R. 3773 - FISA Amendments Act of 2008
14 March 2008
Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

Mr Speaker, I rise in opposition to this latest attempt to undermine our personal liberties and violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. This bill will allow the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications. In effect, it means that any American may have his electronic communications monitored without a search warrant.

As such, the bill clearly violates the Fourth Amendment, which states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The assurances in this bill that Americans will not have their communications monitored without warrant are unconvincing. The bill merely states that the government should do its best to avoid monitoring Americans if possible. We have seen how meaningless such qualified prohibitions have been as we recount the abuses over the past several years.

Just today, we read in the news that the federal government has massively abused its ability to monitor us by improperly targeting Americans through the use of “national security letters.” Apparently some 60 percent of the more than 50,000 national security letters targeted Americans, rather than foreign terrorists, for surveillance.

This is what happens when we begin down the slippery slope of giving up our constitutional rights for the promise of more security. When we come to accept that the government can spy on us without a court order we have come to accept tyranny.

I urge my colleagues to reject this and all legislation that allows Americans to be spied on without a properly issued warrant.

 

Passage of FISA Amendments

After the passage of the FISA amendments, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about his disappointment in their passage.

Statement on FISA
Statement on HR 6304, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments
20 June 2008
Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

Madam Speaker, I regret that due to the unexpected last-minute appearance of this measure on the legislative calendar this week, a prior commitment has prevented me from voting on the FISA amendments. I have strongly opposed every previous FISA overhaul attempt and I certainly would have voted against this one as well.

The main reason I oppose this latest version is that it still clearly violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by allowing the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications without a search warrant. That US citizens can have their private communication intercepted by the government without a search warrant is anti-American, deeply disturbing, and completely unacceptable.

In addition to gutting the fourth amendment, this measure will deprive Americans who have had their rights violated by telecommunication companies involved in the Administration’s illegal wiretapping program the right to seek redress in the courts for the wrongs committed against them. Worse, this measure provides for retroactive immunity, whereby individuals or organizations that broke the law as it existed are granted immunity for prior illegal actions once the law has been changed. Ex post facto laws have long been considered anathema in free societies under rule of law. Our Founding Fathers recognized this, including in Article I section 9 of the Constitution that “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” How is this FISA bill not a variation of ex post facto? That alone should give pause to supporters of this measure.

Mr. Speaker, we should understand that decimating the protections that our Constitution provides us against the government is far more dangerous to the future of this country than whatever external threats may exist. We can protect this country without violating the Constitution and I urge my colleagues to reconsider their support for this measure.

 

The Emerging Surveillance State

In April of 2008, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to address the emerging state of continual surveillance in the United States.

The Emerging Surveillance State

Last month, the House amended the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to expand the government’s ability to monitor our private communications. This measure, if it becomes law, will result in more warrantless government surveillance of innocent American citizens. Though some opponents claimed that the only controversial part of this legislation was its grant of immunity to telecommunications companies, there is much more to be wary of in the bill. In the House version, Title II, Section 801, extends immunity from prosecution of civil legal action to people and companies including any provider of an electronic communication service, any provider of a remote computing service, “any other communication service provider who has access to wire or electronic communications,” any “parent, subsidiary, affiliate, successor, or assignee” of such company, any “officer, employee, or agent” of any such company, and any “landlord, custodian, or other person who may be authorized or required to furnish assistance.”

The Senate version goes even further by granting retroactive immunity to such entities that may have broken the law in the past. The new FISA bill allows the federal government to compel many more types of companies and individuals to grant the government access to our communications without a warrant. The provisions in the legislation designed to protect Americans from warrantless surveillance are full of loopholes and ambiguities.

There is no blanket prohibition against listening in on all American citizens without a warrant. We have been told that this power to listen in on communications is legal and only targets terrorists. But if what these companies are being compelled to do is legal, why is it necessary to grant them immunity? If what they did in the past was legal and proper, why is it necessary to grant them retroactive immunity?

In communist East Germany , one in every 100 citizens was an informer for the dreaded secret police, the Stasi. They either volunteered or were compelled by their government to spy on their customers, their neighbors, their families, and their friends. When we think of the evil of totalitarianism, such networks of state spies are usually what comes to mind. Yet, with modern technology, what once took tens of thousands of informants can now be achieved by a few companies being coerced by the government to allow it to listen in to our communications. This surveillance is un-American.

We should remember that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer was brought down by a provision of the PATRIOT Act that required enhanced bank monitoring of certain types of financial transactions. Yet we were told that the PATRIOT Act was needed to catch terrorists, not philanderers. The extraordinary power the government has granted itself to look into our private lives can be used for many purposes unrelated to fighting terrorism. We can even see how expanded federal government surveillance power might be used to do away with political rivals. The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution requires the government to have a warrant when it wishes to look into the private affairs of individuals. If we are to remain a free society we must defend our rights against any governmental attempt to undermine or bypass the Constitution.

 

On the Bloated Intelligence Bureaucracy

In July of 2010, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" address to note the effects of the oversized intelligence agencies.

On the Bloated Intelligence Bureaucracy

I have often spoken about the excessive size of government, and most recently how waste and inefficiency needs to be eliminated from our military budget. Our foreign policy is not only bankrupting us, but actively creating and antagonizing enemies of the United States, and compromising our national security. Spending more and adding more programs and initiatives does not improve things for us; it makes them much much worse. This applies to more than just the military budget.

Recently the Washington Post ran an extensive report by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin on the bloated intelligence community. They found that an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances. Just what are all these people up to? By my calculation this is about 11,000 intelligence workers per al Qaeda member in Afghanistan. This also begs the question - if close to 1 million people are authorized to know top secrets, how closely guarded are these secrets?

They also found that since the September 11 attacks, some 17 million square feet of building space has been built or is being built to accommodate the 250 percent expansion of intelligence organizations. Intelligence work is now done by some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private contracting companies in about 10,000 locations in the United States.

The former Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, has asserted that US intelligence now has the authority to target American citizens for assassination without charge or trial. How many of these resources are being devoted to spying on American citizens for nefarious reasons at home rather than targeting foreign enemies abroad?

It has been pointed out how much information we had about the impending attacks on 9/11, but because of layers upon layers of bureaucratic inefficiencies, our intelligence community was unable to act meaningfully on that information. Obviously we needed drastic change. But it was pretty clear that we did not need more bureaucracy, more confusion, more expenditures and more government.

It is even claimed by some leaders that the intelligence community has grown this way by design; that it is advantageous to have more than one set of eyes looking at the same information. With this logic, is there any number of intelligence employees at which we achieve diminishing returns? Can there ever be too many cooks in the kitchen, in their view?

Are there any problems at all that the government wouldn’t attempt to solve by throwing more money at them? Even now, the government is trying to solve our economic problems related to too much government spending and debt, with more government spending and debt.

The problem with our intelligence community before 9/11 was not an inability to collect information. Therefore, the post-September 11 build-up of the surveillance state does nothing to enhance safety. Instead what Americans have gotten in return for the billions of tax dollars spent on security is a surveillance state that reads our e-mails, wiretaps us without warrants, and strip searches grandmothers at airports. This is yet another instance in which Americans would be safer, richer and freer if our government would simply look to the Constitution and respect the boundaries it has set.

 

Are All Air Travelers Suspects

In November of 2010, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" to discuss the growing opposition to TSA pat downs and scanners in airports.

Are Air Travelers Criminal Suspects?

The growing revolt against invasive TSA practices is encouraging to Americans who are fed up with federal government encroachment in their lives. In the case of air travelers, this encroachment is quite literally physical. But a deep-seated libertarian impulse still exists within the American people, and opposition to the new TSA full body scanner and groping searches is gathering momentum.

I introduced legislation last week that is based on a very simple principle: federal agents should be subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. If you would face criminal prosecution or a lawsuit for groping someone, exposing them to unwelcome radiation, causing them emotional distress, or violating indecency laws, then TSA agents should similarly face sanctions for their actions.

This principle goes beyond TSA agents, however. As commentator Lew Rockwell recently noted, the bill “enshrines the key lesson of the freedom philosophy: the government is not above the moral law. If it is wrong for you and me, it is wrong for people in government suits… That is true of TSA crimes too.” The revolt against TSA also serves as a refreshing reminder that we should not give in to government alarmism or be afraid to question government policies.

Certainly, those who choose to refuse the humiliating and potentially harmful new full body scanner machines may suffer delays, inconveniences, or worse. But I still believe peaceful resistance is the most effective tool against federal encroachment on our constitutional rights, which leads me to be supportive of any kind of “opt-out” or similar popular movements.

After all, what price can we place on our dignity, personal privacy, and physical integrity? We have a right not to be treated like criminals and searched by federal agents without some reasonable evidence of criminal activity. Are we now to accept that merely wishing to travel and board an aircraft give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminality?

Also, let’s not forget that TSA was created in the aftermath of 9/11, when far too many Americans were clamoring for government protection from the specter of terrorism. Indeed it was congressional Republicans, the majority party in 2001, who must bear much of the blame for creating the Department of Homeland Security and TSA in the first place. Congressional Republicans also overwhelmingly supported the Patriot Act, which added to the atmosphere of hostility toward civil liberties in the name of state-provided “security.”

But as we’ve seen with TSA, federal “security” has more to do with humiliation and control than making us safe. It has more to do with instilling a mindset of subservience, which is why laughable policies such as removing one’s shoes continue to be enforced. What else could explain the shabby, degrading spectacle of a long line of normally upbeat Americans shuffling obediently through airport security in their stocking feet?

TSA may be merely symbolic of much bigger problems with the federal government, but it is an important symbol and we have a real chance to do something about it. We must seize this opportunity, before TSA offers some cosmetic compromise or the media spotlight fades. If you don’t live in my congressional district, please consider contacting your member of Congress and asking him or her to cosponsor HR 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act of 2010. With enough help, we can push the bill to a vote early next year. Unless grassroots Americans take action, federal agencies like TSA will continue to bully us and ignore our basic constitutional freedoms.

 

Traveler's Dignity Act

In November of 2010, Congressman Paul appeared on CNN and spoke about the Traveler's Dignity Act.

 

Opposition to TSA Actions

In January of 2011, Congressman Paul used his "Texas Talk" address to discuss the 2011 congress and the need to stand up against the actions of the TSA.

Recipe for a Successful 2011
The year 2011 brings in a host of opportunities and challenges to America. Will we accelerate toward economic insolvency by continuing the policies that have created this crisis, or will a new Congress elected on the energy of the Tea Party movement find the courage to change course?

With the new Republican majority in the House I will have the opportunity as a subcommittee chairman to take a careful look at our domestic monetary policy. I am excited by the prospect of real oversight of the Federal Reserve, but I also hope to focus on the important ways in which our foreign policy and monetary policy are related. Just last week the Financial Times reported that the limited oversight of the Federal Reserve allowed by the passage of a watered-down version of my Audit the Fed bill revealed that approximately 55 percent of the loans made available under the largest Federal Reserve bailout program, the Term Auction Facility, went to foreign banks! This is but one example of the real cost to Americans of maintaining its empire overseas, and it cries out for more transparency and oversight.

This is why it is key for us to understand that our foreign policy and current economic crisis go hand in hand. Some have promised to lead us back to fiscal responsibility while asserting that any reduction in our foreign and military spending is off the table. They would like us to believe that we should not only continue spending as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, but they actually call for an even more aggressive US policy abroad. They believe we should continue to bomb Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and elsewhere; that we must impose even more crippling sanctions on countries like Iran while moving steadily on to yet another Middle East war that is not in our interest. They represent the failed policies of the past and they would like to lead us down a dead-end street. We must resist the temptation of their neo-con inspired scare-mongering.

There will be much work for us to do in the next year and in the next Congress. We need look no further than the grossly unconstitutional and immoral policies of the Transportation Security Administration – demanding that we either be irradiated or fondled to travel in our own country – to see that those who would deprive us of our civil liberties on the empty promise of full security will not be giving up easily. We must continue standing up to them and we must not compromise. We must not allow the out-of-control Department of Homeland Security to impose an East German-like police state in the US, where neighbors are encouraged by big brother or big sister to inform on their neighbors. We must not accept that government authorities should hector us via television screens as we go about our private lives like we are living in Orwell’s 1984.

I am optimistic that the incoming Members of Congress understand the importance of what they have been entrusted with by the American people. But I do hope that those who elected them will watch their actions -- and their votes in Congress – carefully. An early indication will be the upcoming vote on re-authorization of the anti-American PATRIOT Act. Defeat once and for all of this police-state legislation will be a great way to start 2011 and the 112th Congress. We must move ahead with confidence. Our numbers are growing. Happy New Year! 

 

Reauthorization of Certain Aspects of the PATRIOT Act

In February of 2011, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about the 4th amendment and possible reauthorization of certain aspects of the PATRIOT Act.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Congressman Paul participated in the CNN debate on national security. He stated that he did not agree with the PATRIOT Act and that the US should not trade liberty for security.

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, I suspect you disagree.

