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Peter King on Homeland Security

Rep./Ind./Cons./Right-To-Life Representative (NY-3)


NSA needs secrecy, and has had no abuses

Q: Edward Snowden writes, "I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now the culture of indiscriminate worldwide surveillance, exposed to public debates and real investigations on every continent, is collapsing." Is it collapsing?

KING: First of all, I think Edward Snowden is a defector and a traitor. And the fact is there is no agency that is more monitored and more watched than the NSA. It's monitored by the courts, by the Justice Department, by the intelligence committees in the Senate and the House. I think it's absolutely indispensable to our national security. There have been no abuses.

Q: But the American people had no idea what it was doing.

KING: I don't think everyone has to know what a spy agency is doing. By their nature, a spy agency, it's kept secret. That's the purpose of it.

Q: But is it collapsing? Is it going to exist in the future?

KING: If it doesn't, it's going to be calamitous for the country.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 22, 2013

N.S.A. spying has saved thousands of lives

Q: Let's talk about the spying. It's bringing together the liberal left and the libertarian right that believe that US spying is out of control. Does it have to be reined in?

KING: First of all, I think the president should stop apologizing, stop being defensive. The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives, not just in the US but also in France and Germany and throughout Europe. And, you know, the French have carried out spying operations against the US, both the government and industry. Germany is where the Hamburg plot began which led to 9/11

Q: But we were apparently bugging [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel's phone since 2002.

KING: We've saved many lives in Germany because of the intelligence we've given them. And we're not doing this to hurt Germany, but the fact is, there can be information that's being transmitted that can be useful to us, and then ultimately useful to Germany. Quite frankly, the NSA has done so much for our country. We have to have strong spying.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 27, 2013

Wiretapping ok to defend against Islamic terrorism

DEFENDING AMERICA AGAINST ISLAMIC TERRORISM: Pete King strongly supports the PATRIOT Act, wiretapping foreign terrorists and allowing the CIA to carry out tough interrogations of foreign terrorists. Pete has fought hard to increase Homeland Security funding for police and firefighters in New York City and on Long Island. During his time as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Pete was responsible for the passage of historic legislation regarding port security, chemical plant security and restructuring the nation's emergency response system. As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, Pete opposed President Obama's decision to close Guant†namo and restrict interrogations of terrorists. As Chairman he will hold hearings on Muslim radicalization.
Source: 2013 Senate campaign website, peteking.com, "Issues" , Sep 9, 2013

People at NSA are patriots & get it right 99.99% of the time

Q: You are a staunch defender of the NSA and its programs. You call the people who work there "patriots," but would also appear very clear that mistakes are being made and, in many cases, they are not, as they should be, reporting those mistakes.

KING: Well, I totally disagree with that. [There are perhaps] billions of phone calls being collected, you juxtapose that with 2,800 violations which were self-reported by the NSA, which do not violate anyone's rights. 1,900 of them being foreigners. No Americans' rights were violated with that. The others were records for more than five years by accident.

Q: You said that everything was self reported by the NSA. The documents that were leaked at the end of last week clearly show that many of these violations were not appropriately reported. So is there a problem here?

KING: No, there's not a problem. The fact is, it worked. If you have 99.99% compliance and you have self reporting errors, I am satisfied that we are told what the NSA is doing.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interview of Peter King , Aug 18, 2013

Problem with Snowden leak is lack of presidential leadership

Q: Do you think that the [National Security Agency] reforms the President announced are necessary? You came down pretty hard on him: You said the problems we have here is just a failure by the President. What did you mean by that?

Rep. KING: What I mean is, I fully support the NSA program. It's been effective. It's done an outstanding job. I am very critical of the president for basically being silent for the last two months. He's allowed the Edward Snowdens and the others of the world to dominate the media and that now we have so many people who actually think the NSA is spying on people, is listening to our phone calls, is reading our e-mails. We're in war. We're in a very desperate war with al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates and the President of the United States as commander-in-chief had the obligation to be aggressively and effectively defending his program and he really didn't do it. [Snowden] spread a paranoia in the country. The President should have been out there sooner.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 11, 2013

Don't treat Dubai Ports Deal in a pre-9-11 way

The state-owned company Dubai Ports World agreed to pay $6.8 billion for the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal, and owned a 50% interest in the Port Newark Container Terminal.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) became one of the early critics of the Dubai Ports deal. "This can't be treated in a pre-9/11 way," he told the media. "There was a tone deafness here that indicates they didn't show the level of concern that it warranted." Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) cast aspersions on the deal, on the Bush Administration, and on Arab [deals] in general. He noted that the 9-11 attacks were financed in part by money that had passed through banks in the United Arab Emirates [which includes Dubai].

While that may have been true, the issue here is that, in an atmosphere of intense politics, Schumer's protest struck a sensitive nerve and ultimately killed the deal. Schumer had beaten the administration at its own game of using national security as a political weapon.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.118-119 , Sep 1, 2009

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

Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.

Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to allow the President & Attorney General to authorize electronic surveillance without a court order to acquire foreign intelligence information, after certifying that the surveillance is directed at the acquisition of communications of foreign agents.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Intelligence is the first line of defense in the war on terrorism. That means we have to have intelligence agencies and capabilities that are agile, that are responsive to changes in technology, and that also protect the civil liberties of Americans. Let me make an analogy. With modernization, we replaced Route 66 with Interstate 40. We no longer have the stoplights and the intersections. We created on ramps and off ramps and concrete barriers to protect the citizens where traffic was moving very quickly. That is like what we are trying to do here--FISA needs modernization.

