Joseph Lieberman on Homeland Security

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Treating terrorists as criminals prevents obtaining info

I don't see any reason to continue giving Miranda rights to foreign terrorists, as we did to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be bomber of Flight 253. As Senators Collins and Lieberman wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder, the decision to treat Abdulmutallab as an ordinary criminal "almost certainly prevented the military and the intelligence community from obtaining information that would have been critical to learning more about how our enemy operates and to preventing future attacks." This is just common sense; intelligence is our first line of defense in war. That's why I voted in Congress to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) so the president and the attorney general could authorize electronic surveillance of foreign agents without a court order. Extending full legal protections to foreign terrorists will simply mean more dead Americans.
Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.250 , Nov 15, 2010

2002: Made case to Bush for new Homeland Security Department

Shortly after 9/11, I appointed Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania to a new senior White House position overseeing our homeland security effort. Tom brought valuable management experience, but by early 2002, it had become clear that the task was too large to be coordinated out of a small White House office.
Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.155-156 , Nov 9, 2010

2000: Tried & failed to review Florida military ballots

On Nov. 18 2000, the military and overseas absentee ballots were counted. Bush won 64% of them, gaining 1,380 votes to Gore's 750. When all were in, Bush's lead had grown to 930 votes. I was never so happy about such a small change out of 6 million votes cast. But it could have been better. The Gore campaign succeeded in suppressing at least 1,400 military and overseas ballots, which could have added another 400 votes to our margin. In counties Gore carried, the mostly Democratic election boards rejected 60% of the military/overseas ballots they received. In counties Bush carried, 29% of the military/overseas ballots were kicked out. On Saturday, we released an instruction sheet that the Gore high command had drafted outlining how to challenge military ballots. Their tactic was too much for even Sen. Joe Lieberman, who said on "Meet the Press" that he would urge local election boards "to go back and take another look" at the discarded ballots. It was too late.
Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.207 , Nov 2, 2010

Waterboarding is merely psychological; not real torture

"A no-brainer."
Dick Cheney, on waterboarding, Oct. 24, 2006

"Well, I'm not sure it is either. It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it."
--Rudy Giuliani, on waterboarding not being torture, Oct. 24, 2007

"It is not like putting burning coals on people's bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological."
--Sen. Joe Lieberman, after voting against a bill prohibiting waterboarding, Feb.14, 2008

Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 87 , Oct 1, 2008

Waterboarding is merely psychological; not real torture

"A no-brainer."
Dick Cheney, on waterboarding, Oct. 24, 2006

"Well, I'm not sure it is either. It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it."
--Rudy Giuliani, on waterboarding not being torture, Oct. 24 2007

"It is not like putting burning coals on people's bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological."
--Sen. Joe Lieberman, after voting against a bill prohibiting waterboarding, Feb.14, 2008

Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 87 , Oct 1, 2008

North Korea must know that we are prepared to use force

Q: When should military action be considered against North Korea and Iran?

LAMONT: In each case, first and foremost, it’s time for hard-headed direct negotiations--negotiations backed up by sanctions, and negotiations are always backed up by the threat of force. Negotiation is not a form of appeasement.

SCHLESINGER: North Korea can be dealt with either bilaterally or in 6-way talks. In Iran, Ahmadinejad has 18 nuclear facilities, 6 enriched nuclear warheads, and that’s not for energy purposes.

LIEBERMAN: The nuclearization of North Korea & Iran remind us that we live in a dangerous world. With regards to both Iran & North Korea, we need to first use economic and diplomatic sanctions, as we’re doing now, through the UN and other organizations. But they must know that in the final analysis, the US and our allies are prepared, though We do not want to use military power, To stop Iran from becoming nuclear, and to stop North Korea from selling any of its nuclear weapons to terrorists.

Source: CT 2006 Debate with Al Terzi, moderator , Oct 19, 2006

Iran: Sponsored resolution calling for regime change

LAMONT: Sen. Lieberman endorsed a resolution calling for regime change in Iran. That’s how we got into Iraq. You can’t be calling for regime change at the same time we’re trying to engage these countries in a direct bilateral way.

SCHLESINGER: Haven’t we learned anything from history? If you think you can negotiate with Ahmadinejad, no, our security is on the line. The guy’s playing cat-and-mouse with us. One day he says he’ll go with the incentives, and the next day not.