PAUL: I do.

BLITZER: Tell us why.

PAUL: I think the Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty. I'm concerned, as everybody is, about the terrorist attack. Timothy McVeigh was a vicious terrorist. He was arrested. Terrorism is still on the books, internationally and nationally, it's a crime and we should deal with it.

We dealt with it rather well with Timothy McVeigh. But why I really fear it is we have drifted into a condition that we were warned against because our early founders were very clear. They said, don't be willing to sacrifice liberty for security.

Today it seems too easy that our government and our congresses are so willing to give up our liberties for our security. I have a personal belief that you never have to give up liberty for security. You can still provide security without sacrificing our Bill of Rights.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: I want to bring others in, but do you want to respond, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Yes. Timothy McVeigh succeeded. That's the whole point.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of Americans. I don't want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we're sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we're going to stop you.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: This is like saying that we need a policeman in every house, a camera in every house because we want to prevent child- beating and wife-beating. You can prevent crimes by becoming a police state. So if you advocate the police state, yes, you can have safety and security and you might prevent a crime, but the crime then will be against the American people and against our freedoms. And we will throw out so much of what our revolution was fought for. So don't do it so carelessly.

...

BLITZER: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: That's digging a...

(APPLAUSE)

That's digging a hole for ourselves. What if they look like Timothy McVeigh? You know, he was a pretty tough criminal.

I think we're using too much carelessness in the use of words that we're at war. I don't remember voting on -- on a declared -- declaration of war. Oh, we're against terrorism.

(APPLAUSE)

And terrorism is a tactic. It isn't a person. It isn't a people. So this is a very careless use of words. What about this? Sacrifice liberties because there are terrorists? You're the judge and the jury? No, they're suspects.

And they have changed the -- in the -- in DOD budget they have changed the wording on the definition of al-Qaeda and Taliban. It's anybody associated with organizations, which means almost anybody can be loosely associated so that makes all Americans vulnerable.

And now we know that American citizens are vulnerable to assassination.

So I would be very cautious about protecting the rule of law. It will be a sacrifice that you'll be sorry for. (APPLAUSE)

 

Huckabee Forum

In December of 2011, Congressman Paul participated in the Huckabee Presidential Forum. The forum was not a debate, each candidate was asked questions separately on the constitution, the PATRIOT Act, and other items. During that forum, he noted his opposition to the PATRIOT Act, stating that it would not have passed had it been named appropriately as the repeal of the fourth amendment.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

In Novemebr of 2011, Congressman Paul participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked about his support for waterboarding and responds that he does not support the tactic.

Major Garrett: Congressman Paul, my spidey sense tells me we have a debate about to get launched here. I know you have an opinion you'd like to weigh in.

Ron Paul: Yes. Tor-- torture is illegal. And-- by our laws. It's illegal by international laws.

Major Garrett: How do you-- how do you define torture, sir?

Ron Paul: Well, waterboarding is torture. And-- and many other-- it's ill-- it's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. The-- and it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing 100 people because you know one person might have information? And that's what you do when you accept the principal of a-- of-- of-- of torture. I think it's-- I think it's uncivilized and prac-- and has no practical advantages and is really un-American to accept on principal that we will torture people that we capture. 

 

2012 NDAA

In January of 2012, Congressman Paul spoke on the House floor about his opposition to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

 

Campaign Website Statements 

ISSUE - War and Foreign Policy

”The only proper way to go to war, the only legal way to go to war, the only constitutional way to go to war is to declare the war, by the congress, not by the president. The people should be behind it.”

Both Jefferson and Washington warned us about entangling ourselves in the affairs of other nations. Today, we have troops in 130 countries. We are spread so thin that we have too few troops defending America. And now, there are new calls for a draft of our young men and women.
We can continue to fund and fight no-win police actions around the globe, or we can refocus on securing America and bring the troops home. No war should ever be fought without a declaration of war voted upon by the Congress, as required by the Constitution.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. again go to war as the result of a resolution that comes from an unelected, foreign body, such as the United Nations.

Too often we give foreign aid and intervene on behalf of governments that are despised. Then, we become despised. Too often we have supported those who turn on us, like the Kosovars who aid Islamic terrorists, or the Afghan jihadists themselves, and their friend Osama bin Laden. We armed and trained them, and now we’re paying the price.

At the same time, we must not isolate ourselves. The generosity of the American people has been felt around the globe. Many have thanked God for it, in many languages. Let us have a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

 

Voting Record

Arrest and Detention of US Citizens

In December of 2011, the House voted on the Defense appropriations act for 2012 - HR 1540. Part of that legislation was a provision to express the authorization of the military to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens. The only requirement for this was that the person be suspected of allying with al-Qaida. The legislation passed 283-136. Ron Paul cast a "No Vote"

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010

In October of 2010, the House voted on a funding bill for Homeland Security. Buried within that legislation was language to prevent any funds from being used to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the US or to their home nation. Also in that funding bill was a definition that made photos taken of prisoners at Guantanamo bay classified and unable to be released. The act passed the House 258-163. Ron Paul voted against the act which prevented the movement of prisoners from Gitmo and classified photos of detainees.

Ron Paul voted against the act which prevented the movement of prisoners from Gitmo and classified photos of detainees.

FISA Amendment Acts of 2008

In June of 2008, the House voted on the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support 293-129, but was never raised in the Senate. The legislation primarily contained provisions to allow for the monitoring of terrorists overseas that were a continuation of expired provisions in the Protect America Act. It also granted immunity to telecommunications companies against their customers for giving information to the government without a warrant. Ron Paul cast a "No Vote"

Protect America Act of 2007

The Protect America Act of 2007 was a bill that sought to allow electronic surveillance of people reasonable believed to be outside of the United States. The bill lists the requirements for initiating surveillance and gives it a 1 year limitation. The bill passed in the House in a 227-183 vote. Ron Paul cast a "No Vote"

Military Commission Act of 2006

The Military Commissions Act passed in response to a supreme court ruling which stated that stated that military tribunals established by the Bush administrations did not align with the UCMJ. The Act defined unlawful enemy combatants and allowed for the military tribunals to be held. It passed the House 250-170. Ron Paul voted against the Military Commission Act of 2006.

Ron Paul voted against the Military Commission Act of 2006.

Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act

In September of 2006, Congress passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act by a margin of 232-191. Specifically, the legislation made FISAs definition of electronic surveillance technology-neutral in terms of wire and radio communications, Updated the definition of who is covered under FISA, provided the President with the authority to collect electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order for up to 90 days after an armed attack or a terrorist attack, and strengthened congressional oversight of the surveillance program through notification and reporting requirements. Ron Paul voted against the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act.

Ron Paul voted against the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act.

USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006

The USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006 was a bill that sought to allow electronic surveillance of people reasonable believed to be outside of the United States. The bill lists the requirements for initiating surveillance and gives it a 1 year limitation. The bill passed in the House in a 227-183 vote. Ron Paul voted against reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.

Ron Paul voted against reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002

In July 2002, the House passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Among other things, the act created the Department of Homeland Security, and set forth the jurisdiction of that department. In the vote, almost all Republicans supported the legislation and a moderate percentage of Democrats supported it. Ron Paul voted against the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

Ron Paul voted against the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The Patriot Act

In October of 2001, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act. Although the act passed the senate with moderate support from Democrats, it has become one of the more divisive pieces of legislation. This is partly due to the expansion of governmental wiretapping privileges. Ron Paul voted against the PATRIOT Act.

Ron Paul voted against the PATRIOT Act.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-112; Bill Number-H R 459; Military Tribunals for Terrorists Act 2011 - Prime Sponsor

Requires trial only by a military commission for any foreign national who: (1) engages or has engaged in an offense relating to a terrorist attack against persons or property in the United States or U.S. government property or personnel outside the United States; and (2) is subject to trial for that offense by a military commission under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 893; American Anti-Torture Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to prohibit any person in the custody or control of the United States (under current law, the Department of Defense) from being subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. Makes such prohibition inapplicable with respect to any person in the custody or control of the United States (under current law, the Department of Defense) pursuant to a U.S. criminal or immigration law.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 1399; Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

To provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 4114; American Anti-Torture Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Amends the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to prohibit any person in the custody or control of the United States (under current law, the Department of Defense) from being subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 3835; American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 - Prime Sponsor

Repeals the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Authorizes the President to establish military commissions for the trial of war crimes only in places of active hostilities against the United States where an immediate trial is necessary to preserve fresh evidence or to prevent local anarchy. Prohibits the President from detaining any individual indefinitely as an unlawful enemy combatant absent proof by substantial evidence that the individual has directly engaged in active hostilities against the United States. Prohibits the detention of any U.S. citizen as an unlawful enemy combatant. Entitles any individual detained as an enemy combatant by the United States to petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Prohibits any civilian or military tribunal of the United States from admitting as evidence statements extracted from the defendant by torture or coercion.

Michele Bachmann

Summary

Congresswoman Bachmann supports the PATRIOT Act, supported the Protect America Act, and supports FISA legislation to allow the federal government to more easily effect surveillance on electronic devices. In 2007 Congresswoman Bachmann voted in favor of the Protect America Act, and in 2008 she asserted that the expiration of the Protect America Act placed American families into a perilous situation.

Although she was not in Congress when the PATRIOT Act was passed, Congresswoman Bachmann voted in 2011 to temporarily extend certain provisions of the PATRIOT act dealing with electronic surveillance and cell phones. Later that year, she argued for the extension of provisions dealing with the "lone wolf." 

 

Star Tribune Op-Ed

In March of 2008, Congresswoman Bachmann wrote an op-ed in the Star Tribune discussing the expiration of the Protect America Act, and her belief that this expiration places the US in danger.

Michele Bachmann: Democratic leaders stand in the way of Americans' safety
Article by: MICHELE BACHMANN Updated: March 14, 2008

Attack after attack has been averted because of the Protect America Act. It must be renewed.

For nearly one month, American intelligence has been crippled.

We are fighting terrorism with one eye shut and one hand tied behind our backs.

One of the critical tools that has allowed us to keep the homeland safe after 9/11 has been the Protect America Act. It updated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to deal with new, deadly challenges in this age of terror -- enabling intelligence services to immediately listen to phone calls made between foreign terrorists.

But on Feb. 16, the Protect America Act expired -- even though the Senate voted to reauthorize it with a strong, bipartisan vote, and even though the same bipartisan support exists in the House as well.

Why, then, has it expired?

Because the House Democratic leadership has simply refused to allow a vote -- knowing it will pass. In fact, 21 House Democrats wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging her to bring the bill to the floor.

While this inaction may score cheap political points with the fringe elements of the Democratic caucus, American families are needlessly imperiled. This is not an exaggeration. This is not hyperbole. This is fact -- confirmed by our intelligence community and agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The enemy that attacked our nation on Sept. 11, 2001, is part of a vast global network with terror cells stretching across the globe -- an enemy convinced that their ticket to heaven will be written in our blood.

Since 2001, attack after attack has been averted -- including a plot to destroy American-bound airliners with liquid explosives. Indeed, last year, the Heritage Foundation compiled a list of 19 confirmed terror plots against American targets that had been thwarted.

Those 19 thwarted attacks represent untold thousands of American lives saved; of families, communities and cities kept intact, and of a nation kept whole.

"Expiration of [the Protect America Act] would lead to the loss of important tools the intelligence community relies on to discover the plans of those who wish us harm," warned the director of national intelligence. Those warnings fell on Nancy Pelosi's deaf ears.

The No. 1 job of the American government is to protect her citizens. House Democratic leaders, in forcing the expiration of the FISA updates, have shirked that most fundamental responsibility -- the safety of the American people.

Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

Temporary PATRIOT Act Extension

In February of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann released a press statement noting her support for extending the PATRIOT Act provisions.

Bachmann Supports Temporary Extension of Patriot Act Provisions

Washington, Feb 8 - Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-6), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after today’s vote on the temporary extension of three legal authorities in the Patriot Act:

“Today’s vote was for a ten-month extension of three provisions that would have expired later this month. These provisions maintain the flexibility that our intelligence community needs to monitor terror suspects and protect our country against international terrorism. As a mother of five and a foster mother to 23 children, I voted for these authorities so that our laws keep pace with the evolving threats posed by terrorists.

“This vote was not for a full reauthorization of the Patriot Act. As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I look forward to briefings and reports from our intelligence community that will help us develop longer term solutions.”

 

Fox Business Appearance

Days after the vote to extend provisions of the PATRIOT Act, Congresswoman Bachmann appeared on Fox Business and discussed her vote in favor of those extensions.

Judge Napolitano: Congresswoman Bachmann, should the government be able to hack into our computer accounts without a search warrant?

Congresswoman Bachmann: Well, this is an issue ... Are you talking about the vote that we took this week that failed?

Judge Napolitano: Yes I am. I'm talking about the extension of the PATRIOT Act which permits federal agents to do that, even though you as a constitutional scholar know, as do I that the Constitution requires search warrants before agents can do that.

