Rand Paul on Homeland Security


Multiple requests for security at Benghazi were ignored

Q: You have blamed Republicans and Democrats, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for the prosecution of foreign policy. If she's a candidate for President, is this the main argument against her candidacy?

PAUL: I think if you want to be Commander-in-Chief the bar you have to cross is will you defend the country--will you provide adequate security--and that's why Benghazi is not a political question for me. To me it's not the talking points--that's never been the most important part of Benghazi--it's the six months leading up to Benghazi where there were multiple requests for more security--and it never came. This was under Hillary Clinton's watch. She will have to overcome that--and we will make her answer for Benghazi.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 22, 2014

Benghazi disqualifies Hillary from the presidency

Q: On Hillary Clinton, you said, "she will be made to pay for Benghazi." How?

PAUL: She will have to explain how she can be commander and chief when she was not responsive to multiple requests for more security in the six months leading up. She wouldn't approve a 16-person personnel team and she would not approve an airplane to help them get around the country. In the last 24 hours, a plane was very important and it was not available. These are really serious questions beyond talking points that occurred under her watch.

Q: Benghazi is disqualifying for her?

PAUL: I think so. The American people want a commander-in-chief that will send reinforcements, that will defend the country, and that will provide the adequate security. And I think in the moment of need--a long moment, a six-month moment--she wasn't there.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 22, 2014

Don't let people who make money off weapons define policy

Q: Some tapes of you have emerged recently. You were very critical of Dick Cheney. You suggested that he was opposed to going into Baghdad in 1991:

(VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton, makes hundreds of millions of dollars as CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government it's a good idea to go to Iraq. (END VIDEO CLIP)

Q: Do you really think that Cheney was motivated by his financial ties to Halliburton?

PAUL: I'm not questioning his motives. I don't think Dick Cheney did it out of malevolence, I think he loves his country as much as I love the country.

Q: But you said we don't want our defense to be defined by people who make money off the weapons.

PAUL: There's a chance for a conflict of interest. At one point in time, he was opposed going into Baghdad. Then he was out of office and involved in the defense industry and then he became for going into Baghdad.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 13, 2014

National defense is important, but no blank check

Q: You were against the resolution on Iran and nuclear weapons. On these issues you are more closely associated with the left.

PAUL: I think that's an incorrect conclusion, you know. I would say my foreign policy is right there with what came out of Ronald Reagan.

Q: But Reagan went through a huge defense buildup. One of the first things you did when you got elected was propose a nearly $50 billion cut to the Pentagon, bigger than the sequester.

PAUL: The sequester actually didn't cut spending; the sequester cut the rate of growth of spending over 10 years.

Q: But the point is you proposed curbing defense spending more than the sequester.

PAUL: Even though I believe national defense is the most important thing we do, but it isn't a blank check. Some conservatives think, oh, give them whatever they want and that everything is for our soldiers and they play up this patriotism that--oh, we don't have to control defense spending. We can't be a trillion dollars in the hole every year.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 13, 2014

NSA monitoring is an affront to 1776 sons of liberty

The sons of liberty who fought against British soldiers writing their own warrants, would today, make a bonfire of secret orders issued by federal police. The sons of liberty risked everything to guarantee your right to a trial by jury. They would today, call out to the president, they would say, 'we will not be detained, spied upon nor have our rights abridged. We will not submit and we will not trade our liberty for security, not now, not ever.'

Yet, as our voices rise in protest, the NSA monitors your every phone call. If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.

I believe this is a profound constitutional question: can a single warrant be applied to millions of American's credit cards? Your government says you don't own your records, that your Visa statement does not belong to you. I disagree, the 4th Amendment is very clear, warrants should be issued by a judge, warrants must be specific to the individual.

Source: Speech at 2014 CPAC convention , Mar 8, 2014

Allow challenges to NSA in open court, not FISA court

Q: What about clemency for Edward Snowden?

PAUL: I don't know whether any information has been distributed to foreign powers, and that would be a great deal of concern. But I'm also concerned that the national defense director lied to Congress. He's seriously damaged out standing in the world. Now, we're seen to be spying not only on foreign leaders, but there's an accusation that we spied on the pope, as well.

Q: Do you think the NSA should get out ahead of all of this and put out everything they knew Snowden to have?

PAUL: Maybe. But I think the fundamental question about whether or not this is constitutional or not should not be decided by the administration, nor by a secret FISA court. It needs to get into the Supreme Court. I've introduced a FISA bill that would allow cases like this to be challenged in open court. And we should determine once and all whether or not a single warrant can apply to every American. I don't think it does and I think the Supreme Court will side with us.

Source: ABC This Week 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 3, 2013

Give trials to Guantanamo detainees

OBAMA (VIDEO CLIP): I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any US citizen with a drone, or with a shotgun without due process.

