Lincoln Chafee on Homeland Security
Democratic presidential challenger; Independent RI Governor; Republican Senator (1999-2007)
CHAFEE: No, that was a 99-to-1 vote for the PATRIOT Act, and it was seen as at the time modernizing our ability to do what we've always done to tap phones which always required a warrant. And I voted for that.
Q: Do you regret that vote?
CHAFEE: No, no. As long as you're getting a warrant, I believe that under the Fourth Amendment, you should be able to do surveillance, but you need a warrant. That's what the Fourth Amendment says. And in the Patriot Act, section 215 started to get broadened too far. So I would be in favor of addressing and reforming section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Q: Secretary Clinton, do you regret your vote on the Patriot Act?
CLINTON: No, I don't. I think that it was necessary to make sure that we were able after 9/11 to put in place the security that we needed.
CHAFEE: No, I would bring him home. The courts have ruled that what he did was say the American government was acting illegally.
Q: Bring him home, no jail time?
CHAFEE: What Snowden did showed that the American government was acting illegally for the 4th Amendment. So I would bring him home.
CLINTON: He broke the laws of the US.
O'MALLEY: Snowden put a lot of Americans' lives at risk.
While in Congress, Chafee voted for the USA Patriot Act and its expansion of government surveillance powers in the fight against terror. Since then Chafee has said he strongly opposes the use of the Patriot Act by the National Security Agency to collect Americans' phone data en masse. The Rhode Islander argues that violates the Fourth Amendment and law enforcement must get a warrant before collecting any phone data.
Chafee told MSNBC in April that to fight Islamic State, America must forge stronger alliances and rebuild its relationship with Russia. The former governor opposes open-ended U.S. military action and supports contained strategies, citing the 1990 Gulf War as an example.
I felt differently. We needed to find and destroy this small band of international criminals, disarm their propaganda machine, and use hard-nosed police work to prevent future attacks.
He said, "Americans are asking why do they hate us? They hate our freedoms. Our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote." He had not invested 10 seconds in the central admonition of Sun-tzu: Know your enemy. He said not a word to address the presence of American troops near Mecca and Medina, or the Palestinian question, or sanctions against Iraq,
As early as 1998, the New American Century was using the catchphrase "weapons of mass destruction" to take us down a very hazardous path. Of course, the real weapon of mass destruction is nuclear; but by whipping up fear over nonexistent chemical and biological weapons the Bush administration has actually harmed international efforts at nuclear nonproliferation. With an extremist White House in power today, we have many unstable, hostile regimes springing to acquire nuclear weapons.
CHAFEE: We have a lot of difficulties with our policy of unilateral pre-emption - where unilateral means one-sided. Our best policy now should be working with our allies and gaining more allies in the Mideast, instead of alienating some of the friends weíve had. We need everybody on our side as we wrestle with the difficulties in the Middle East -- in Iraq in particular, and in those countries that surround Iraq - Turkey, Syria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
WHITEHOUSE: There is a broader Middle East problem that has been made worse by our presence in Iraq. In those fronts, we need to strongly defend Israel. We need to do what we can to eliminate the terror capability of Hezbollah.
The funding for Newport, NUWC, Electric Boat, and Raytheon represent an important investment in Rhode Islandís defense industry.
Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.
Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of habeas corpus is maintained.
GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.
SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I question the need for a very lengthy, detailed report every 3 months. We will probably see those reports leaked to the press.
This amendment would spread out for the world--and especially for al-Qaida and its related organizations--precisely what interrogation techniques are going to be used.
If we lay out, in an unclassified version, a description of the techniques by the Attorney General, that description will be in al-Qaida and Hezbollah and all of the other terrorist organizations' playbook. They will train their assets that: This is what you must be expected to do, and Allah wants you to resist these techniques.
We are passing this bill so that we can detain people. If we catch someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we have no way to hold him, no way to ask him the questions and get the information we need, because the uncertainty has brought the program to a close. It is vitally important to our security, and unfortunately this amendment would imperil it.
A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes.
Peace Action, the merger of The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and The Freeze, has effectively mobilized for peace and disarmament for over forty years. As the nation's largest grassroots peace group we get results: from the 1963 treaty to ban above ground nuclear testing, to the 1996 signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, from ending the war in Vietnam, to blocking weapons sales to human rights abusing countries. We are proof that ordinary people can change the world. At Peace Action we believe...
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This amendment would ban waterboarding at Guantanamo prison. McCain specifies several international treaties which include bans on waterboarding; and cites "regardless of physical location" to include Guantanamo. McCain cites too that this ban is nothing new; but the US has, in fact, been using waterboarding at Guantanamo.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under the custody or control of the United States Government.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This amendment would prohibit cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of persons in the detention of the US Government. The amendment doesn't sound like anything new. That is because it isn't. The prohibition has been a longstanding principle in both law and policy in the United States. All of this seems to be common sense and in accordance with longstanding American values.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Proposed amendment withdrawn 11/4/2005.
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