Congresswoman Bachmann: Yes, it does require warrants. There were two provisions from the current PATRIOT Act that we voted on. One is the roving wiretaps and that deals with the changing technology. Today, a lot of people that are alleged terrorists are using cell phones, they're using ipads, it isn't the traditional phone that's plugged into the wall anymore. So if a terrorist moves from their ipad to their cell phone, we want to be able to have that flexibility built in.

But, it's also important for people to remember that permission is given ahead of time to go after that particular individual. They may use a different cell phone, but it's the same individual. We have either the head of one of the intelligence networks, or the Director of the FBI, or the Deputy Director that has to sign off on that warrant.

Judge Napolitano: But not a federal judge as the constitution requires

Congresswoman Bachmann: Well, this is an area ... that's why we want to pay closer attention .... As you know, these provisions were set to expire on the 28th of February, so we're coming up against a wall now on whether or not we're gonna extend these provisions. Another provisions came out of another intel bill that was passed in 2004 that was also part of what we were voting on dealing with the lone wolf issue.

Judge Napolitano: Got it

Congresswoman Bachmann: The fact that we aren't fighting necessarily standing armies now, just lone actors that are potentially jihadi extremists  

 

Fox News Appearance

On February 10, Congresswoman Bachmann appeared on Fox News and discussed her vote in favor of the extension and the TEA Party votes against the legislation. She states that she was willing to give a temporary extension to some PATRIOT Act provisions.

Gretchen Wilson: So why did you (vote against the PATRIOT Act Extension)

Congresswoman Bachmann: Well, I voted for the provision in the PATRIOT Act. There were members of the Congress that call themselves TEA party who did vote against the measure. I think that it wasn't explained real well to members. This wasn't actually a full reauthorization of the PATRIOT. This was three provisions that were temporarily reauthorized for nine months. I now sit on the Intelligence Committee and we're going to be discussing and looking into these areas a little more clearly over the next nine months to find out what we will permanently authorize.

 

PATRIOT Act Extension

In May of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann spoke on the House floor about her vote to reauthorize certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act. She notes the portions of the law that she supports and why she supports them. (comments start at 4:45)

Mrs. BACHMANN. I thank the gentleman from Iowa for yielding.

This is a very important issue and a very important vote that we have just taken here in the House Chamber. It is dealing with the Patriot Act . We have had calls, we have had requests on our Facebook, Twitter, and in our emails urging a ``no'' vote tonight on the Patriot Act . I cast a ``yes'' vote on this act . The Patriot Act did pass. This is why. This is an authorization for the next several years in three areas. One is the lone wolf exception. We have a new war, a new enemy, new tactics. The lone wolf is one actor acting alone. And if we get a tip, it may be at the last minute, and we've got to go in for national security reasons and find that actor. That is an appropriate use of gaining this intelligence and information.

Number two, roving wiretaps. We have changed from the days of telephones being wired into the walls; now we use a cell phone. A lot of modern terrorists will buy a thousand ``go'' phones. They'll make one call, use a cell phone, throw it away like it's a disposable phone, pick up another cell phone, make another call. So we have to have the ability to be able to go to whichever phone a potential alleged terrorist may be using.

Now the third exception is the business records section; this is section 215. This is the section that most people have the greatest worries about. They worry about the infringement of Fourth Amendment rights. I worry about that too. I spent all week this week going to Members who I felt would oppose the Patriot Act . I went to people who are national voices who oppose the Patriot Act to find out what their concerns were, because I'm a lawyer. I genuinely am concerned about making sure that we never cross the line as a Federal Government.

Why? Because I think government is too big. I think we intervene too much in people's lives. I certainly don't want to give the government the unfettered right to go in and access my personal private records. This is what I know to be true about section 215 and why I could vote for it.

Number one, no right of gaining access to records can be given unless a Federal agent goes to a judge first. They have to go to the FISA court. Also, there has to be a connection to national security interests or to a foreign government. We've got that level of protection. When they go and make these requests, of which there have been 300-some requests, then they can go and they can gain access to a record.

Now, these are business records. These aren't records in my basement or your basement. These are records that a company has, like a phone company or a bank, but they're used in only the limited case where a judge first grants permission.

So what does that mean?

That means that it is constitutional in that the individual American's due process rights are observed because a Federal agent first has to go to a judge, a judge has to apply due process to that request, and then from there then access can be given to records, not in an individual's house but from a business. And then during the course of investigation--again, remembering, this is if there is a threat of a national security incident only.

Then during the course of an investigation, it's well understood if we're investigating a terrorist, if we get a lead that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has a phone, we get his information, we are able to access records that are somehow connected to an alleged terrorist--or now an admitted terrorist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed--we have to be able to have the means. Do we tip off someone like a Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that we're looking at his records? Of course not. That would be absurd.

So, it's a very different time and a very different war and we're observing Fourth Amendment rights. Now, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not an American. He is not an American citizen. He is not an American. But for Americans, when we are seeking a request for a record of an American, the Federal agent first has to go and get this approved by a judge.

I urge people, Mr. Speaker, go to my Facebook site. We have all of the documents up to verify and show all of the reasoning behind the Patriot Act .

And again, this is a very important discussion this evening. I want to thank my colleague Steve King for bringing this to people's attention. It's a very important vote. I've spent all week trying to get the basis for whether the vote should be ``yes'' or the vote should be ``no,'' and I have confidence this evening that it was the right vote to cast a ``yes'' vote.

And again, I encourage anyone who is interested to go to my Facebook site and get all of this documentation. Read for yourselves. Make up your mind. But in my opinion, this passes constitutional muster. And I can assure every American I would not vote for this bill unless I thought it did pass constitutional muster.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann participated in the national security debate on CNN. She noted that the current war was different from previous wars and that new legislation was needed to address the new technologies.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, let me bring you into this conversation. Are you with Congressman Paul or Speaker Gingrich or do you have your own view?

BACHMANN: Well, I'm with the American people, with the Constitution, and with the job of the commander-in-chief as the number one duty of the president of the United States.

We have to realize we're in a very different war, with very different techniques that are used for that war, and very different bad actors than we've had before in the terrorists and their motivations are very different.

We can't forget that technology is completely different. When we were looking at prior laws, phones were wired in to walls. That's not how it works any more. Today we deal with wireless functions. And we have to completely change the way that we go about investigating.

This is one thing we know about Barack Obama. He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He has outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists.

When the bomber -- or the attempted bomber over Detroit, the underwear bomber was intercepted, he was given Miranda warnings within 45 minutes. He was not an American citizen. We don't give Miranda warnings to terrorists, and we don't read them their rights. They don't have any.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

In Novemebr of 2011, Congresswoman Bachmann participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. She was asked about her support for waterboarding and responds that she does indeed support the tactic.

Major Garrett: Congressman-- congresswoman Bachmann, your opinion on this question that our emailer asked.

Michele Bachmann: If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding. I think it was very effective. It gained information for our country. And I-- and I also would like to say that today, under Barack Obama, he is allowing the A.C.L.U. to run the C.I.A. You need to understand that today-- today we-- it-- when we-- when we interdict a terrorist on the battlefield, we have no jail for them.

We have nowhere to take them. We have no C.I.A. interrogations anymore. It is as though we have decided we want to lose in the War on Terror under President Obama. That's not my strategy. My strategy will be that the United States will be victorious in the War on Terror.

 

Official Website Statements

Homeland Security

The United States has been blessed with a strong, dedicated military which can and will defend our nation’s security and preserve the freedoms we cherish each day. I believe in the mission of our men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and support providing them with the necessary funding they need to achieve success overseas. Our commanders on the ground deserve praise as they have taken the fight to the enemy in both Afghanistan and Iraq and have prevented terrorists from striking us here at home. I support their efforts to combat terrorism, to ensure the safety of our country, and to further democracy in other parts of the world.

Last July, I was fortunate enough to meet with our soldiers and military officials in Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, Ireland and Germany. While in Germany, I was honored to visit American troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Facility, the largest American military hospital outside the United States. In the brief time I spent with some of our brave men and women, it was clear to me that they not only understood the importance of their mission, but they were determined to complete it.

Leaving Iraq too soon would jeopardize our national security and give the terrorists a tremendous victory in the war on terror. However, I believe that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) should continue moving forward with their contingency planning for a redeployment of U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq. Recently, I voted for H.R. 3087 which sheds light on the DoD’s standard operating procedure of contingency planning. This measure would not impose one specific exit strategy on our military commanders, but would encourage the President, in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military leaders, to develop and transmit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for the redeployment of our troops.

We have an obligation to future generations of Americans to ensure our country keeps terrorism off U.S. soil. I will continue to support efforts to strengthen our national defense and support our uniformed men and women who are committed to protecting America.

 

Voting Record

Arrest and Detention of US Citizens

In December of 2011, the House voted on the Defense appropriations act for 2012 - HR 1540. Part of that legislation was a provision to express the authorization of the military to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens. The only requirement for this was that the person be suspected of allying with al-Qaida. The legislation passed 283-136. Michele Bachmann cast a "No Vote"

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010

In October of 2010, the House voted on a funding bill for Homeland Security. Buried within that legislation was language to prevent any funds from being used to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the US or to their home nation. Also in that funding bill was a definition that made photos taken of prisoners at Guantanamo bay classified and unable to be released. The act passed the House 258-163. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the act which prevented the movement of prisoners from Gitmo and classified photos of detainees.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the act which prevented the movement of prisoners from Gitmo and classified photos of detainees.

FISA Amendment Acts of 2008

In June of 2008, the House voted on the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008. The legislation passed the House with bipartisan support 293-129, but was never raised in the Senate. The legislation primarily contained provisions to allow for the monitoring of terrorists overseas that were a continuation of expired provisions in the Protect America Act. It also granted immunity to telecommunications companies against their customers for giving information to the government without a warrant. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008.

Protect America Act of 2007

The Protect America Act of 2007 was a bill that sought to allow electronic surveillance of people reasonable believed to be outside of the United States. The bill lists the requirements for initiating surveillance and gives it a 1 year limitation. The bill passed in the House in a 227-183 vote. Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the Protect America Act of 2007.

Michele Bachmann voted in favor of the Protect America Act of 2007.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 4490; Detainee Transfer and Release Security Act of 2010 - Cosponsor

Prohibits the President from releasing or transferring an individual currently detained at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the custody of the individual's country of origin or to a third country unless the President certifies to Congress that: (1) such country is not a designated state sponsor of terrorism; (2) such country's government can secure and exercise control over all of its territory; (3) no portion of such country's territory serves as a safe haven for terrorists or insurgent groups, particularly al Qaeda; and (4) there is no confirmed case of any individual who had been detained at Guantanamo who reengaged in terrorist activities subsequent to being transferred or released to such country.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 1399; Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

To provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 3138; Resolution Redefining Electronic Surveillance - Cosponsor

Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to redefine "electronic surveillance" as: (1) the installation or use of an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device for acquiring information by intentionally directing surveillance at a particular person believed to be in the United States when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes; or (2) the intentional acquisition of the contents of any communication when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes, if both the sender and all intended recipients are believed to be in the United States.

Session-110; Bill Number-H R 5440; FISA Amendments Act of 2008 - Cosponsor

Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to authorize the Attorney General (AG) and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to jointly authorize, for periods up to one year, the targeting (electronic surveillance) of persons located outside the United States in order to acquire foreign intelligence information, under specified limitations and requirements. Authorizes the AG and DNI to direct an electronic communication service provider to: (1) immediately provide the government with all information, facilities, and assistance necessary to accomplish an acquisition of communications; and (2) maintain under security procedures any records concerning such acquisition.

Herman Cain

Anatomy of World War III

In July of 2006, Herman Cain wrote an article discussing Islamic terrorism and the reality of World War III.

July 26, 2006
Anatomy of World War III

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich makes a compelling argument in a recent opinion column that the global scope of the war against Islamic terrorists renders it the Third World War. The global conflict against Islamic terrorists does indeed confer upon it World War status. However, an examination of four factors – the enemy, the weapons used, the battlefield and motivating ideology – shows World War Three (WW III) is here, though it is fundamentally different than any war we have ever fought.

In WW III, our enemy is the irreconcilable terrorist wing of a religion – Islam – and a handful of nations that harbor terrorists and fund their activities. Those nations include Iran, Syria, Venezuela and North Korea. In World Wars I and II our enemies were nations headed by dictatorial regimes generally bent on conquering other nations to spread their sphere of power.

The terrorists wage their warfare and disrupt western civilization from within target countries, rather than by attacks from without. We are used to fighting nations led by dictatorial regimes. In WW III, we are fighting a global ideology that is religious, economic and political. As we saw in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001 and since, the workings of the West’s economic infrastructure can be temporarily sidetracked by an attack waged from within a nation. No western nation is immune from terrorist attacks. Every nation must assist in fighting WW III if we truly seek to continue our way of life.

The weapons utilized by Islamic terrorists in WW III differ greatly from those used by our enemies in previous conflicts. While previous wars here primarily fought with bombs and bullets, WW III is being waged with suicide bombers, guerilla tactics, the Internet and media propaganda.