Opponents support voting NO because:

We are legislating in the dark. We do not even know what the President is doing now because he will not tell us. The New York Times exposed that the administration had authorized secret surveillance of domestic conversations. When exposed, the President claimed he was operating under inherent powers, but court decisions have found that the President cannot simply declare administration actions constitutional and lawful, whether or not they are.

Yet rather than finding out what is going on, this legislation retroactively legalizes whatever has been going on. The President already has broad latitude to conduct domestic surveillance, including surveillance of American citizens, so long as it is overseen by the FISA court.

This bill does not enhance security, but it does allow surveillance without the traditional checks and balances that have served our Nation well.

Reference: Update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978; Bill H.R.5825 ; vote number 2006-502 on Sep 28, 2006

Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.

A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5020) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities. Voting YES indicates support of the current methods for intelligence-gathering used by the CIA and other agencies. The resolution's opponents say:
Reference: Intelligence Authorization Act; Bill HR 5020 resolution H RES 774 ; vote number 2006-108 on Apr 26, 2006

Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists.

REAL ID Act of 2005: To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]; Bill H.R.418 ; vote number 2005-031 on Feb 10, 2005

Voted YES on continuing military recruitment on college campuses.

Expresses the continued support of Congress for, and encourages the executive branch to continue challenging any judicial decision against, specified provisions of Federal law prohibiting making certain Federal contracts with or grants to institutions of higher education that prevent military recruiters from having access to their campuses and to certain information about their students.
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Rep Mike Rogers [R, AL-3]; Bill H.CON.RES.36 ; vote number 2005-016 on Feb 2, 2005

Voted YES on supporting new position of Director of National Intelligence.

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: Establishment of Director of National Intelligence, to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Requires the Director to have extensive national security expertise. Prohibits the Director from being located within the Executive Office of the President or simultaneously serving as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other intelligence community (IC) element.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins {R, ME}; Bill S.2845 ; vote number 2004-544 on Dec 7, 2004

Voted YES on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Denny Hastert [R, IL-14]; Bill H.R.10 ; vote number 2004-523 on Oct 8, 2004

Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2003: Vote to pass the bill that would supply $77.9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations in fiscal 2003, including $62.5 billion for military operations in Iraq and the war on terrorism. The bill would also provide for $4.2 billion for homeland security, $8 billion in aid to allies and for Iraqi relief and rebuilding; $3.2 billion for U.S. airlines to cover additional security costs; and $1 billion in aid to Turkey.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Young, R-FL; Bill HR 1559 ; vote number 2003-108 on Apr 3, 2003

Voted YES on permitting commercial airline pilots to carry guns.

Armed Airline Pilots Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would create a program where commercial pilots would be deputized as federal law enforcement officers and would then be permitted to carry guns aboard airlines. To participate in the program, commercial pilots would have to undergo specialized training. At least 250 commercial pilots would undergo the training. Within two months of the bill's enactment, the Transportation Security Agency or TSA, would then be required to begin weapons training for pilots who had volunteered for the program. Airlines and pilots will not be held legally accountable when defending planes from terrorist acts except in cases of willful misconduct or gross negligence The TSA could temporarily put the program on hold if a pilot's gun unintentionally discharges and causes injury to a crew member or passanger. The bill also would entail flight attendants to undergo self-defense training. Also study training all federal law enforcement officers on aviation anti-terrorism.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Young, R-FL; Bill HR 4635 ; vote number 2002-292 on Jul 10, 2002

Voted YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill.

Vote to pass a bill appropriating $266 billion in defense spending for FY 2000. Among other provisions the bill would allot $1.2 billion for research and development for next-generation tactical aircraft, yet would not include $1.8 billion in procurement funds for the new F-22 Raptor combat aircraft. The bill would also fund a 4.8 percent pay increase for military personnel. The bill would also allot $93.7 billion for operations and maintenance to be used to maintain military properties and spare parts that have been reduced due to overseas military combat missions.
Reference: Bill introduced by Lewis, R-CA; Bill HR 2561 ; vote number 1999-334 on Jul 22, 1999

Voted YES on deploying SDI.

Vote to declare it to be the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense.
Reference: Bill introduced by Weldon, R-PA; Bill HR 4 ; vote number 1999-4 on Mar 18, 1999

Rated 22% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.

King scores 22% by SANE on peace issues

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...

As the Pentagonís budget soars to $400 billion, 17% of American children live in poverty. For what the US will spend on Missile Defense in one year we could: put over a million children through Head Start OR provide healthcare for over 3.5 million children OR create over 100,000 units of affordable housing OR hire over 160,000 elementary school teachers. At Peace Action our priorities are clear.

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.

Source: SANE website 03n-SANE on Dec 31, 2003

Sponsored bill for free postage for soldiers serving abroad.

King sponsored H.R.704

Supply Our Soldiers Act H.R.704 1/27/2009 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.00704:

Source: Fair Tax Act 09-HR704 on Jan 27, 2009

Chair of House Committee on Homeland Security.

King is the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security

The House Committee on Homeland Security conducts oversight and handles legislation related to the security of the United States. The committee may amend, approve, or table (kill) homeland security related bills. It also has the power to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and subpoena witnesses. Additionally, the committee has authorization and policy oversight responsibilities over the Department of Homeland Security.

The committee organized itself into six subcommittees, with each focusing on different aspects of security:

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

Member of House Committee on Intelligence.

King 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

No US troops under UN command; more defense spending.

King signed the Contract with America:

[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:

The National Security Restoration Act:
No US troops under UN command, and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world.
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA8 on Sep 27, 1994

Other candidates on Homeland Security: Peter King on other issues:
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