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Bill Richardson on Homeland Security

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


Habeas corpus may not be suspended in war on terror

Q: Attorney General Gonzales said in January 2007 that nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus, separate from any statutory habeas rights Congress might grant or take away. Do you agree?

A: This is clearly wrong. The Framers, in their declaration that habeas may be suspended only in cases of rebellion or invasion, made clear that the Constitution presumes the existence of the common law right to habeas corpus. Any other interpretation is sophistry.

Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power Dec 20, 2007

2 years of college tuition for 1 year of national service

Q: Teenage boys must register for selective service at age 18, but not girls. I’m wondering whether this sends the right message about national service, & whether we ought to re-examine how we go about asking young people for their service to the country

A: My answer is yes. I outlined a plan: two years of college tuition paid off by the government, one year of national service. When it comes to the country sacrificing, and the people sacrificing, I sense that we need to pull together.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Human rights can be more important than national security

Q: Are human rights, at times, more important than national security?

A: Yes, because we need to find ways to say to the world that it’s not just about what Halliburton wants in Iraq. It’s also about our values of freedom, equality. Our strength is not just military and economic. Our strength as a nation is our values: equality, freedom, democracy, and human rights. That’s why we are strong.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada Nov 15, 2007

Qaeda targets oil infrastructure until we wean ourselves off

Bin Laden makes a point of targeting oil infrastructure because he knows what kind of devastating impact he can have on the world’s economy, even on the fundamentals of the global market system, by attacking oil. It’s energy and oil terrorism.

He knows we are dependent on foreign oil, and that our economy remains more oil-intensive than other developed nations’ and that the US suffers more than most countries when oil prices rise. Taking the long view, bin Laden believes that the US is not only vulnerable to volatility in oil prices, but also that it lacks the discipline and vision to wean itself off oil.

Bin Laden knows the US is a sleeping giant--one he wrongly believes will never wake up. He thinks we can’t change.

Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 32 Oct 26, 2007

Ignoring Nuclear Test Ban creates world distrust

The Bush administration tossed aside the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Our message to the world: We can be trusted to create any kind of weapon of mass destruction we want. Most of the world, I believe, trusts the US to manage its nuclear arsenal carefully and responsibly, and they are resigned to the fact that we will control a large arsenal of highly destructive weapons. Yet they also want us to abide by accepted rules for testing, for development of new weapons, for balancing our strength against other nations’. When we step out of standing agreements, and begin developing new weapons on our own, the world loses faith. Why are we the arbiter of who can own or design weapons of mass destruction? People who don’t trust the US can’t answer that question.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p. 73 Oct 26, 2007

I will restore habeas corpus and the rule of law

I will be a president that follows the Constitution of the United States. I will also be a president that will bring back habeas corpus and the rule of law. I will also be a president that will shut down Guantanamo. I will also be a president that will follow the Constitution and not permit torture as a tool in our foreign policy. I will not eavesdrop on American citizens. And I will not go to war, unless I get the consent of Congress.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

Maintain Geneva Conventions; keep restrictions on torture

I will do everything I can to fight terrorists. That’s the main obligation of the American people. But that doesn’t mean we become like terrorists and abridge our own freedoms. What the Bush administration has been using is called waterboarding. That is unacceptable not just with the Geneva Conventions, but in the spirit of our nation being a nation that respects human rights. That’s not us. I would not permit it.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

Rescind authority to eavesdrop without court order

I would not permit--and here’s another issue that I would like the Senate to take back--the president of the United States has today unequaled authority to eavesdrop on American citizens, without a court order. The Congress needs to go back and rescind that. That is another abridgement that needs to stop.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

No first use of nukes; but keep options on table

Q: [to Clinton]: You criticized Obama for ruling out the use of nukes against Al Qaida in Pakistan, yet you said the same against Bush’s use of tactical nukes in Iran.

CLINTON: Iran was not a hypothetical, but a brushback against this administration which has been reckless and provocative.