Internet technologies assist Islamic terrorists by providing them a means to communicate no matter where they reside. In August 2005 Washington Post reporters Steve Coll and Susan Glasser noted, “Osama bin Laden biographer Hamid Mir watched ‘every (other) al Qaeda member carrying a laptop computer along with a Kalashnikov (machine gun)’ as they prepared to scatter into hiding and exile.”

Terrorist leaders also use the Internet to raise money for their activities, recruit new members, plan attacks and provide training manuals and videos accessible to their brethren anywhere in the world. Western media outlets assist the Islamic terrorists’ mission when they often refuse to acknowledge the religious nature of their motivation, instead calling them by innocuous terms such as freedom fighters or insurgents.

It should be clear that the battlefield where the victors of WW III will be decided is not just Iraq or Iran. The battlefield is the entire world. This is a war with no defined front, in which the enemy hides and plots among us until he is ready to strike. Islamic terrorists wage attacks nearly every day in nations across the globe, yet only the most lethal receive considerable media coverage. The global nature of WW III and the ease with which our enemies can communicate via available technologies underscore the necessity for the U.S. and our allies to use nontraditional means to root our terrorists in a nontraditional war.

Our enemy in WW III is unlike any we have ever faced, as is his motivating ideology. In previous wars, our enemies fought to acquire land and power or spread a political philosophy such as communism or fascism. Today, our enemy is motivated by a unique combination of factors derived from his religious and political beliefs. Islamic terrorists are not motivated merely to acquire land and power. Instead, they are motivated by the literal reading of the Quran’s call for jihad of the sword – death to those who refuse to convert to Islam.

The enemy is further motivated by a hatred of western civilization and the religious, political and economic freedoms we fight to protect. Religious pluralism and economic prosperity for all who desire it are concepts completely foreign to the Islamic terrorist, and are principles they believe must be violently overthrown wherever possible.

A critical component of our strategy in the new war must be to secure our borders. As long as our southern border remains porous, we are laying out a welcome mat to the terrorists who want to kill us. A secure southern U.S. border and a commitment to fighting Islamic terrorists with our allies in all corners of the world will allow western civilization to prevail.

The anatomy of WW III is unlike any we have ever fought. Unfortunately, this fact has escaped too many people who believe that traditional diplomacy, appeasement and concessions to the terrorists are the keys to our success. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Terrorists understand one thing – annihilation. It’s either them or us.

 

CNN National Security Debate

In Novemeber of 2011, Herman Cain participated in the national security debate on CNN. He stated that he supported something called targeted identification.

BLITZER: Herman Cain, let's bring you into this conversation. Are you with Senator Santorum when he says that there should be religious profiling, that Muslims in particular should get extra screening when they go -- go through airports?

CAIN: I believe we can do a whole lot better with TSA. And I called it, targeted identification.

BLITZER: What does that mean?

CAIN: We can do -- we can do -- targeted identification. If you take a look at the people who are trying to kill us, it would be easy to figure out exactly what that identification profile looks like.

But I want -- but I want to make sure that I get to the Patriot Act. So I believe we can do a whole better. The answer, I believe, also may be privatization.

Now, relative to the Patriot Act, if there are some areas of the Patriot Act that we need to refine, I'm all for that. But I do not believe we ought to throw out the baby with the bathwater for the following reason. The terrorists have one objective that some people don't seem to get. They want to kill all of us.

So we should use every mean possible to kill them first or identify them first -- first.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Now, just to be precise, Mr. Cain. I just want to -- I'll give you a chance. Is it OK for Muslim Americans to get more intensive pat downs or security when they go through airports than Christian Americans or Jewish Americans?

CAIN: No, Blitz. That's oversimplifying it. I happen to believe that if -- if you allow our intelligence agencies to do their job they can come up with an approach -- I'm sorry, Blitz, I meant Wolf, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

This was -- since we on a -- since we on a blitz debate, I apologize. Wolf, what I'm saying is let's ask the professionals to give us an approach of how we can increase the identification of people that might be a danger to civilians as well as a danger to this nation.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

In Novemebr of 2011, Herman Cain participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked about his support for torture and discusses his support for waterboarding.

Major Garrett: I don't need to tell the people on this stage that presidential politics is interactive business. And, of course, this debate is interactive as well. And we have an email question I'm happy to say, emailed into the National Journal. And it comes from Stephen Schafroth (PH) of Odell's (PH), Oregon. And I'd like to address this question to Mr. Cain. Stephen writes, "I served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. I believe that torture is always wrong in all cases. What is your stance on torture?"

Herman Cain: I believe that following the procedures that have been established by our military, I do not agree with torture, period. However, I will trust the judgment of our military leaders to determine what is torture and what is not torture. That is the critical consideration.

Major Garrett: Mr. Cain, of course you're familiar with the long-running debate we've had about whether waterboarding constitutes torture or is an enhanced interrogation tech-- technique. In the last campaign, Republican nominee John McCain and Barack Obama agreed that it was torture and should not be allowed legally and that the Army Field Manual should be the methodology used to interrogate enemy combatants. Do you agree with that or do you disagree, sir?
Herman Cain: I agree that it was an enhanced interrogation technique.

Major Garrett: And then you would support it at present. You would return to that policy.

Herman Cain: Yes, I would return to that policy. I don't see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.

 

Rick Santorum

Summary

Senator Santorum is a strong supporter of homeland security legislation. While in office, he voted in favor of the PATRIOT Act and its reauthorization, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the legislation that created the department of Homeland Security.

In November of 2011, Senator Santorum compared the actions taken today to curtail threats from muslim extremists to the actions taken by President Lincoln during the civil war. He stated bluntly that the US is at war and that the threats need to be dealt with her at home.

At a Presidential forum in late 2011, Senator Santorum stated that the PATRIOT Act did not violate civil liberties and reasserted his support for the legislation.

In January 2011, Senator Santorum was asked if he would have signed the 2012 NDAA if he were President. Acknowledging that the legislation granted the President the right to arrest and detain US citizens, Senator Santorum then stated that indeed would have signed the legislation, but as President would have maintained the previous standard of a right to a trial. 

 

Reagan Debate

In September of 2011, Senator Santorum participated in the Republican debate at the Reagan library. He discusses his support for the creation of the department of Homeland Security.

HARRIS: Senator Santorum, one final note on this book, "Fed Up." Governor Perry says in his book that it was, quote, "unprincipled" for Republicans to vote in favor of creating the Department of Homeland Security. You were one of those Republicans who voted yes. Respond.

SANTORUM: We created the Department of Homeland Security because there was a complete mess in the internal -- in protecting our country. We had all sorts of agencies that had conflicting authority. We had no information sharing that was going on. This was right after 9/11. We saw the problems created as a result of 9/11. And we put together a plan to try to make sure that there was better coordination.

I want to get back to this Gardasil issue. You know, we have -- Governor Perry's out there and -- and claiming about state's rights and state's rights. How about parental rights being more important than state's rights? How about having, instead of an opt-out, an opt- in?

If you really cared, you could make the case, instead of forcing me, as a parent -- and I have seven children, too, the wide receivers here have -- have -- on the ends here have -- have -- have seven children each -- but I am offended that -- that the government would tell me -- and by an executive order, without even going through the process of letting the people have any kind of input. I would expect this from President Obama; I would not expect this from someone who's calling himself a conservative governor.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Senator Santorum participated in the CNN national security debate. He stated that he supported a private version of the TSA. He also noted his support for the PATRIOT Act.

BLITZER: Senator Santorum, under certain circumstances in the past, you've supported profiling. Is that correct?

SANTORUM: I have.

BLITZER: What do you have in mind?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, I think TSA is a good example of that. We should be trying to find the bomber, not the bomb. Other countries have done it. Israel is probably the best example of that.

But to put this enormous expense on the federal government, to put the enormous expense on the traveling public for -- for pat-downs and other intrusions, I think, is too much money. I agree with Governor Perry; I actually voted when I -- when this bill came up, I voted to allow for privatization. I was not for this being a government function. I thought it could be a private function.

But the issue of the Patriot Act is -- is a little different. We are at war. The last time we had a -- we had a threat at home like this -- obviously, it was much more of a threat at home -- was during the Civil War.

And, of course, Abraham Lincoln ran right over civil rights. Why? Because we had a present domestic threat. In the previous wars that we've had, we haven't had this type of threat that we have here in the homeland. And we have to deal with it differently.

I disagree with Governor Huntsman. He made some good points. And we have had the debate. It's been an open debate. It's really shown the values of our country, that we can engage in this open debate and balance those interests, and I think we have done so appropriately.

BLITZER: So just to be precise, is it ethnic profiling, religious profiling? Who would be profiled?

SANTORUM: Well, the folks who are most likely to be committing these crimes. If you look at -- I mean, obviously, it was -- obviously, Muslims would be -- would be someone you'd look at, absolutely. Those are the folks who are -- the radical Muslims are the people that are committing these crimes, as we've -- by and large, as well as younger males.

I mean, these are things that -- not exclusively -- but these are things that you profile to -- to find your best -- the most likely candidate.

 

Huckabee Forum

In December of 2011, Senator Santorum participated in a foum that was moderated by Mike Huckabee. He states that the PATRIOT Act does not violate civil rights. He is asked about previous statements where he asserted that President Lincoln ran over civil rights in the Civil War and noted the differences between then and now.

 

South Carolina GOP Debate

In January of 2012, Senator Santorum participated in the South Caroline GOP debate. He is asked if, as President, he would have signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation granted the President the ability to arrest and indefinitly detain US citizens accused of being allied with al-Qaeda. He responds in a manner that indicates that he would have signed the bill, but that as President, he would maintain the previous rights of citizens to a trial to protest their detention.

vEVANS: Senator Santorum, 30 seconds to you, sir. Same question would you have signed, as president would you have signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law as written?
SANTORUM: So he gets two minutes and I get 30 seconds?
BAIER: Take whatever time you want.

SANTORUM: OK.
First off, I would say this, what the law should be and what the law has been is that if you are a United States citizen and you are detained as an enemy combatant, then you have the right to go to federal court and file a habeas corpus position and be provided a lawyer. That was the state of the law before the National Defense Authorization Act and that should be the state of the law today.
You should not have — you should not have — if you are not an American citizen, that’s one thing. But if you are a citizen and you are being held indefinitely, then you have the right to go to a federal court — and again, the law prior to the National Defense Authorization Act was that you had the right to go to a court, and for that court to determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether you could continue to be held. That is a standard that should be maintained and I would maintain that standard as president.
 

Voting Record

Military Commission Act of 2006

The Military Commissions Act passed in response to a supreme court ruling which stated that stated that military tribunals established by the Bush administrations did not align with the UCMJ. The Act defined unlawful enemy combatants and allowed for the military tribunals to be held. It passed the Senate 65-34. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Military Commission Act of 2006.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Military Commission Act of 2006.

USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act

In March of 2006, congress reauthorized the USA PATRIOT Act. Despite the fact that the PATRIOT Act had become a controversial topic, only 4 Senators opposed the act in the actual vote. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act.

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

In October of 2004, congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The act was meant to reform national intelligence, and it created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The act passed the Senate with only 2 dissenting votes. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002

In November 2002, the Senate passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Among other things, the act created the Department of Homeland Security, and set forth the jurisdiction of that department. In the vote, almost all Republicans supported the legislation and only a small percentage of Democrats opposed it. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The Patriot Act

In October of 2001, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act. Although the act passed the senate with 1 dissenting vote and 1 \"No Vote\", it has become one of the more divisive pieces of legislation. This is partly due to the expansion of governmental wiretapping privileges. Rick Santorum voted in favor of the PATRIOT Act.

Rick Santorum voted in favor of the PATRIOT Act.

Authorization for the Use of Force

Three days after the attacks of September 11, the senate authorized the use of military force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. The vote was unanimous. Rick Santorum voted to give President Bush the Authorization for the use of force.

Rick Santorum voted to give President Bush the Authorization for the use of force.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

This representative has not been identified as sponsoring or cosponsoring significant legislation related to this title.

Newt Gingrich

Summary

Speaker Gingrich is a firm proponent of the viewpoint that the US is in a perpetual state of war which places the US and every citizen in a state of continued danger that requires the loss of some liberties to protect the nation from its enemies. He is a strong proponent of the PATRIOT Act and has advocated for extending and possibly expanding the powers granted to the government under that legislation.

In 2003, Congressman Gingrich wrote in an article warning about the possibility that the PATRIOT Act may be used in areas other than national security. He stated that he did not support such mission creep and stated that the legislation may need to be reigned in.

While Congressman Gingrich stated that he opposes the extension of the PATRIOT Act into nondefense areas, he supports a broad use of governmental powers in national security. In 2008, Congressman Gingrich wrote a scathing article against actions taken by Congress to punish telephone companies that cooperated with the US government in handing over telephone records. He asserted that FISA laws were never meant to protect terrorists and therefore the laws were not violated when companies handed over the information. He refered to punishing those phone companies for violating the law as unilateral disarmament.

