Michele Bachmann on Homeland Security
Republican Representative (MN-6); 2011 GOP frontrunner
BACHMANN: Well, I think, when it comes to the issue of Benghazi, what happened was so appalling that people simply want to have an answers. We don't take it lightly. Security threats are nothing to take likely. In Benghazi and Libya, when the events happened, this was a highly volatile time. There were over 4,000 threats that had come. And then, when the event occurred, there was no military rescue that was ordered. There's questions about that. And the big question in many people's minds is where did this false narrative come from to blame a video, rather than the terrorist actions of Ansar al-Sharia which were evident on the ground? So, I think what this committee is doing is taking a very careful look at a very deliberate pace to go through depositions of people on the ground to find the truth of what happened. That's all people want is the truth.
And a top official seemed, incredulously, apparently convinced that the only way to curtail this crisis is to put a full, frontal attack on the free speech rights of American citizens. I want to be perfectly clear: this isn't just about an [anti-Islamic] movie [which ignited riots and spurred numerous embassy attacks]. This was an intentional act that was done by radical Islamists who seek to impose their set of beliefs on the rest of the world, and we will not stand for it!
Now, when you hear the Muslim Brotherhood's mission statement, I think you'll understand why former Pres. Mubarak would want to stop the violent Muslim Brotherhood. The brotherhood is a political entity, and this is their motto. It reads: "Allah is our objective. The prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Recently the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Morsi, even said, "Jerusalem shall be our capital, Allah willing."
In the early days of the American republic, our government was busy paying extortion bribes to people in North Africa in the Barbary states, trying to stop them from attacking our ships and taking our people to become their slaves. Fully 1/6 of our US budget at that time was going to pay these extortion bribes. Then along came Thomas Jefferson, in 1801. And he decided, we're going to end this policy of appeasement. So he built a Navy, and he deployed that American Navy to the enemy. Our troops were victorious, and the message to the world was clear: We will not tolerate attacks on our citizens or our sovereignty, and you do so at your own peril.
Thomas Jefferson's policy of strength and determination, in complete contrast to the policy of the Obama administration of apology and appeasement, has been our American tradition of foreign policy.
Cain: It was an enhanced interrogation technique.
Q: You would return to that policy?
Cain: Yes, I would return to that policy. I don't see it as torture.
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 also would like to say that today, under Barack Obama, he is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA. You need to understand that today, when we interdict a terrorist on the battlefield, we have no jail for them. We have nowhere to take them. We have no CIA 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.
CAIN: You would have to consider the entire situation.
BACHMANN: This is a very serious issue. For any candidate to say that they would release the prisoners at Guantanamo in exchange for a hostage would be absolutely contrary to the historical nature of the US and what we do in our policy. That's naive; we cannot do that. The US has done well because we have an absolute policy: We don't negotiate.
CAIN: No, I believe in the philosophy of we don't negotiate with terrorists. I would never agree to letting hostages in Guantanamo Bay go. No, that wasn't the intent at all.
BACHMANN: Because terrorists who commit acts against US citizens, people who are from foreign countries who do that, do not have any rights under our Constitution, nor Miranda rights. We've also seen that Guantanamo Bay has yielded significant information. In fact, we've learned that that led to the capture and the killing of bin Laden. This is a tool that we need to have in order to be able to prostitute the new type of war, the new type of warfare, and the new type of terrorists that this country is dealing with.
PAUL: She turns our rule of law on its head. I thought our courts recognized that you had to be tried. We've brought nearly 300 individuals from Pakistan and other places, given them a trial in this country, and put them in prison.
Bachmann: I support DOD efficiency but defense spending did not cause our budget crisis & we must maintain our military strength.
Cain: National security and protecting our borders from foreign invaders is something we as a nation really can't put a price on. Mounting deficit spending is a concern, but this spending is necessary for all Americans to enjoy our freedoms and liberties.
Bachmann: Our security requires a strong defense and wise leadership. I will preserve our military strength while using it judiciously.
Cain: As president, I'd support any cuts to wasteful spending in the military, but nothing more. Military is key to US safety.
