State of Colorado Archives: on Homeland Security


Mark Udall: Reform the NSA; stop gathering millions of phone records

Mark Udall feels like he finally has some vindication. After years of urging the Obama administration to get rid of its bulk-data collection and to be more transparent in how it conducts surveillance abroad and on American citizens, there are some signs the president may be leaning toward reform of the National Security Agency. Udall said. "Finally, our point of view has been affirmed."

Since his appointment in 2011 to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Udall has been sharp in his criticism of the way the federal government has spied on American citizens. For a long time, Udall wasn't able to talk about his concerns because of confidentiality restraints. But whistle-blower Edward Snowden's leaks this year to the British and American news media has blown open much of how the NSA operates. Of particular concern to Udall is the so-called 215 program, authorized under the Patriot Act, which has allowed the NSA to collect the e-mails and phone records of tens of millions of Americans.

Source: Denver Post on 2014 Colorado Senate race Jan 1, 2014

Mark Udall: Real reform to stop NSA overreach

Q: What about having phone records stay with private phone companies rather than having the federal government collect them?

UDALL: The arguments for the status quo fell apart this week. I get up every day, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, to do two things: Protect the American people and protect the Bill of Rights. The NSA is overreached. It's time to have real reform, not a veneer of reform. You know why? Because we have got to rebuild the American people's trust in our intelligence committee so we can be safe. But we don't do that by bulk data collection that violates the privacy of Americans, that's unconstitutional, and has shown to not be effective.

Q: 16 judges have said that the program is constitutional.

UDALL: It's hard for lots of Americans to believe that these general warrants, if you will, to collect every day, millions Americans' phone records, is somehow unconstitutional. It does not fit the standard in the Fourth Amendment of unreasonable search and seizure.

Source: ABC News This Week on 2014 Colorado Senate race Dec 22, 2013

Mark Udall: NSA should not collect bulk data; go through FISA court

Q: Just because the government has the ability to [spy on citizens], there's no suggestion that they are doing it, willy-nilly. There seem to be a lot of safeguards to prevent them from doing that.

UDALL: There are some safeguards. But there are not enough safeguards. Why not go to the FISA court and get a warrant to access those business records? This administration has collected people's medical records, their financial records, their credit card records..

Q: Do you have any evidence that the government has abused this?

UDALL: Right now, they're literally collecting every phone record of every American and holding that in a database. I'd much rather have that data held by the phone companies. If we need to get access to it, the FISA court can issue a warrant. That's how we've operated in America in the past. We don't need the NSA to be collecting in bulk all of these records of innocent Americans. It's not effective. I would argue that it comes close to being unconstitutional.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2014 Colorado Senate race Jul 28, 2013

Mark Udall: FactCheck: Yes, NSA can collect phone records on Americans

Sen. Udall urged his colleagues to narrow the reach of the USA Patriot Act, one of the key legal tools that allow the US to gather intelligence. He warned that the intelligence community "can collect business records on law-abiding Americans who have no connection to terrorism."

Is it true? Udall cited Section 215 of the Patriot Act as the relevant part of the law. This provision lets the government obtain "metadata"--information on phone numbers, call durations and other information short of the actual conversations--from Verizon customers. However, the government faces some limits: the FBI must demonstrate to a special FISA court that it has reasonable grounds for an investigation involving terrorism. The head of the NSA acknowledged that the NSA has collected millions of records under section 215.

Udall's claim appears accurate. Congress wrote the law & key lawmakers were kept apprised of the program; the FISA court approved it, apparently on multiple occasions. We rate the statement True.

Source: PolitiFact FactCheck on 2014 Colorado Senate debate Jun 13, 2013

Mark Udall: Reopen PATRIOT Act: stop gathering secret phone data

Q: You have been a member of the intelligence committee who has been worried about secret data-gathering for years. It seems as though nearly every phone used by a US. citizen has been gathered up. Is that a correct assumption?