PAUL: I was pleased with his words, However, there still is a question in my mind of what he thinks due process is? You know, due process to most of us is a court of law, it's a trial by a jury. For example, last year we passed legislation that I voted against, and that's detaining citizens indefinitely without a trial, and sending them to Guantanamo Bay.

Q: The president did speak about closing Guantanamo. Do you think it should be closed?

PAUL: No. I think it's become a symbol of something though, and I think things should change. For example, I think the people being held there are bad people. What I would do though is accuse them, charge them, and try them in military tribunals, or trials. And I think that would go a long way toward showing the world that we're not going to hold them without charge forever.

Source: ABC This Week 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 26, 2013

Filibuster to establish no drones on citizens in America

Q: In your filibuster of 13 hours, you argued against the president's drone policy. You got this letter from the Attorney General: "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that, is no." You said you were happy with that letter, but doesn't it leave a loophole, if the American is "involved in combat"?

PAUL: If people are attacking the Twin Towers with planes, I never argued you wouldn't use drones or F-16s to repel that kind of attack. The problem is, a lot of the drone attacks are killing people not actively engaged in combat. If you are accused of being associated with terrorism, which could mean you are an Arab-American and you've sent e-mails to a relative in the Middle East, you should get your day in court. Did the president completely slam the door on not using drones? No, I think there's wiggle room in there, but we did force him to at least narrow what his power is and that was my goal.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 24, 2013

13-hour filibuster against drone strikes targeting Americans

The message for the President is that no one person gets to decide the law, no one person gets to decide your guilt or innocence. My question to the President was about more than just killing Americans on American soil. My question was about whether Presidential power has limits.

President Obama who seemed, once upon a time, to respect civil liberties, has become the President who signed a law allowing for the indefinite detention of an American citizen. Indeed, a law that allows an American citizen to be sent to Guantanamo Bay without a trial. President Obama defends his signing of the bill by stating that he has no intention of detaining any American citizen without a trial.

Likewise, he defended his possible targeted Drone strikes against Americans on American soil by indicating that he has no intention of doing so. Well, my 13-hour filibuster was a message to the President. Good intentions are not enough. We want to know, will you or won't you defend the Constitution?

Source: Speech at 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Mar 14, 2013

Only Judiciary can detain and drone, not the President

If we destroy our enemy but lose what defines our freedom in the process, have we really won? If we allow one man to charge Americans as enemy combatants and indefinitely detain or drone them, then what exactly is it our brave young men and women are fighting for?

There can be no justice if you combine the Executive and Judicial branch into one. We separated arrest and accusation from trial and verdict for a reason. In our country, the police can arrest, but only your peers can convict. We prize our Bill of Rights like no other country.

To those who would dismiss this debate as frivolous, I say tell that to the heroic young men and women who have sacrificed their limbs and lives, tell it to the 6,000 parents whose kids died as American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, tell them that the Bill of Rights is no big deal.

Yes, the filibuster was about drones, but also about much more. Do we have a Bill of Rights or not? Do we have a Constitution or not and will we defend it?

Source: Speech at 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Mar 14, 2013

Military sacrifice spreads flame of freedom around the world

We speak often of those who fight for our freedom overseas, and we should. There are many sacrifices made by our men and women in the military to spread the flame of freedom around the world. Thanks to them, America has been a beacon of liberty and a grand example of freedom for people all over the world for 236 years.

Our Founding Fathers spent, and often gave, their lives to build a new country, where men could truly be free, a nation where the rights granted to us by our Creator could not be trampled on or taken by government.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 57 , Sep 12, 2012

Cut defense spending as part of cutting all federal spending

My proposal [for spending cuts] would have simply rolled back federal spending to 2008 levels by initiating reductions at various levels almost across the board. My proposal included cutting wasteful spending in the Department of Defense, especially considering that since 2001 our annual defense budget increased nearly 120%. Even subtracting the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon spending was up 67%. These levels of spending were unjustified and unsustainable-- and yet too many Republicans also thought these Defense Department cuts made my proposal too "extreme."
Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. xiii , Jan 10, 2012

The Patriot Act is intrusive; it's what the Founders feared

Sometimes conservatives seem to believe that giving the federal government unprecedented power in spying or warrantless wiretapping is somehow a positive development, but this is exactly the sort of intrusiveness the Founders feared most. This sort of invasiveness is also precisely the reason we have a Second Amendment protecting our right to keep and bear arms.
Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p.124 , Feb 22, 2011

Put defense spending on the table for reducing budget

National security is a primary function of our federal government and I even think defense should be the largest part of our budget-a budget many would agree should be reduced overall. Everything must be on the table, and we cannot even begin to control spending without a serious re-assessment of America's military role in the world and how much we're willing to pay for it.
Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p.135 , Feb 22, 2011