Bachmann: We must reserve military force for situations where we've been attacked, are threatened, or have vital interests at stake.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Blackburn, R-TN]: This bill gets the Federal Government--and Federal taxpayers--out of the business of buying radio programming they do not agree with. This is a bill that is long overdue. Regardless of what you think of NPR, its programming or statements by its management, the time has come to cut the umbilical cord from the taxpayer support that has become as predictable as an entitlement program. Much has changed in the media landscape since the wiretaps, to seek certain business records, and to gather intelligence on lone terrorists who are not affiliated with a known terrorist group. The Patriot Act works. It has proved effective in preventing terrorist attacks and protecting Americans. To let these provisions expire would leave every American less safe.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Conyers, D-MI]: Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows a secret FISA court to authorize our government to collect business records or anything else, requiring that a person or business produce virtually any type record. We didn't think that that was right then. We don't think it's right now. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person's privacy. And so I urge a "no" vote on the extension of these expiring provisions.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. CONYERS: Earlier this year, in the Protect America Act, PAA, amendments were made to FISA, giving the Government enhanced flexibility to collect foreign intelligence information. But the broad scope of the authority without up-front court approval raised grave concerns about the need for more safeguards of innocent Americans' communications. The RESTORE Act improves upon the PAA by providing a series of checks and balances while still allowing maximum flexibility. The RESTORE Act does not require individual warrants when persons are abroad, but it is firm that a FISA warrant is required to obtain communications of people in the US.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. KING of N.Y.: Electronic surveillance is one of the strongest weapons in our arsenal. The real enemy is al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism, not our own government working so hard to protect us. The PAA updated FISA and struck the appropriate balance between protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks and protecting our civil liberties. Today's bill, the RESTORE Act, marks an undeniable retreat in the war against Islamic terrorism. It limits the type of foreign intelligence information that may be acquired and actually gives foreign targets more protections than Americans get in criminal cases here at home.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed, 213-197.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. REYES: This legislation goes a long way towards strengthening oversight of the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or authorization or without any checks and balances. Well, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in this process. We do have a say in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to override this veto.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. HOEKSTRA: This bill fails to give the intelligence community the tools that it needs to protect the American people from radical jihadists. The debate on this authorization bill is not about a single issue, [waterboarding], as some would have you believe. It is about the need to ensure that we give the right tools to our intelligence professionals in this time of enhanced threat.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 225-188 (2/3rds required)
A modified version, S.2011, failed in the Senate; it called for amending FISA to provide that a court order is not required for the electronic surveillance of communication between foreign persons who are not located within the US for collecting foreign intelligence information, without respect to whether the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. LEVIN: Both bills cure the problem that exists: Our intelligence agencies must obtain a court order to monitor the communications of foreigners suspected of terrorist activities who are physically located in foreign countries. Now, what are the major differences? Our bill (S2011) is limited to foreign targets limited overseas, unlike the Bond bill (S1927), which does not have that key limitation and which very clearly applies to US citizens overseas. Our bill does not. Now, if there is an incidental access to US citizens, we obviously will permit that. But the Bond bill goes beyond that, citing "any person." It does not say a "foreign person." We avoid getting to the communications of Americans. There you have to go for a warrant.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: I will vote for the Bond proposal (S1927) because we are at war, & there is increased terrorist activity. We have a crisis. This proposal will allow us to gather intelligence information on that enemy we otherwise would not gather. This is not the time for striving for legislative perfection. Let us not strive for perfection. Let us put national security first. We are going to have 6 months to reason together to find something better.
Proponents support voting YES because:
In Iraq, we were told we needed Halliburton to get a contract without any competition because they were the only ones who know how to put out oil well fires. So they got a contract on a cost-plus basis even though they had a history of overcharging the taxpayers. And then later we found out that they didn't do anything about putting out oil well fires in the first Gulf war; it was Bechtel, not Halliburton. Contractors were given special treatment by not having healthy competition.
In dealing with Hurricane Katrina, and we have seen the same mistakes again: No-competition contracts; cost-plus contracts. We have seen what the result has been: Wasted taxpayer dollars. This bill requires that if there is an emergency to give a contract, give it. But then have bidding within a year.
Opponents support voting NO because:
We support transparency and accountability in decision-making, but this bill asks for audit reports that are only advisory. To provide those to Congress not only gives you too much information, a lot of it can be misleading and can increase the number of contract disputes.
When you are fighting a war, you need to move quickly. You don't give a 6-month appeal to the folks that lose the competition. You don't give small business set-asides because there is one thing you don't have, you don't have time.
A bill to improve educational assistance for members of the Armed Forces and veterans in order to enhance recruitment and retention for the Armed Forces.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is charged with the oversight of the United States Intelligence Community. It shares some jurisdiction with other committees in the House, including the Armed Services Committee for some matters dealing with the Department of Defense and the various branches of the U.S. military. The committee oversees all or part of the following executive branch departments and agencies:
Congressional Summary:Expressing the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
Opponent's argument against bill:(United Nations press release, June 3, 2013):
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon str
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