In a 2009 article, Congressman Gingrich stated that it was time for the US to begin profiling passengers to rule out terrorists. He called for a "Grand National Strategy" to address the new realities of the national security problems.

During the 2012 Presidential debates, Speaker Gingrich has been very forcefull in stating that the US is in danger and the government needs additional powers to protect its citizens. In the Reagan debate, he stated that the American people need to understand that there are people out there who want to kill us and if they have an ability to sneak in weapons of mass destruction, they're going to use them. In a national security debate hosted by CNN, Congressman Gingrich stated that the PATRIOT Act may need to be extended into other areas and that the American people need to understand that all of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives.

Speaker Gingrich has also expressed support for making the distinction between US citizens accused of crimes and citizens accused of acts of war aligned with al-Qaida. These discussions in the debates matched the development of that legislation under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation follows the reasoning set forth by Speaker Gingrich that US citizens accused of working with al-Qaida will not be afforded civil rights as if they were accused of a crime.

In a national security debate, Speaker Gingrich drove home this support for the separation of crimes and acts of war by stating that : "If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States. You cannot go to court."

In those same debates, Speaker Gingrich was asked if he supported the assassination of American citizens overseas that were working with al-Qaida. He stated that he agreed with President Obama's actions in those matters.

 

Refocus the Mission

In November of 2003, Congressman Gingrich wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Enterprise Institute discussing the PATRIOT Act. He stated that the act needed to be reined in to prevent abuse of civil liberties.

The Policies of War Refocus the Mission
By Newt Gingrich | San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

If prosecutors lack the necessary legislation to combat serious domestic crimes, then lawmakers should seek to give prosecutors separate legislation to provide them the tools they need.

America is at war; a war that, so far, most Americans do not realize is bigger, harder and longer than any other conflict this nation has faced in its history. It is a war on international terrorism, which we as a nation must commit to use every available tool to defeat.

Since that tragic day two years ago, America has skillfully employed several legal capabilities to great effect. Overseas, our military force has successfully disrupted the al Qaeda network in Afghanistan and has removed the raping, looting and murdering regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Within the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has made great strides in securing our borders and preparing first responders in the case of another domestic attack.

Yet, while we have achieved great success in these areas, we must ensure that the legal tools provided are not abused, and indeed, that they do not undermine the very foundation our country was built upon.

The USA Patriot Act, enacted shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, gives intelligence and law enforcement agencies a significantly increased ability to combat terrorism. While I applaud the great successes of the Patriot Act in aiding law enforcement and intelligence agencies, agencies that have successfully disrupted terrorist plots and cells within the United States, I strongly believe the Patriot Act was not created to be used in crimes unrelated to terrorism.

Recent reports, including one from the General Accounting Office, however indicate that the Patriot Act has been employed in investigations unconnected to terrorism or national security.

In our battle against those that detest our free and prosperous society, we cannot sacrifice any of the pillars our nation stands upon, namely respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. Our enemies in the war against terrorism abuse the Islamic law known as the Sharia that they claim to value. It is perversely used as justification for their horrific and wanton acts of violence.

We must demonstrate to the world that America is the best example of what a solid Constitution with properly enforced laws can bring to those who desire freedom and safety. If we become hypocrites about our own legal system, how can we sell it abroad or question legal systems different than our own?

I strongly believe Congress must act now to rein in the Patriot Act, limit its use to national security concerns and prevent it from developing "mission creep" into areas outside of national security.

Similarly, if prosecutors lack the necessary legislation to combat other serious domestic crimes, crimes not connected to terrorism, then lawmakers should seek to give prosecutors separate legislation to provide them the tools they need, but again not at the expense of civil rights. But in no case should prosecutors of domestic crimes seek to use tools intended for national security purposes.

This war against terrorism requires Americans and American institutions to have the "courage to be safe," this courage must include keeping to the American principles that have made this country great for more than 200 years.

 

Unilateral Disarmament

In February of 2008, Congressman Gingrich wrote an article detailing his views that FISA and other other Homeland Security tools should be supported in Congress.

The Unilateral Disarmament Democrats: Putting Trial Lawyers Ahead of Your Family's Safety
by Newt Gingrich
02/20/2008

It's hard to think of an action that has put as many lives at risk as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D.-Calif.) declaration of unilateral disarmament in the War on Terror last week.

By refusing to renew our ability to monitor terrorist communications overseas, Speaker Pelosi has put Americans at risk. She has blinded our counterterrorism capability and shut down America's most sophisticated defenses against the irreconcilable wing of Islam. As of midnight last Saturday, the law governing America's defense is totally inadequate to stop terrorists.

Why? Because the Democratic left believes lining the pockets of trial lawyers is more important than stopping terrorists.

Suing Telecom Companies for Helping Keep America Safe

At issue is the extension of the Protect America Act that was passed last August to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor foreigner-to-foreigner communications without a warrant. Congress has known for six months that this ability under the Protect America Act was set to expire on Sunday. So last week, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority, the Senate passed legislation to prevent the authority from lapsing.

But the House Democratic leadership, led by Speaker Pelosi, refused to let the House vote on the bill. This led to a House GOP walk out led by Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who said, "We will not stand idly by and watch the floor of the United States House of Representatives be abused for pure, political grandstanding at the expense of our national security."

Why? Not because the bill lacked bipartisan support, but because it lacked trial lawyer support. The Senate-passed bill contains a provision granting immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that have been cooperating with the government in the War on Terror.

Instead of putting her fellow Democrats in a position where they have to make a public vote in favor of trial lawyers over the safety of Americans, Speaker Pelosi opted to leave Washington for vacation.

'The President Just Wants to Protect American Telephone Companies'

As Robert Novak reported Monday, the trial lawyers -- the Democrats' most important source of political contributions -- have filed dozens of lawsuits seeking millions of dollars against phone companies for helping keep us safe by responding to the request of intelligence agencies to provide critical information about suspected terrorist communications without a warrant.

The continued cooperation of the telecom companies in monitoring terrorist communications is crucial to America's defense, which is why the Senate bill contained the immunity provision.

The simple fact is that if a company cooperates with the United States government in tracking down terrorists, it should receive our thanks and gratitude, not a lawsuit.

But some Democrats evidently don't agree. Note that House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) chose to attack the bill and the President's support for it by siding with the trial lawyers: "This is not about protecting Americans. The President just wants to protect American telephone companies."

The House's Unilateral Disarmament Contrasts Sharply With the Senate's Leadership

Speaker Pelosi's and the House Democratic leadership's unilateral disarmament contrasts sharply with the Senate Democrats who joined in the bipartisan 68-vote majority to strengthen America's defenses against terrorism.

The Senate bill was a compromise between Senate Democrats and the White House. As former Justice Official Andy McCarthy put it: "Democrats surely did not want to give President Bush this legislative victory, and President Bush certainly did not want to cave on these issues. But both sides compromised precisely because they understood that failing to do so, failing to preserve current surveillance authority, would endanger the United States."

Senate Democrats such as Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jim Webb (Va.) deserve thanks for putting the safety of America ahead of their partisan political interests.

The Law Was Never Meant to Protect Foreign Terrorists

So what is the state of our national defenses as I write this today?

The Protect America Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that was passed in 1978 to protect people inside the United States from being monitored by U.S. intelligence without a warrant proving they were agents of a foreign government.

This point is crucial: FISA was never meant to apply to foreigners outside the United States communicating with other foreigners outside the United States.

For 30 years, this was the understanding of the law. But a court case last year said that foreigner-to-foreigner overseas communications now have FISA protections -- that is, they require a warrant before they can be monitored -- because technology has changed and these non-U.S. communications now technically may pass through U.S. channels in the global telecommunications network.

The result is that for U.S. intelligence to monitor suspected terrorist communications between a Pakistani and an Afghani, they have to go through the time-consuming, bureaucratic procedure of having the attorney general and others approve lengthy affidavits proving that the targets are agents of a foreign power.

As of Midnight Saturday, American Lives Are at Risk

So as of midnight last Saturday, if U.S. intelligence discovers a new terrorist threat, it must spend valuable time preparing bureaucratic documents and seeking approval of busy officials before their communications can be monitored. By the time they've jumped through the bureaucratic hoops forced on them by House Democrats, it may be too late.

What's more, American telecommunications companies are less inclined to cooperate with intelligence officials because they lack protection from lawsuits under the law.

In short, Americans are at greater risk today than we were four days ago.

But Don't Take My Word for It -- Listen to the Intelligence Professionals

But don't just take my word for it. Here's what Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell -- an intelligence professional who served under President Clinton as well as President Bush -- told "Fox News Sunday":

"Our situation now, when the terrorist threat is increasing because they've achieved -- al Qaeda's achieved de facto safe haven in the border area of Pakistan and Afghanistan -- the threat is going up.

"And therefore, we do not have the agility and the speed that we had before to be able to move and try to capture their communications to thwart their planning.

"...[Our country is in] increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on. And the key is the -- if you think about the private sector global communications, many people think the government operates that.

"Ninety-eight percent of it is owned and operated by the private sector. We cannot do this mission without help and support from the private sector. And the private sector, although willingly helped us in the past, are now saying, 'You can't protect me. Why should I help you?'"

Obama and Clinton Were AWOL on Protecting Americans

The potential threat to our safety is so great that the situation calls for leaders of all political parties to come together to call for Congress to act -- without delay -- to restore these crucial authorities to U.S. intelligence.

Senators and presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama missed the vote that passed the Senate to extend the Protect America Act. But they now have an obligation to keep America safe by joining President Bush in calling for the House return to Washington and pass the Senate bill.

No presidential primary, no 12-day vacation, is more important than the safety and security of our country.

Our leaders and would-be leaders must act.

The United States Congress by its inaction has created a gap in our national defense. A gap we can now only hope will not be filled by our enemies. Congress has the solemn responsibility not to put politics over American security. The President should implore Congress, as a national security priority, to return to Washington and pass the Protect America Act to give our intelligence agencies the tools they need to defeat our enemies.

 

Time to Profile

In December of 2009, Congressman Gingrich wrote an article stating that it was time to start profiling individuals for the war on terror.

On Terrorism it's Time to Know, to Profile, and to Discriminate
by Newt Gingrich
12/30/2009

After the Christmas Day near disaster in Detroit, it is time for Americans to demand effective anti-terrorist actions.

Over eight years after 9/11 and 30 years after the Iranian illegal seizure of the United States embassy and the 444 day Iranian hostage crisis, Washington is still avoiding being intellectually honest about the war we are in.

Our Politically Correct Government is Making Life More Miserable For the Innocent

America is long overdue for a serious global strategy that includes targeting threats such as the terrorist killer at Fort Hood, the individuals recently arrested in Detroit, Denver and New York, and the five Americans detained in Pakistan.

The scale, persistence and sophistication of the enemy requires an honesty, a clarity, and a scale appropriate to the response.

Once again, instead of targeting the source of the threats, our politically correct government decides to make life more miserable for the travelling public by imposing hopelessly meaningless rules such as not allowing passengers to leave their seats in the last hour of the flight. Bound by cultural sensitivities, the default reaction of the bureaucracy is to review the procedures and wring its hands ineffectively.

Today, because our elites fear politically incorrect honesty, they believe that it is better to harass the innocent, delay the harmless, and risk the lives of every American than to do the obvious, the effective, and the necessary.

It’s Time to Be Honest About What We Know

Before a lot more Americans are killed we must acquire the courage to tell the truth and to act on that truth.

It is time to be honest about what we know.

We know our opponents are radical extremists of the irreconcilable wing of Islam (Islamists, some would call them).

We know they have an ideology which is anti-female, desires to impose fundamentalist Sharia as a form of law, is hostile to other religions and is prepared to kill the innocent to achieve their goals.

We know how to identify these enemies but our elites have refused to do so.

Protecting the Rights of Terrorists Has Been More Important than Protecting the Lives of Americans

In the Obama Administration, protecting the rights of terrorists has been more important than protecting the lives of Americans.

That must now change decisively.

It is time to know more about would-be terrorists, to profile for terrorists and to actively discriminate based on suspicious terrorist information.

The United States should track down the owners of every website that promotes terrorism and systematically root them out. It should be as dangerous to a person promoting terrorism as it is to execute an act of terrorism.

The same should apply to the electronic communications of every known radical (and using these communications to track down every unknown radical).

The United States Must Actively Root Out Every Terrorist Website

The people behind these websites should be barred from getting a U.S. visa if not in the United States (concurrently, we should make it easier -- not harder -- for non-terrorists to get visas because we want to encourage the law abiding while discriminating against the potential terrorist).

An integrated data base for threats should have been expected, we now learn that it does not exist. This must be fixed.

It should be reasonable for the flying public to have expected that when the Nigerian terrorist's father reported he was going to a terrorist training camp he should automatically have been barred from getting a visa and from flying into the United States.