Defense should be largest part of much smaller budget

Government and our national debt grew exponentially under Reagan, something many Republicans like to blame on a Democratic congress or defense build-up, the latter of which increased 40% during his presidency. Of course, national defense is a primary function of our federal government and I believe should probably be the largest part of our budget--albeit a much smaller budget. Today, too many Democrats always want to cut the defense budget but never domestic spending, while too many Republicans always want to cut domestic spending while ignoring the defense budget. Americans who want to seriously reduce the debt, many inspired by the Tea Party, are beginning to realize we must look at the entire budget, leaving no stone unturned.
Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p. 30 , Feb 22, 2011

How much of what is spent on defense is actual "defense"?

Of course we all recognize the need to fully fund military, to defend against any threats and defeat any enemies on the horizon. But we also need to recognize that America already spends nearly as much on defense as every other county on earth combined. Is this necessary? Are all of our foreign commitments necessary? What America spends on defense---it should be asked, how much of this qualifies as actual "defense"?--accounts for almost of total global defense spending. Is this right? We spend billions of dollars keeping and maintaining foreign bases--shouldn't our allies be shouldering some of the cost, particularly when it comes to their own defense? Much like entitlements, what we spend on our military has long been drastically out of sync with what we can actually afford, producing the same expensive results that always characterize big government.
Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p. 31 , Feb 22, 2011

Remove waste from last decade's doubling of military budget

There is one compromise we will have to make as conservatives: We will have to look long & hard at the military budget. The most important thing that our government does is our national defense. But you cannot say that the doubling of the military budget in the last 10 years has been done wisely and there's not any waste in it. If you refuse to acknowledge that there's any waste can be culled from the military budget, you are a big-government conservative and can you not lay claim to balancing the budget
Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 11, 2011

Warrantless searches overstep Constitutional powers

In the last nine years, the Federal Government has expanded the scope of its power at an alarming rate, while blatantly ignoring the Constitution. Whether it's passing the 315 page Patriot Act without a single member of Congress ever reading the bill, proposing a National ID Card, establishing FISA courts and utilizing warrantless searches, or betraying the medical privacy of ordinary citizens, the Federal Government has overstepped its limited powers as stipulated in the Constitution.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.randpaul2010.com, "issues" , Sep 1, 2010

Treat armed service members like heroes

Defending our Country is the most important function of the federal government. When we are threatened, it is the obligation of our representatives to unleash the full arsenal of power that is granted by and derived from free men and women.

The men and women of our armed services deserve to be treated like the heroes that they are. No other group of federal employees is subject to such unfair treatment as our service men and women; and no other deserves the best.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.randpaul2010.com, "Issues" , Jul 19, 2010

Defense policy is influenced by the makers of weapons

Paul spells out his concerns about current U.S. foreign policy as well as abuses in the national defense procurement cycle. This leftist, um, libertarian-Republican questions the bedrock assumption held by many Republicans that it's possible to balance the budget by going after welfare queens is baloney. The reason: The military-industrial complex - which he mentions by name.

"We give billion dollar contracts to Halliburton and they turn around and spend millions on lobbyists to go ask for more money for government so it's an endless cycle of special interest lobbyists then the weapons we decide make--we're being influenced by the makers of weapons on which are the best weapons. That's a crime."

Source: CBS News, Coop's Corner, "Palin: Big Tent Republican?" , Feb 1, 2010

Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.

Congressional Summary: A bill to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Smith, R-TX]: America is safe today not because terrorists and spies have given up their goal to destroy our freedoms and our way of life. We are safe today because the men and women of our Armed Forces, our intelligence community, and our law enforcement agencies work every single day to protect us. And Congress must ensure that they are equipped with the resources they need to counteract continuing terrorist threats. On Feb. 28, three important provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. These provisions give investigators in national security cases the authority to conduct "roving" 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.
Status: Passed 86-12

Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act; Bill H.514 ; vote number 11-SV019 on Feb 17, 2011

Supports banning homosexuals in the military.

Paul supports the CC survey question on banning homosexuals in the military

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Enforcing the 1993 law banning homosexuals in the military"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q3a on Aug 11, 2010

Sponsored opposing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

Paul co-sponsored Resolution on UN

Congressional Summary:Expressing the conditions for the US becoming a signatory to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

  1. the President should not sign the Arms Trade Treaty, and that the Senate should not ratify the ATT; and
  2. that no Federal funds should be authorized to implement the ATT.

Opponent's argument against bill:(United Nations press release, June 3, 2013):

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon str

Source: S.CON.RES.7 & H.CON.RES.23 : 13-SC007 on Mar 13, 2013

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