OBAMA: It is not hypothetical that Al Qaida has established base camps in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

RICHARDSON: This talk about hypotheticals is what’s gotten us in trouble. Here’s what I would do on nuclear weapons: I wouldn’t use nuclear weapons first. However, you can never take the military option off the table. This administration has used the military option preemption. It should be diplomacy first, negotiation, build international support for our goals, find ways that America can get allies in our fight against terrorism, against nuclear proliferation. We should have a treaty on fissionable material and loose nuclear weapons.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

Voted against don’t-ask-don’t-tell; get rid of it now

We need to redress some of the gross imbalances of the past. If I’m elected president, I would get rid of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” I didn’t vote for it when I was in Congress. When you have an America that is asking men and women to fight and die, the last thing you need to do is give them a lecture on sexual orientation.

Even though I was the deputy whip, “don’t ask, don’t tell” made no sense to me. I voted against that,.

Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues Aug 9, 2007

Focus on international terrorism & fissionable material

[We should withdraw from Iraq so] we can focus on what really affects American foreign policy--the fight against international terrorism; greenhouse gas emissions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and third, a measure to ensure that there are no dirty bombs and a number of fissionable material around the world.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum Aug 8, 2007

Provide veterans with health care anywhere they want

Under my health care plan, if you have served this country - enlisted, a veteran - I would give you a hero’s health card so that you could get health care anywhere they want, with any doctor, with any hospital. Our VA system is good, but we have to offer our veterans that choice. What we have in our VA system is cost-of-living increases for other benefits but not for VA health care, and today a lot of our vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan - PTSD, mental health - we cannot do enough to help them.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Hero’s health card gives veterans access anywhere, anytime

We should give our military veterans the access they need anywhere they want, any time they want. And I would have a hero’s health card that would enable our veterans when they get out to get coverage choices anywhere they want. They should not have to drive 200 miles to the nearest VA hospital.
Source: SEIU Democratic Health Care Forum in Las Vegas Mar 24, 2007

Reorder priorities: shift $400B from war to human needs

This is how I would pay for my health care plan. Number one, we reorder priorities in this country. We get out of Iraq and put the $400 billion that we have in Iraq and shift it to human needs. Number two, we spend 2 trillion on health care. We shift and reorder priorities in terms of reducing inefficiencies in our system. And number three, we would offer options for all Americans to get health care coverage.
Source: SEIU Democratic Health Care Forum in Las Vegas Mar 24, 2007

We should not be known for Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib

The next president must restore America’s prestige internationally. We should not be known for Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and eavesdropping and violating the Geneva Conventions. We should be known as an America for democracy and human rights.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada Feb 21, 2007

Convince Muslims by closing Guantanamo & stopping renditions

[The war on terror] is a clash between civilization and barbarity. We need to present the Arab and Muslim worlds with a better vision than the apocalyptic fantasy of the Jihadists. For this to be credible, we need to live up to our own ideals. Prisoner abuse, torture, secret prisons, renditions, and evasion of the Geneva conventions must have no place in our policy. If we want Muslims to open to us, we should start by closing Guantanamo.
Source: Campaign website, www.RichardsonForPresident.com, “Newsroom” Feb 8, 2007

Seek immediate negotiations with the Soviet Union on nuclear

There has been a proliferation of loose nuclear weapons, mainly in the hands of terrorists, that could cross, presumably, a border; that could be smuggled in in a cargo ship with our very weak port security. I will seek immediate negotiations with the Soviet Union and other nuclear states to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, but also a treaty on fissionable material, where you have verification, where you try to secure those loose nuclear weapons from states like North Korea and others that could be drifting into the international community. We have to realize that the challenges the US faces internationally, they’re transnational. They’re stateless. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Making us less dependent on fossil fuels. Those are the transnational challenges that require international cooperation. Bush believes in unilateralism, going military first, and preemption. My foreign policy would be different. There would be realism, human rights, and principles.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate Jan 6, 2006

9/11 shifted world focus from nukes to terrorism

Our world turned upside down. Every premise I had cultivated about the international system was now at issue. That we could resolve disputes at the UN and in other international institutions. That diplomacy could serve as a counter-force to terror. That our intelligence was so strong we could prevent such acts from happening here. I previously thought the biggest challenge in the post-Cold War world was nuclear proliferation, ,but we had a new enemy; international terrorism, and its practitioners were using what military types call asymmetrical warfare. That means all sorts of unconventional arms, from suicide bombs and airplanes as guided missiles to potentially much worse--chemical, biological, even nuclear weapons.