We Need a “Grand National Strategy” That is Bigger Than the Debate Over Afghanistan

The emergence of Yemen as the new planning, equipping, and training center for terrorism should remind us we need a worldwide "grand national strategy" (to use the World War II term) that is far bigger than our current debate over Afghanistan.

Americans should also note that ABC News is reporting that two of the plotters to blow the Amsterdam to Detroit flight out of the air were released from Guantanamo in 2007, attended an “art rehabilitation program” in Saudi Arabia, were released and took up senior leadership positions in al Qaeda in Yemen. Americans should also know that nearly half of the remaining detainees in Guantanamo are from Yemen.

The recent arrest of five Americans in Pakistan and the report there are 25 British citizens training to be bombers in Yemen should remind us this is a global war.

Moreover, the report that 74 Guantanamo detainees who have been released are back in the war trying to kill Americans should stop any further effort to close Guantanamo or to release terrorists.

The New Honesty Should End Any Thought of a Civilian Trial in New York for KSM

This new honesty about the threat should end any thought of a civilian trial in New York for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad with its dangers for exposing American intelligence information. All terrorists including would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should be tried in military tribunals as part of a serious war strategy.

The Attorney General and every Justice Department appointee whose law firms provided pro bono counsel for terrorists should be fired and replaced with lawyers who believe the lives of Americans are more important than the rights of terrorists.

The United States must have a policy of effective interrogation to understand our enemies and disrupt their planned attacks

 

Reagan Debate

In September of 2011, Congressman Gingrich participated in the Republican Presidential debate at the Reagan library. He talks about his iniital support for a department of homeland security and his opposition to the way the plan has been implemented.

WILLIAMS: Speaker Gingrich, 30 seconds. I have another line of questioning. Go ahead.

GINGRICH: Yeah, I just want to go back, frankly, to the homeland security question, because it's important for us to confront this. I helped develop the model for homeland security. It hasn't been executed well.

The fact is, we have enemies who want to use weapons against us that will lead to disasters on an enormous scale. And the original goal was to have a Homeland Security Department that could help us withstand up to three nuclear events in one morning.

And we need to understand, there are people out there who want to kill us. And if they have an ability to sneak in weapons of mass destruction, they're going to use them. We need to overhaul and reform the department, but we need some capacity to respond to massive events that could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans in one morning.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

In November of 2011, Speaker Gingrich participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked about his support for assassinating US citizens who have aligned themselves with al-Qaida. He agrees that the President has the authority to do that.

Scott Pelley: And-- and that's time, Governor. Lady-- ladies and gentlemen, -- ladies and gentlemen, the applause are lovely. But we will not have doing. Thank you very much. We'll have-- we'll have courtesy for all of the candidates on the stage. Speaker Gingrich, if I could just ask you the same question, as President of the United States, would you sign that death warrant for an American citizen overseas who you believe is a terrorist suspect?
Newt Gingrich: Well, he's not a terrorist suspect. He's a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of Americans.

Scott Pelley: Not-- not found guilty by a court, sir.

Newt Gingrich: He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president.

Scott Pelley: Well, that's ex-judicial. That's-- it's not--

Newt Gingrich: Let me-- let me-- let me tell you a story-- let me just tell you this.

Scott Pelley: --the rule of law.

Newt Gingrich: It is the rule of law. That is explicitly false. It is the rule of law.

Scott Pelley: No.

Newt Gingrich: If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States. You cannot go to court. Let me be-- let me be very clear about this. There are two levels. There's a huge gap here that-- that frankly far too many people get confused over. Civil defense, criminal defense, is a function of being within the American law. Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war. And the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Speaker Gingrich participated in the national security debate on CNN. He stated that he supported extending and strengthening the PATRIOT Act. He speaks about possible nuclear attacks on US cities and the difference between criminal law and national defense.

ED MEESE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: At least 42 terrorist attacks aimed at the United States have been thwarted since 9/11. Tools like the Patriot Act have been instrumental in finding and stopping terrorists.

Shouldn't we have a long range extension of the investigative powers contained in that act so that our law enforcement officers can have the tools that they need?

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, only this weekend there was an alleged terror plot uncovered in New York City. What do you think?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that Attorney General Meese has raised a key point, and the key distinction for the American people to recognize is the difference between national security requirements and criminal law requirements.

I think it's desperately important that we preserve your right to be innocent until proven guilty, if it's a matter of criminal law. But if you're trying to find somebody who may have a nuclear weapon that they are trying to bring into an American city, I think you want to use every tool that you can possibly use to gather the intelligence.

The Patriot Act has clearly been a key part of that. And I think looking at it carefully and extending it and building an honest understanding that all of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives. This is not going to end in the short run. And we need to be prepared to protect ourselves from those who, if they could, would not just kill us individually, but would take out entire cities.

BLITZER: So, Speaker, just to clarify, you wouldn't change the Patriot Act?

GINGRICH: No, I would not change it. I'm not aware of any specific change it needs. And I'd look at strengthening it, because I think the dangers are literally that great. And again, I've spent years studying this stuff. You start thinking about one nuclear weapon in one American city and the scale of loss of life and you ask yourself, what should the president be capable of doing to stop that?

And you come up with a very different answer. Again, very sharp division. Criminal law, the government should be frankly on defense and you're innocent until proven guilty. National security, the government should have many more tools in order to save our lives.

...

BLITZER: I want to bring others in, but do you want to respond, Mr. Speaker?

GINGRICH: Yes. Timothy McVeigh succeeded. That's the whole point.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of Americans. I don't want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we're sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we're going to stop you.

 

2012 Presidential Campaign Website Statements

TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY

“We need an honest national dialogue and a determination to be candid about our opponents, honest about the problems, and passionately committed to the survival of America as a free country.” –Newt Gingrich

Keeping Americans safe is the most important duty of government. That is why the confusion and incoherence of the Obama Administration’s response to the threats facing America is so troubling. Newt advocates sound policies to keep Americans safe based on timeless American principles.

Sound policies to keep Americans safe

  • Understand our enemies and tell the truth about them. We are engaged in a long war against radical Islamism, a belief system adhered to by a small minority of Muslims but nonetheless a powerful and organized ideology within Islamic thought that is totally incompatible with the modern world.
  • Think big. America currently lacks a unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism. The result is that we currently view Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other danger spots of the globe as if they are isolated, independent situations. Only a grand strategy for marginalizing, isolating, and defeating radical Islamists across the world will lead to victory.
  • Know our values. America’s foreign policy must begin by understanding who we are as a country. We are, as Ronald Reagan said, the world’s “abiding alternative to tyranny.” Therefore, America’s foreign policy must be to ensure our own survival and protect those who share our values.
  • Military force must be used judiciously and with clear, obtainable objectives understood by Congress.
  • Implement an American Energy Plan to reduce the world’s dependence on oil from dangerous and unstable countries, especially in the Middle East.
  • Secure the border to prevent terrorist organizations from sneaking agents and weapons into the United States.
  • Incentivize math and science education in America to ensure the men and women of our Armed Forces always have the most advanced and powerful weapons in the world at their disposal.  

 

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

This representative has not been identified as sponsoring or cosponsoring significant legislation related to this title.

Mitt Romney

Summary

Governor Romney is a strong supporter of the PATRIOT Act, and the expanded powers given to the government for homeland security purposes. He supports the use of Guantanamo Bay for holding detainees, supports military tribunals, and opposes habeas corpus rights for detainees and civilian trials for terrorists. He has also expressed support for extraordinary rendition.

At a campaign event in 2007, Governor Romney stated that he supported enhanced interrogation techniques in a "ticking time bomb" scenario, but that he was opposed to torture. He praised President Bush for the passage of the PATRIOT Act, for the pursuit of wiretapping calls made by possible terrorists, and for interrogating prisoners.

During the New Hampshire Debate, Governor Romney was asked about previous statements that he believed mosques should be wiretapped if a credible threat existed. He reiterated this stance, but noted a judge's approval would be required. He stated that while he hears people worry about encroachment on civil liberties, he believes that the most important civil liberty that government can provide is to keep it's citizens alive.

At a 2009 policy speech, Governor Romney lamented the possibility that CIA interrogators would be investigated over possible violations. He stated that there were times when other countries helped us out by allowing us to have prisoners interrogated there. Investigations into those actions only weakens trust in the US and may lead to nations refusing these extraordinary renditions in the future.

As part of his 2012 campaign, Governor Romney issued a white paper on foreign policy. In that document, he outlined a vision of the world that had the US under constant assault from all sides, and noted that the military and other tools of the government needed to be adjust to accomodate those threats. He advocated for restructuring the DHS, for focusing on domestic radicalization, and for updating the authorization for the use of force to include new terrorist entities and new countries.

In 2012, Governor Romney stated in a debate that he would have signed the 2012 National Defese Authorization Act. That legislation gave the President the authorization to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens who are suspected on being allied with al-Qaeda.

 

Denison, Iowa Campaign Event

During a question and answer session in Denison, Iowa on July 20, 2007 Governor Romney stated that he supported the PATRIOT Act and enhanced interrogation techniques.

I support tough interrogation techniques, enhanced interrogation techniques, in circumstances where there is a ticking time bomb, a ticking bomb. I do not support torture, but I do support enhanced interrogation techniques to learn from terrorists what we need to learn to keep the bombs from going off.

Our president, for all the criticism he receives, has kept America safe these last six years, and he has done it by: One pursuing the Patriot Act, which has given us the intelligence information we needed to find out who the bad guys were and get them out before they got us, and No. 2, when al-Qaida was calling America, he made sure someone here was listening. And No. 3 ... when terrorists were detained, were captured, he made sure we interrogated them.

 

New Hampshire Debate

On September 5, 2007 Governor Romney participated in the Presidential debate in New Hampshire. He was asked about the PATRIOT Act, wiretapping, and other homeland security items.

GOLER: I want to talk, gentlemen, about presidential power and the war on terror here at home.

GOLER: Governor Romney, I'll start with you. You had said that the government should wiretap some mosques to keep tabs on Islamic extremists. Would you do this even without a judge's approval, sir?

ROMNEY: No, of course not. But use the law to follow people who are teaching doctrines of terror and hate, and make sure that if they're doing that in a mosque, in a school, in a playground, wherever it's being done, we know what's going on.

There's no question but that we're under threat from people who want to attack our country in this global effort. And I know there's a lot of attention paid to, if you will, trying to respond to what would happen if we were attacked. And that's appropriate.

We need to have first response up to the best standards. But our focus has to be on preventing an attack. And preventing attack means good intelligence work.

It means that people who are coming to this country terrorizing or talking about terror in such a way that it could lead to the violent death of Americans, we need to know about that, track them, follow them, and make sure that in every way we can, we know what they're doing and where they're doing it.

ROMNEY: And if it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that's exactly where we're going to go. Because we're going to do whatever it takes to protect the American people.

And I hear from time to time people say, hey, wait a second. We have civil liberties we have to worry about. But don't forget, the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive, and that's what we're going to have to do.

 

Foreign Policy Initiative Interview

On September 21, 2009 Governor Romney was interviewed by the foreign policy initiative concerning numerous issues. He spoke briefly about policies of rendition, enhanced interrogation, and their relation to foreign policy. After discussing the four major strategies of government to include a US model, a Russian model, a Chinese model, and a jihadist model, Governor Romney states the following:

Of the four major strategies, only ours includes freedom. And that's why it's been so essential for America over this last half a century to be so strong in the defense of freedom, and the promotion of freedom, and standing with our friends regardless of the consequences. ... I know a lot of people, like myself, are very troubled that we would even consider having a Justice Department Investigation into the CIAs interrogation techniques. These people who got answers that were needed to protect the American people and save American lives are heroes in my view and they should not be defendants. That's why you have seven former heads of the CIA saying "Don't pursue that".

One of the reasons that you don't pursue that, by the way, goes back to my original point. Which is that the interrogations in some cases where held in places where our friends, our closest friends, were convinced by us saying "We need your help, we need to interrogate some people, will you help us out? Will you locate these sites in your country?" Our friends know that if this investigation proceeds, they're gonna be exposed. There are gonna be stories in their newspapers and their gonna suffer political heat. Our friends around the world are asking themselves, "Is it better to be a friend of the United States or a foe?" That has dramatic implications for the future of freedom, democracy, human rights, and free enterprise.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

In November of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked about his support for assasinating US citizens who have aligned themselves with al-Qaida. He agrees that the President has the authority to do that.

Scott Pelley: And that is time. Thank you, sir. Governor Romney. Governor Romney, recently President Obama ordered the death of an American citizen who was suspected of terrorist activity overseas. Is it appropriate for the American president on the president's say-so alone to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?

Mitt Romney: Absolutely. In this case, this is an individual who had aligned himself with a-- with a group that had declared war on the United States of America. And-- and if there's someone that's gonna-- join with a group like Al-Qaeda that declares war on America and we're in a-- in a-- a war with that entity, then of course anyone who was bearing arms for that entity is fair game for the United States of America. Let me go back-- let me go back and just-- and just talk for a moment about the issue that the issue that a number of people have spoken about which is their definition of how their foreign policy might be different than this president.

