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Michele Bachmann on Homeland Security

Republican Representative (MN-6)


1970s: Missile defense made obvious sense to replace MAD

A strong military requires a technological edge. During the Carter years, General Daniel Graham led a campaign to get Americans interested in the idea of missile defense. We should occupy the "high frontier" of space, Graham argued, so that we could destroy attacking Soviet missiles. Graham's idea was so obviously sensible to me. It was foolish to depend on the nuclear doctrine of mutual assured destruction (aptly called MAD). Instead, we should figure out how to shoot down enemy missiles. Such a defensive capacity could save not only many millions of American lives but also many millions of Russian lives. It made good sense: You should be able to defend yourself. But to most adherents of the establishment's pseudotheology of arms control, missile defense was completely anathema. We shouldn't defend ourselves against the Russians, they declared; what we should do instead is negotiate with the Russians. It made me wince to listen to the sophistries of State Department officials.
Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p. 69-70 , Nov 21, 2011

Waterboarding is effective; don't let the ACLU run the CIA

Q: Does waterboarding constitute torture?

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.

Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy , Nov 12, 2011

Absolute policy of not negotiating with terrorists

Q: [to Cain]: Israel has just negotiated with Palestine to exchange 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier. If al Qaeda had an American soldier in captivity, and they demanded the release of everyone at Guantanamo Bay, would you release them?

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.

Source: GOP 2011 primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 18, 2011

No Miranda rights for terrorists; expand Guantanamo

Q: You say that we don't win the war on terror by closing Guantanamo and reading Miranda rights to terrorists. Rep. Paul says terrorism suspects have committed a crime and should be given due process in civilian courts. Why is he wrong?

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.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Defense spending did not cause our budget crisis; no cuts

Q: How do you weigh the cost of fighting the war on terror against the exploding debt crisis?

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.

Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com , Jul 21, 2011

Remain vigilant and ready, including military action

Our courageous men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are on the frontlines in the war on terror, but the horrific attack on 9/11 demonstrated that terrorists can bring the battlefield to our shores. For this reason, we must remain continually vigilant and ready with a broad based strategy that includes military action when necessary but also enhanced overseas intelligence capabilities, strengthened coalitions with willing partners and more effective and efficient homeland security.
Source: 2006 House campaign website, michelebachmann.com, “Issues” , Nov 7, 2006

Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.

    Congressional Summary: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content, including:
  1. broadcasting, transmitting, and programming over noncommercial educational radio broadcast stations
  2. cooperating with foreign broadcasting networks
  3. assisting and supporting noncommercial educational radio broadcasting
  4. paying dues to such organizations
  5. or acquiring radio programs for public broadcast.

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.

Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act; Bill H.514 ; vote number 11-HV066 on Feb 17, 2011

Voted NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US, but not abroad.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007 or RESTORE Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to provide that a court order is not required for electronic surveillance directed at the acquisition of communication between non-US citizens outside the US, whether or not the communication passes through the US or the surveillance device is located within the US; and provides procedures when one party is located inside the US or is a US citizen.

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.

Reference: RESTORE Act; Bill H.R.3773 ; vote number 08-HR3773 on Mar 14, 2008

Voted NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations.

PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE:This bill would impede efforts to protect [against] terrorist attacks because it imposes several unnecessary and unacceptable burdens on our Intelligence Community. [I reject] subjecting two additional vital positions to a more protracted process of Senate confirmation [and I reject] a new office of Inspector General for the Intelligence Community as duplicative. [Most sigficantly,] it is vitally important that the CIA be allowed to maintain a separate and classified interrogation program, [and not] use only the interrogation methods authorized in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations. My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular interrogation technique such as waterboarding. Rather, my concern is the need to maintain a separate CIA program that will shield from disclosure to terrorists the interrogation techniques they may face upon capture.

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)

Bill Veto override on H.R. 2082 ; vote number 08-HR2082 on Mar 11, 2008

Voted YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad.

Vote on passage of S.1927, the Protect America Act: Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to state that the restrictions on "electronic surveillance" should not encompass surveillance directed at any person reasonably believed to be located outside the US.

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.

Reference: Protect America Act; Bill S.1927 ; vote number 2007-0836 on Aug 4, 2007

Voted YES on restricting no-bid defense contracts.

  1. Improving the Quality of Contracts--to restrict the contract period of noncompetitive contracts to the minimum period necessary to meet urgent requirements; and not more than one year unless the the government would be seriously injured.
  2. Increasing Contract Oversight--to make publicly available (on websites) justification documents for using noncompetitive contract procedures.
  3. Promoting Integrity in Contracting--to prohibit former federal officials from accepting compensation from contractors as lawyers or lobbyists.

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.

Reference: Accountability in Contracting Act; Bill H R 1362 ; vote number 2007-156 on Mar 15, 2007

Improve educational assistance for veterans.

Bachmann co-sponsored improving educational assistance for veterans

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.

Congress makes the following findings:
  1. The World War II-era GI Bill assisted almost 8,000,000 members of the Armed Forces in readjusting to civilian life after completing their service to the nation.
  2. The establishment of the All Volunteer Force in 1973 has produced highly professional Armed Forces.
  3. The Sonny Montgomery GI Bill was enacted in 1984 to sustain the All Volunteer Force by providing educational benefits to aid in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified personnel.
  4. The All Volunteer Force depends for its effectiveness and vitality on successful recruiting of highly capable men and women.
  5. The achievement of educational goals, including obtaining the means to a college degree, has traditionally been a key reason for volunteering for service in the Armed Forces.
Source: Enhancement of Recruitment ThrU Education Act (S2938/HR5944) 08-S2938 on Apr 29, 2008

Member of House Committee on Intelligence.

Bachmann is a member of the House Committee on Intelligence

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:

Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-Int on Feb 3, 2011

Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.

Bachmann signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

Source: S.475&HR.1182 2009-S475 on Feb 25, 2009

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Michele Bachmann on other issues:
Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
GOP Withdrawals:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
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Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: Feb 23, 2012