The tragedy convinced me it was time for me to return to public service. I could get back in the arena, run for governor, do my best for NM, and try and offer leadership. In the post-9/11 world, governors were bound to assume a greater role in homeland security.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.285-286 Nov 3, 2005

Negotiated for 1994 release of pilots downed in North Korea

We landed in Pyongyang on Dec. 17, 1994 [for a Congressional tour. The same week included the] downing a US military helicopter in North Korea. I asked after the crew. The Vice Minister told me the helicopter had a crew of two, but he said he could not comment on their condition. With that, my mission to North Korea was utterly transformed. “It is critically important to turn over these pilots to US authorities,” I told the Vice Minister. Not possible, he said: This was a military matter, and nothing would be done until the Korean People’s Army completed its investigation of the incident.

The US Secretary of State confirmed my mission. One pilot, Bobby Hall, was fine, but David Hilemon had perished in the downing of their helicopter. [After days of negotiating], on Dec. 21 offered that if I left Pyongyang, I could escort Hilemon’s remains home, and Hall would be released ‘very soon.’ I accepted. Hall was released on Dec. 30, with the US signing a document expressing ‘sincere regret’.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p. 135-144 Feb 2, 2005

Negotiated for 1995 release of US workers arrested in Iraq

On March 13, 1995, three oil mechanics working in Kuwait for US defense contractors, got lost near the border, and found themselves in Iraq and under arrest by Saddam’s border guards. They were sentenced to 8 years in Abu Ghraib Prison, for spying and potential sabotage.

About a month later, I got a call, after Jimmy Carter and Rev. Jesse Jackson had failed to negotiate their release. The Iraqis were clearly seeking a way out of what was an embarrassing episode at a particularly sensitive time. Saddam’s people wanted to talk to someone they thought they could trust--and they considered me an honest broker.

Iraq wanted a formal letter from the US expressing appreciation for releasing the prisoners. No way, I said. [I worked through that point, and numerous others, negotiating as a member of Congress and not as the President’s official envoy. After meeting with Saddam personally], Saddam agreed to release the oil workers into my custody]. Pres. Clinton’s quiet but firm diplomacy was effective.

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p. 150-3 & 161 Feb 2, 2005

Spend $250K annually to fight base closures

I want to talk with you about a very important issue that is on the horizon. I am talking about our military bases - Kirtland, Cannon, Holloman, and White Sands Missile Range. Washington is planning another round of base closures in 2005 and we need to be ready.

We must stand up to protect our four military bases, and the thousands of jobs they provide. Over 24,000 military and civilian personnel-plus thousands of contractor employees-work at these bases. Their economic impact to the state is over $5 billion dollars. I will request an annual appropriation of up to $250,000 through 2005 [to fight] the threat of base closures.

My record shows that I have always supported a strong national defense. And I’ve always fought to protect New Mexico’s bases. I have voted for military pay raises, better housing, and improvements to all our bases in New Mexico.

Source: Campaign web site, RichardsonForGovernor.com, “Priorities” Oct 24, 2002

Homeland Security Department at federal AND state level

Bill Richardson today praised President’s Bush’s call for a National Homeland Security Cabinet Secretary and announced his intention to give the New Mexico Homeland Security Director state cabinet status.

“We should have a cabinet level officer for Homeland Security in New Mexico. Last month I announced my intention to consolidate existing emergency preparedness personnel in New Mexico under a single Director. Today, I am in total agreement with the President and I propose we give our Homeland Security Director state cabinet status,“ Richardson said.

”This proposal does not entail a new bureaucracy nor will it require additional employees. It is a consolidation and streamlining of existing agencies and personnel in order to better coordinate our emergency preparedness and to provide greater public safety for the people of New Mexico,“ Richardson said.

Source: Campaign web site, RichardsonForGovernor.com, “Priorities” Oct 24, 2002

Eliminate funding for SDI

Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1996

Establish a Women's Bureau in Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

Richardson co-sponsored establishing a Women's Bureau in Dept. of Veterans Affairs

To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish a Women's Bureau in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Source: H.R.3013 1993-H3013 on Aug 6, 1993

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Bill Richardson on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010