My foreign policy's pretty straightforward. I would be guided by an overwhelming conviction that this century must be an American century where America has the strongest values, the strongest economy, and the strongest military. An American century means the century where America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.

We have a president right now who thinks America's just another nation. America is an exceptional nation. We have a president who thinks that the way to conduct foreign policy is through his personal affects on other people. I'm-- I believe the way to conduct foreign policy is with American strength. Everything I do will make America stronger. And I will stand and use whatever means necessary within the law to make sure that we protect America's citizens and Americans' rights.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Romney participated in the national security debate on CNN. He spoke about the difference between acts of war and crimes and the need to pursue measures outside of criminal law for those who participate in activities against the US. 

BLITZER: I'm going to give everyone a chance to respond, but let me get this one question from CNN Politics, that came to cnnpolitics.com, and then we'll bring in the rest of you.

This was the question: "TSA pat-downs: violation of civil liberty or a necessity to ensure national security?"

Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: Well, we can do a lot better than the TSA system. It's going to get get better over time. We can use better technology. We can also identify people who are lower risk and allow them to go through the process more quickly than the current process.

But let's come back to the issue that seems to be so confusing here.

And that is Congressman Paul talked about crime. Newt Gingrich was right. There are different categories here. There's crime and there are rights that are afforded to American citizens under our Constitution and those that are accused of crime. Then there's war. And the tool of war being used today in America and around the world is terror. There's a different body of law that relates to war.

And for those that understand the difference between the two, they recognize that we need tools when war is waged domestically to ensure that, as president of the United States, you can fulfill your first responsibility, which is to protect the life, liberty and property of American citizens and defend them from foes domestic and foreign.

And that means, yes, we'll use the Constitution and criminal law for those people who commit crimes, but those who commit war and attack the United States and pursue treason of various kinds, we will use instead a very different form of law, which is the law afforded to those who are fighting America.

that we need tools when war is waged domestically to ensure that as president of the United States you can fulfill your first responsibility which is to protect the life, liberty and property of American citizens and defend them from foes domestic and foreign. That means yes we'll use the constitution and criminal law for those people who commit crimes but those who commit war and attack the United States and pursue treason of various kinds we will use instead a very different form of law which is the law afforded to those who are fighting America.

 

Foreign Policy Paper

In November of 2011, Governor Romney's presidential campaign released a white paper focusing on foreign policy. Part of that paper discussed homeland security aspects.

Restructure Our Diplomatic Apparatus

America’s diplomatic and foreign assistance agencies are the instruments by which the United States projects its soft power to advance our interests and values. Today we are underutilizing our soft power. In significant part, this is due to the antiquated organizational structure of our Department of State, which divides diplomatic authority country-by-country and then across various crisscrossing functional and regional bureaus. Our foreign-assistance capabilities are then further spread out across various agencies, from United States Agency for International Development to the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury. This balkanized scheme scrambles lines of authority, blurs priorities, and creates accountability gaps through which failures to unpunished and successes go unrecognized. The disadvantages of the current structure dissipate America’s soft power. President Obama has attempted to overcome these difficulties by appointing presidential “czars” or “special envoys” to address various regional problems, but these ad hoc arrangements lack the legislatively endowed directive and budgetary power to be effective. Mitt Romney recognizes that what we need instead is a governmental structure that allows for regional strategic planning focused on our formidable soft power resources. He will move to reform all of our diplomatic and assistance agencies to foster joint regional strategic planning, clear lines of authority, and personal accountability for results. Romney will work with Congress and relevant Executive branch agencies to begin a process of reorganization toward unified budgetary and directive authority under one official responsible for all diplomatic and assistance programs within a particular region. These will be designed to mirror the regional military combatant commands. This would improve coordination between our military and diplomatic agencies so that their missions reinforce each other, instead of working at cross purposes as is currently the case.

Empower Our Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Agencies

In the same way we must ensure that our soft power agencies are properly structured to allow them to carry out their duties in an effective and strategic manner, we must also make sure that those agencies charged with combating terrorism have the clearest mandate to keep America safe. As president, Mitt Romney will empower all relevant military, intelligence, and homeland security agencies with the appropriate legal authority and policy guidance to dismantle terrorist groups and prevent terrorist attacks on our homeland and on targets abroad. The saying that we always fight the last war is familiar, but familiarity should not lead us to miss that maxim’s sober warning. Our homeland-security professionals must be able to focus on the threats to come, not simply the threats that came before.

Focus on Cybersecurity: In the first 100 days of his administration, Romney will order full interagency reviews to develop and deliver to his desk a unified strategy to bolster America’s cyber- security. Attacks on our digital infrastructure can take many forms. We have been and will continue to be subject to militarized cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism, cyber-espionage, and private-sector theft of intellectual property. A cyber-attack that debilitates or compromises any of our vital computer systems — from the electric grid, to nuclear plant cooling systems, to our intelligence databases — could be devastating, and the perpetrators could be extremely difficult to trace, apprehend, and punish. President Obama has taken some positive steps to confront this problem, but he has not yet updated our national cyber-security strategy, promulgated in 2003, an eternity ago in the rapidly evolving digital world. And his efforts so far have not adequately engaged our defense and intelligence resources. The multi-faceted threat we face in cyberspace requires a much more coordinated effort by the Department of Defense, the intelligence agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury to secure America. This effort must prevent duplication, maximize information sharing, and bind together the disparate competencies of these agencies.

Focus on Domestic Radicalization: Rising alongside cyber-attacks as an emerging threat to the homeland is the radicalization of U.S. citizens and residents leading to “homegrown” Islamist terrorism. The number of terror plots hatched by domestic Islamist terrorists has spiked in recent years as our terrorist adversaries abroad have been less successful in trying to infiltrate us from outside and focused more on radicalizing and recruiting American citizens and residents to become operatives. The Fort Hood shootings, carried out by a member of our armed forces, and the attempted Times Square bombing, planned by a naturalized U.S. citizen, are only the most well- known of these plots.

Mitt Romney will make countering this mounting danger a top priority. He will charge our federal agencies not only with designing better frameworks to share intelligence “horizontally” among themselves, but also with redoubling their efforts to work with state and local authorities to share intelligence “vertically.” Our counterterrorism professionals will need to continue to develop “fusion centers” and other innovative systems to collect and systematically analyze information about domestic activities. They will need the capacity, consistent with U.S. law, to collect and unflinchingly analyze communications between terrorist networks abroad and people within our borders. They must bolster partnerships with Muslim-American communities, build trust in the spirit of “community policing,” work with community leaders to identify threats and suspicious activity, develop our database of knowledge about the hallmarks of radicalization and recruitment, and train local and state authorities to understand those hallmarks and act on them at the earliest appropriate moment. Enhancing our ability to fight this side of the terror threat will inevitably raise questions about the protection of privacy and civil liberties. Romney will require that any counterterrorism strategy must contain measures to balance the increased capabilities of our analytic technologies against legitimate concerns about the preservation of our constitutional rights.

Clarify Counterterrorism Legislative Mandates

To ensure that our military and counterterrorism professionals have the authority they need to keep America safe from asymmetric threats, Mitt Romney will take steps to clarify the legislative authorities underlying our fight against terror.

Update the AUMF: The chief source of statutory authority for the war on terrorism — the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress shortly after the attack of September 11, 2001 — is only a few sentences long, its language is quite general, and it has not been updated since its enactment. While the statute clearly authorizes force against al Qaeda and the Taliban, it does not directly address what other groups might also be covered. Recent administrations have interpreted the AUMF expansively to include those who substantially support forces associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban, but as more time passes, the connections between those two groups and the terror threats we face will become more and more attenuated. These new terror groups — like al-Shabaab in Somalia — may share al Qaeda’s ideological objectives but lack close operational ties with the larger network. This leaves our counterterror forces to operate in a legal limbo, possibly hamstringing them when they should enjoy the full freedom of action and deserve the full protection of law. Romney will work with Congress to clarify this portion of the AUMF, amending it to authorize the use of force against any foreign terrorist entity that is waging war against the United States.

Unify Oversight of DHS: Mitt Romney will also work with Congress to unify the over 108 authorizing committees and subcommittees in Congress that oversee the Department of Homeland Security. Whereas other agencies answer to only one authorizing committee in each house of Congress, since its formation the Department of Homeland Security has had to answer to a panoply of committees. This is a legacy of the Department’s swift formation from a number of disparate offices spread over numerous agencies. It creates many problems. The obligation to report to and testify before such a large number of committees dominates the working hours of Department officials. Their time would be far better spent focused on operational tasks that make America safer. The committees also create a rash of inconsistent mandates and priorities for the Department, confusing its mission. Simply put, there are far too many cooks in the congressional kitchen. Mitt Romney would strengthen the Department and allow its professionals to carry out their work more effectively by seeking to form only one authorizing committee in each house responsible for the Department’s operations. Though it is difficult to convince members of Congress to relinquish oversight power when national security is at stake, Romney will work closely with Congress to ensure that this important reform is realized.

 

South Carolina Debate

In January of 2012, Governor Romney participated in the GOP debate in South Carolina. He was asked if he would have signed the 2012 national defense authorization act (NDAA). The legislation was signed by President Obama on Dec 31, 2011 and gave him the right to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens named as enemy combatants on US soil. He states that he would indeed have signed the legislation.

EVANS: Governor Romney, when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, he enacted a provision allowing him to indefinitely detain American citizens in U.S. military custody, many, including Congressman Paul, have called it unconstitutional. At the same time the bill did provide money to continue funding U.S. troops.
Governor Romney, as president, would you have signed the National Defense Act as written?

ROMNEY: Yes, I would have. And I do believe that it is appropriate to have in our nation the capacity to detain people who are threats to this country, who are members of al Qaeda.
Look, you have every right in this country to protest and to express your views on a wide range of issues but you don’t have a right to join a group that is killed Americans, and has declared war against America. That’s treason. In this country we have a right to take those people and put them in jail.
And I recognize, I recognize that in a setting where they are enemy combatants and on our own soil, that could possibly be abused. There are a lot of things I think this president does wrong, lots of them, but I don’t think he is going to abuse this power and I that if I were president I would not abuse this power. And I can also tell you that in my view you have to choose people who you believe have sufficient character not to abuse the power of the presidency and to make sure that we do not violate our constitutional principles.
But let me tell you, people who join al Qqaeda are not entitled to rights of due process under our normal legal code. They are entitled instead to be treated as enemy combatants

Rick Perry

Summary

Governor Perry has not been vocal in his support or opposition to the PATRIOT Act or other Homeland Security provisions. In June of 2007, Governor Perry signed Senate Bill 11 into law. The legislation expanded wire taps in Texas into kidnapping and money laundering cases, and expanded the criminal street gang database.

 

Aggressive Stance to Protect the Homeland

In September of 2004, Governor Perry released a statement noting steps that Texas was taking to increase homeland security efforts in Texas.

Texas Is Taking Aggressive Steps to Protect the Homeland
Saturday, September 11, 2004 • Editorial

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks to the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce
Three years ago, our nation was forever changed by the tragic events of September 11. The events of that day, and the terrorist attacks that have taken place around the world since then, have taught us that our enemies go to great lengths to execute their evil designs.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to take every step we can to protect our homeland and ensure the safety of our citizens, our property and the freedom we cherish. And today, because of the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local leaders, Texas has never been better prepared for any type of emergency.

My first priority as governor of Texas is to secure the safety of our people. Immediately after September 11, my office began working to strengthen our state’s ability to prevent and respond to the threat of terrorism. We created the Texas Department of Homeland Security to coordinate efforts between federal, state and local authorities, and the strategic plan we developed was the first to be approved by the federal government.

As part of our comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, I set forth three principal objectives to detect, deter and defend against terrorist threats.

Our first priority must be to prevent terrorist attacks in Texas. Our best defense is a good offense of increased security, better risk detection and improved communication. The state and federal governments have provided funding to enhance coordination and communication among law enforcement agencies, increase intelligence, and strengthen facility security. And I established the Texas Security Alert and Analysis Center to coordinate the state’s intelligence, response and warning systems.

Secondly, we must reduce the state’s vulnerability to terrorism. My office continues to work closely with state agencies and the private sector to identify and assess risks, and we have provided greater protections for critical infrastructure like ports, airports and other key assets.

Finally, we must be able to respond rapidly and effectively to minimize damage if an attack on Texas soil ever occurs. That’s why the state and federal governments have provided funding to better train first responders, equip hospitals and healthcare providers with the skills to respond to a bio-terrorist attack, and help communities purchase items such as decontamination equipment, hazmat suits and other equipment to support regional response plans.

Since 9-11, the state and federal governments have committed more than $1.1 billion to help secure the Texas homeland. These funds have vastly improved our communications systems and helped better prepare first responders, law enforcement personnel and health care officials across the state.

