Mitt Romney on Homeland Security

Last Updated : Jan 19, 2012


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.


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.


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:


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.


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. 


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.


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.


[1] Website: Fox News Article: Mitt Romney Supports 'Tough Interrogation Techniques' Author: AP Accessed on: 06/21/2011

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