UDALL: I come from this at the start acknowledging that terrorism is still a real threat, that we have to protect the American people. At the same time, I also believe the bill of rights is one of the most powerful weapons that we have in this fight. As you pointed out, I have called for a number of years now for the intelligence community to be more forthcoming about the amount of data they're collecting on Americans. And in particular, you talked about metadata. The fact that every call I make to my friends, to my family is noted, where I am, the length of it, the date, that concerns me, particularly, because Americans didn't know this. That's why I'm calling for a reopening of the Patriot Act. That's why I'm calling for a wholesome debate all over the country.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Colorado Senate race Jun 9, 2013

John Hickenlooper: Make hiring veterans a priority

Make hiring veterans a priority Let's not forget our veterans and those on active duty. This week, we welcomed home 208 of our National Guard men and women.
Source: 2013 Colorado State of the State address Jan 10, 2013

Ken Buck: No eminent domain for 238,000-acre Trinidad training site

On Pinon Canyon: Both candidates said they were opposed to the Army using eminent domain to expand the 238,000-acre training site northeast of Trinidad and that the Army had failed to make a case for needing expansion.

Bennet went further, saying the Army understands expansion is not an option in the near future. "They understand they have to work the geography they have now," he said.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

Michael Bennet: No expansion option for 238,000-acre Trinidad training site

On Pinon Canyon: Both candidates said they were opposed to the Army using eminent domain to expand the 238,000-acre training site northeast of Trinidad and that the Army had failed to make a case for needing expansion.

Bennet went further, saying the Army understands expansion is not an option in the near future. "They understand they have to work the geography they have now," he said.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

Ken Buck: Fight for a strong national defense

I am proud of my son Cody, a fourth year cadet at West Point. The contributions made by all the men and women who serve in the military around the world so we can enjoy our freedoms at home will always be reflected in my priorities.

I will fight for a strong national defense and to ensure our military members, veterans and their families receive the benefits and care they have earned.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, buckforcolorado.com, "Issues" Aug 10, 2010

Michael Bennet: Increase military size & strength for new types of conflict

Our military strategy must grow to meet the shifting nature of warfare and the changing character of conflict. We face a new generation of conflict, where our military will be fighting conventional wars and insurgencies at the same time. The number of wars between nations is declining and the number of irregular, unconventional conflicts is increasing dramatically. We must build a military force that is prepared to handle these new types of competing conflicts, including one with new force structures armed with weapons that work in close quarters.

I support increasing the size and strength of our military, accompanied by sound preparation for how they will be used and where they will be deployed. We must develop an overall strategic plan to fund and support the most effective and efficient programs necessary to reduce new vulnerabilities at home and abroad, while cutting programs that are obsolete or unhelpful.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, bennetforcolorado.com "Issues" Jul 2, 2009

Ken Salazar: Implement the reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission now

SALAZAR: Salazar said a better way to end hostilities in Iraq would be to focus on reconstruction, with the help of NATO and US allies. And he said that the Bush administration’s greatest strategic blunder in Iraq was going in without a plan to secure the peace.

COORS: But Coors responded that the US had no plan to bring troops home when it went into World War II. He also said that while Americans don’t feel as secure as they did four years ago, they feel more secure than they did last year. “We’ll never have perfect security in the US,” he added.

SALAZAR: Salazar said that wasn’t good enough. “I believe we have not done enough, we have not acted with a sense of urgency. before 9/11 or after,” he said, referring to reports that warned of terrorist attacks before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit. Salazar also said the reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission should be implemented immediately.

Source: Colorado Senate Debate in Rocky Mountain News Oct 30, 2004

Pete Coors: We’ll never have perfect security in the US

SALAZAR: Salazar said a better way to end hostilities in Iraq would be to focus on reconstruction, with the help of NATO and US allies. And he said that the Bush administration’s greatest strategic blunder in Iraq was going in without a plan to secure the peace.

COORS: But Coors responded that the US had no plan to bring troops home when it went into World War II. He also said that while Americans don’t feel as secure as they did four years ago, they feel more secure than they did last year. “We’ll never have perfect security in the US,” he added.

SALAZAR: Salazar said that wasn’t good enough. “I believe we have not done enough, we have not acted with a sense of urgency. before 9/11 or after,” he said, referring to reports that warned of terrorist attacks before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit. Salazar also said the reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission should be implemented immediately.