With an international border that stretches more than 1,200 miles, hundreds of miles of coastline, numerous petrochemical facilities, and several of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, Texas is not an implausible target for an attack by terrorist enemies

But because of our efforts, Texans can feel secure and be safe in their homes and offices, at the airport or in their cars, and at any place they gather to play or worship.

While we cannot prevent every disaster, be it manmade or natural, we can and must take every step possible to prevent and prepare for emergencies. In Texas, we will continue to patrol, monitor, train and take every precaution to detect and prevent terrorist attacks. We will continue to protect our citizens, our homes and places of business, and our natural resources from assault or contamination. And we will continue to work together as a team with government and private leaders to ensure that our way of life and the freedom we cherish is available to all in future generations.

 

Foiled Terror Attack

In August of 2006, Governor Perry issued a statement noting a foiled terror attack and the need to remain vigilant against terror attacks. 

Statement on Foiled Terrorist Plot
Thursday, August 10, 2006 • Press Release

AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry issued the following statement on news of the foiled terrorist plot:

“Once again we are reminded that the events of 9/11 must not fade in our collective memory because the threat posed to the safety and security of our people remains real.

“The good news is this plot has been foiled, and measures to increase security at airports are being taken.

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has raised the threat level for all commercial flights and large charter aircraft in the United States.

“My state office of homeland security conducted a conference call at 11 a.m. today with airport security officials at more than 30 airports in Texas to ensure they have all the assistance they need.

“I also talked to the heads of both American Airlines and Continental Airlines earlier today and offered the state’s assistance if needed.

“We remain in close contact with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI regarding this foiled plot and the security implications to the state. And we will continue to work closely with federal officials to keep our people and resources secure.

“We face a persistent enemy that will continue the effort to destroy our way of life. That means all Texans must be vigilant and all Texans can know that the state government is taking these threats very seriously and taking numerous precautions – some seen, and others not – to keep them safe.”

 

Senate Bill 11

In June of 2007, Governor Perry signed Senate Bill 11 into law. The legislation expanded wire taps in Texas into kidnapping and money laundering cases, and expanded the criminal street gang database.

Gov. Perry Signs Homeland Security Legislation
Wednesday, June 06, 2007 • Press Release

SAN ANTONIO – Gov. Rick Perry today signed Senate Bill 11 into law creating the Border Security Council, which will assist the governor in allocating border security funding. SB 11 also establishes procedures for first responders to work together to provide mutual aid in times of an emergency, and expands law enforcement agencies’ ability to use wiretapping to detect and deter serious crimes.

“We must tighten the law enforcement noose on drug cartels, human smugglers and criminal enterprises that exploit our porous border, poison our children and destroy our way of life,” Perry said. “Thanks to actions taken by the 80th Legislature, more officers will be positioned along the border to stop criminal enterprises, more tools and technology will be used to assist in the fight, and more surge operations will be funded to close down key trafficking corridors.”

SB 11 does the following:

  • Creates the Border Security Council to advise the governor on how best to allocate border security funds along the border. The governor appoints all members and the chair.
  • Streamlines procedures for local government entities to engage in local mutual aid agreements. This includes defining the role of emergency management directors, creating disaster districts, outlining the process for political subdivisions to request and provide mutual aid assistance, and providing for the reimbursement of costs.
  • Expands the Department of Public Safety Commission from 3 to 5 commissioners.
  • Outlines provisions for amateur radio station license holders to participate in emergency management activities.
  • Expands the use of wiretaps to include kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, human trafficking and money laundering.
  • Authorizes the Health and Human Services Commission to maintain a registry of certain immunization and medication administered during a disaster.
  • Enhances information that can be collected in the criminal street gang database.
  • Requires the Governors Division of Emergency Management provide crisis management training to appointed public officers whose job duties include emergency preparedness or response.

Since 2005, Gov. Perry has spearheaded the state-led strategy of putting more boots on the ground, more helicopters in the sky, and more resources in the hands of border law enforcement in order to curb criminal activity along the Texas – Mexico border. Local sheriffs’ offices and police departments have worked side-by-side with their state and federal partners during these highly successful border security operations, including Operation Linebacker, Operation Rio Grande and, most recently, Operation Wrangler.

Perry also noted the importance of local governments now being able to sign mutual aide agreements so that first responders from surrounding communities can immediately come to the aide of their neighbors in a time of crisis.

“If a city has been hit by a wildfire, a chemical spill, a biological threat, or an act of terrorism, bureaucracy should not impede compassion,” Perry said. “This bill removes bureaucratic hurdles when seconds count and lives are in jeopardy.”

SB 11 takes effect September 1, 2007.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Perry participated in a debate on CNN focusing on national security. He stated in that debate that he supported an extension of the PATRIOT Act, and strengthening it as new technologies arise.

BLITZER: Governor Perry...

(APPLAUSE)

... you proposed legislation that would criminalize these TSA pat-downs under certain circumstances.

PERRY: Right.

BLITZER: Explain what you have in mind.

PERRY: Well, here's what I would do with the TSA; I would privatize it as soon as I could and get rid of those unions.

(APPLAUSE)

It's working in Denver. They have a program where they're privatizing it. And the airlines and other private-sector groups work together to do the security in our airports. And it makes abundant good sense.

And I agree with most of my colleagues here on the stage when we talk about the Patriot Act. And we need to keep it in place. We need to have -- strengthen it if that's what's required, to update it with new technologies as they come along, Newt.

But here's the other issue that I think we've really failed at, and that is in our ability to collect intelligence around the world. And this administration in particular has been an absolute failure when it comes to expending the dollars and supporting the CIA and the military intelligence around the world, to be able to draw in that intelligence that is going to truly be able to allow us to keep the next terrorist attack from happening on American soil.

Jon Huntsman

Reagan Debate

In September of 2011, Governor Huntsman participated in the Republican debate at the Reagan library. He stated that the there was a fortress mentality on homeland security in the US.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Cain, along these same lines, Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said that federal disaster aid -- this has been a big discussion of late -- shouldn't be given out unless there are kind of concurrent spending cuts to offset the cost. Do you join in on that?

CAIN: I believe that there's enough money to go around. And I believe that, yes, you can find the concurrent spending cuts in order to be able to do that. No, don't eliminate FEMA. Let's fix FEMA. Let's fix Homeland Security.

There's a responsible way for the federal government to do the things that it should do. Running organizations like the TSA, I would agree with Representative Paul, no. Having the federal government responsible for trying to micromanage Medicare, no, trying to micromanage education, no. The federal government is not good at micromanaging anything. This is why I believe in empowering the states to do more and limit what the federal government does with regard to those kinds of program.

WILLIAMS: Governor Huntsman, you know, the upside to this is, I guess, you could fly with your shoes on. The downside is, who does the job the next day?

HUNTSMAN: Let me just say, while this is an important discussion that we're having, we've spent about 15 minutes now on homeland security. The greatest gift we could give this country on the 10th year anniversary, Rick, is a Homeland Security Department that really works, that doesn't give people a sense when they walk through they're going to get shaken down, a department that doesn't make us all feel like there's a fortress security mentality that is not American. And I've got to say there's something wrong with that.

But I'm guessing there are a whole lot of people tuned in around this country who are saying, why are we spending all this time talking about the smaller issues? We've got 14 million people unemployed. We've got millions more in this country who are so dispirited they've quit looking. This is a human tragedy that we're talking about, moms and dads and families that completely go without.

And all I would ask the people here and the people tuning in around this country, look at where we stand in terms of how we are going to get this country back on its feet.

And I just want to point out that we have offered -- based on where I've been and what I have done -- as governor of a state where we became number one in job creation, where we fixed the economy, made it the best economy for business in this entire country. We've got to get back on our feet.

This is a crisis situation. While all these other issues are important, let's not lose sight, folks, of the bottom line here. We've got to get back in the game as a country. We've got to make this economy work.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Huntsman participated in the national security debate on CNN. In that debate, he was asked about the PATRIOT Act and states that while the US should be careful relating to civil rights, he supports the need for such legislation.

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, where do you stand on the Patriot Act? Do you believe it's un-American, as Congressman Paul has suggested?

HUNTSMAN: I think we have to be very careful in protecting our individual liberties. We forget sometimes that we have a name brand in this world. And I have seen it shine living overseas. And when our light shines based on the values that we live up to and represent, it moves people, it moves countries, it moves events like nothing else can.

We are a nation of values. And forever, like what we're trying to do in this debate tonight, we'll try to find that balancing act between our individual liberties and security. But we also have to remember as we're talking about security, I see Tom Ridge in the audience here, a great former secretary of Homeland Security. He will tell you, he will tell you that we cannot secure the homeland out of Washington, D.C., itself. We've got to make sure that we have partnerships with governors and mayors, that this is a national effort.

No longer can we compartmentalize intelligence. Those are the old days. Today we've got to share. We've got to make sure that we are prepared as a people, we are prepared not only as a federal government, but we're prepared as well as a local government in a collaborative and sharing kind of relationship.

 

CBS Foreign Policy Debate

On November 11, 2011 Governor Huntsman participated in the CBS foreign policy debate. He was asked about torture and discussed his opposition to torture and waterboarding.

Scott Pelley: Let's give-- let's give-- Governor Huntsman an opportunity to take 30 seconds on that question.

Jon Huntsman: Thank you. Gets a little lonely over here in Siberia.

Rick Santorum: Tell me about it.

Jon Huntsman: First of all, let me thank the sailor on the ship. I have two boys in the United States Navy. And all they wanna do is go on to fight, protect, and defend the great freedoms that we share in this country. This country has values. We have a name brand in the world. I've lived overseas four times. I've been an ambassador for my country three times. I've lived overseas and done business.

We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project which include liberty, democracy, human rights, and open markets when we torture. We should not torture. Waterboarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries. And we lose that ability to project values that a lot of people in corners of this world are still relying on the United States to stand up for them.

 

2012 Campaign Website Statements

RENEWING AMERICA'S LEADERSHIP IN THE WORLD

Counter Terrorism

Following the attacks of September 11, the United States invaded Afghanistan to deny the future use of that country as a safehaven to terrorists. In many respects, we have been successful: we removed the Taliban from power, drove Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups into hiding, degraded the ability of terrorists to train freely and plot attacks against our homeland, and our intelligence and military forces killed Osama Bin Laden across the border.

These successes notwithstanding, there are still terrorists active throughout the world who seek to attack America. Whereas the focal point of the war on terror was more easily identified in the past, now the United States must have evolving strategies and capabilities to deal with threats emanating from a more diverse geography, including Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific. The best defense is a good offense. We will not relent in finding these terrorists where they hide and eliminating the threat they represent.

Al-Qaeda and other groups have evolved since 9-11 in response to our efforts against them, and we must adapt accordingly. Terrorist networks have become more diffuse, their modes of operation have become more difficult to detect, and the sophistication of their potential means of attack is growing. They are being creative in considering new ways to target our economy, our security, and indeed our daily psyche. Whether employing technical means such as cyber attacks and the targeting of critical infrastructure, or crude one-man shooting sprees in crowded public venues, we must be as flexible in our prevention as they are in their execution. Above all, we cannot allow these groups to acquire and employ weapons of mass destruction.

President Obama broke a pledge to close Guantanamo Bay prison facility; this flawed approach to leadership leaves us all uncertain as to the future of not only Gitmo, but a multitude of matters that impact our security. The professional men and women who take this fight to the enemy on our behalf should not have to wonder whether they'll later be prosecuted by the justice department for doing their jobs in good faith. And Americans should know that their government has a constitutionally sound plan for dealing with terrorists who seek to kill them.

Protecting the United States today requires that the President take the initiative on several fronts. Our military and intelligence services must transform and adapt; we must be more creative in the tools we can bring to bear in the fight; we need relationships overseas where terrorists hide; and we need to make clear to the American people that the White House has a plan.

Jon Huntsman Priorities:

The U.S. force structure is still in many respects a relic of the Cold War. As our overall posture is "right-sized" we must equip our military, intelligence community and special forces to agilely target the threat anywhere and anytime.

Creative approaches to countering the terrorist threat. The U.S. should increasingly employ creative means to disrupt terrorist networks, such as cracking down on finance networks, improving information operations, investing in new ISR technologies, and taking forward-thinking and calculated risks in building a 21st century intelligence apparatus.

Partnership with friends and allies. We should continue to train Afghan security forces to address their native threats, and our aid to Pakistan should be firmly quid pro quo, based on Islamabad's genuine efforts to counter terrorism. Our treaty allies can be further encouraged to share intelligence and develop their own capacity for action against terrorist networks as we form prudent relationships with groups and governments wherever terrorists hide.

Keeping us safe and maintaining our values. Guantanamo Bay is an imperfect solution. But we must keep enemy fighters off the battlefield, maintain mechanisms to derive useful intelligence from detainees, and have a suitable detention facility until individual cases can be adjudicated. But it is also a priority that as we defend ourselves, we maintain our international legal commitments, and more importantly, abide by the spirit and letter of our Constitution. This includes ensuring that our counterterrorism professionals acting in good faith and within their duties need never doubt whether their own government will turn on them.

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