Source: [Xref Salazar] Colorado Senate Debate in Rocky Mountain News Oct 30, 2004

Pete Coors: Important to check baggage and freight

The biggest threat is not the passengers, not the 84-year-old grandmothers going through the (metal-detector) system, but that posed by baggage and freight, Coors said.
Source: Colorado Senate Debate in Rocky Mountain News Oct 30, 2004

Ken Salazar: Fight war on terror without sacrificing our freedoms

We must also commit ourselves to fight terror without sacrificing the very freedoms we are fighting to protect. Many terrorists see our way of life and our personal freedoms as a direct challenge: We are democratic, they are autocratic; we value diversity, they demand religious, cultural or political uniformity. By protecting the rights and liberties that define America, even as we fight terrorism, we demonstrate that our strength and justice flow from these American principles.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, www.salazarforcolorado.com Oct 15, 2004

Ken Salazar: Fighting war on terror is not easy nor inexpensive

None of what we must do to meet the challenges of national defense and homeland security is easy or inexpensive. But failure to act aggressively and wisely will cost more in the long run, both in terms of human lives, and the impact on our economy, security, and freedom.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, www.salazarforcolorado.com Oct 15, 2004

Pete Coors: We should be more worried about Iran and North Korea

Q: Bush said “Even though there are no weapons of mass destruction, knowing what I know today, I still made the right decision to go to war.” Do you agree with that?

A: Clearly, we should be more worried today, actually, about Iran and North Korea than we are about Iraq, based on weapons of mass destruction. But I think that the conditions change on an ongoing basis, and we must look at the facts that we have before us at the time we make a decision.

Source: Colorado Senate Debate on Meet the Press Oct 10, 2004

Pete Coors: Scrutinize the massive intelligence failures in the US

Q: Do you still believe that Iraq posed ‘a clear and immediate danger’ to the US?

A: Bush made a very persuasive case to the American public, and if there’s a gun that’s pointed at one of my children, we ought to take action and essentially that was the presentation that was made by the president to the American people. And, today, we know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and what we ought to be doing is learning from the mistakes that have been made and also looking forward to what we ought to do in Iraq to try to stabilize the country. The most important thing we ought to be looking at is why we have such massive intelligence failures in our country. We had massive intelligence failures before 9/11 and before going into Iraq, and yet I haven’t seen one person being held accountable. Creating a director of intelligence and doing all the rest of the things that we need to do in order to have the right intelligence in our country I think is imperative for us.

Source: Colorado Senate Debate on Meet the Press Oct 10, 2004

Pete Coors: Get people in a coalition that’s been working with the enemy

Q: You said this in your debate in September: “I sense that Ken [Salazar] wants to return to the days of appeasement, that he would respond after we are attacked.” When were the days of appeasement? Who were the appeasers?

A: When I talk about appeasement [I mean] as he aligns himself with Senator Kerry, who has consistently said we should have had more of an effort to get a coalition. “We should have, we should have, we should have.” It’s a campaign of hopes and wishes. Frankly, I haven’t heard yet Salazar’s plan to get people into a coalition who have been working with the enemy. We were attacked on 9/11. This country was attacked; 3,000 people were incinerated. We have an enemy that, if they could have killed 300,000 or three million, would have had no more remorse. I think it takes strong, bold action. I think that’s what Bush did, and I support that action.

Source: Colorado Senate Debate on Meet the Press Oct 10, 2004

Ken Salazar: Ensure emergency personnel have the support and resources

We must ensure that our police, fire and other emergency personnel have the support and resources they need to protect us in our communities. As Colorado’s chief law enforcement officer, I have worked with first responders all across our state on training and preparedness. We must make sure that all levels of government, as well as key private sectors of the economy like telecommunications and energy, cooperate to the fullest possible extent to protect our infrastructure.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, SalazarForColorado.com Mar 10, 2004

  • The above quotations are from State of Colorado Politicians: Archives.
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Page last updated: Mar 28, 2014