LIEBERMAN: I’m proud that I co-sponsored that bipartisan resolution calling for regime change in Iran because there are some leaders you can’t negotiate with. Look at what Ahmadinejad has said. History reminds us in the case of Hitler and Osama bin Laden that they said exactly what they ultimately did. He wants to wipe out Israel and he has told thousands “Imagine a world without the USA; that is possible in our time.” We need to be working with people in Iran, who hate this government, to help them overthrow it.

Source: CT 2006 Debate with Al Terzi, moderator (X-ref Lamont) , Oct 19, 2006

Last thing we want is to release dangerous Gitmo detainees

We entered a new age of our history after Sept. 11th, when we were attacked here at home as we have never been attacked before, by a brutal enemy, radical Islamist terrorism, killed 3,000 of our fellow Americans and they want to do it again. But in war, America has always been attested to achieve two goals, security and liberty, and liberty is what we’re all about.

The Bush administration felt its way and pushed the envelope, and the Supreme Court last week, in what I thought was an extraordinary decision in the best tradition of America, said, Mr. President, no one in this country is above the law, not even the president in a time of war. That was the right decision, and now the president will have to do what he should have done earlier, come to Congress and negotiate a legal way to treat the detainees at Guantanamo.

Please understand that there’s nothing in that court decision that orders us to release those detainees. They are dangerous. And the last thing we want to do is release them.

Source: 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate Primary debate , Jul 6, 2006

The president has the right to act alone

Q: Bush said the other night in the State of the Union address, “I don’t need a permission slip from the United Nations to defend the natural security interests of this country.” Isn’t that a legitimate position for a president of the US?

A: Yes, it is a legitimate position in the final analysis. Because in the end, if you still feel it is in the security interests of the US, as commander of chief, you will reserve the right to act alone to protect the security and freedom of the American people.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC , Jan 29, 2004

Unwavering support for our troops in battle

Q: You voted for the $87 billion for Iraq. Is this a blank check?

LIEBERMAN: It is not a blank check. I am the only person on this stage who has unwaveringly supported the removal of Saddam Hussein and our troops who are there carrying out that mission, which, yes, has made us a lot safer than we would be with Saddam in power. When it comes to supporting our troops in battle, I will never say no. Period. We owe them our lives and our liberties, and they deserve our unwavering support.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

Intelligence system must be reformed

Q: Do you support the government’s threat warning system?

A: What I’m concerned about is what’s behind the Bush administration color-coded system. They have still not reformed our intelligence system as they should have. They have still not coordinated watch lists. I’m the only one on this stage who drafted the original homeland security bill. We have something to fear, but if we pull together with tough leadership, we can give the American people a sense of confidence about their security.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum , Jan 11, 2004

Win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world

Q: How you could declare we are safer under your administration?

A: I’m the one, who together with a few other members of the Senate, wrote the homeland security bill, because we were disorganized before 9/11 and the terrorists took advantage of it. One of the ways you do it is not only to use American military to capture and/or kill Al Qaida, you win the larger battle for the hearts and minds of the great majority in the Muslim world who are living desperately poor lives in despotic countries.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum , Jan 11, 2004

Right-size the military with Servicemembers Bill of Rights

Lieberman said that he is hearing from veterans and military families who are angry about poor health care, lengthy deployments, and Pentagon attempts to cut benefits such as family separation allowances. President Bush’s promise to the military that “help is on the way,” has never materialized-instead, Lieberman said, the Bush administration has treated servicemembers with “arrogance.”

Lieberman has his own “help” plan, a document he has dubbed the “Servicemembers and Veterans Bill of Rights.” Lieberman said he will champion strong leadership, predictable deployments, competitive pay, family care, quality health care, no barriers to service, quality education, affordable housing and job opportunities. Among the senator’s promises are to “right size” the military, rationalize rotations and make deployments more predictable. Lieberman said he has not yet formulated the details of his right-sizing plan, but that “I don’t exclude the possibility of increasing the number of active-duty” Army.

Source: Stars and Stripes (military journal) , Nov 14, 2003

Go back to the UN and negotiate about Iraq

Q: What would you do differently with the troops on the ground now?

A: But here we are today, we’ve got 135,000 Americans there. I would go back to the UN, and I would come off the Bush high horse and negotiate and turn over the civilian administration of Iraq to the UN and the Iraqis. I didn’t support the war in Iraq so that America could control Iraq. I supported it to get rid of a homicidal maniac named Saddam Hussein and to let the Iraqis control Iraq.

Source: CNN “Rock The Vote” Democratic Debate , Nov 5, 2003

Reform America’s intelligence system post-9-11

Q: What will you do to improve intelligence gathering by US agencies?

A: In an age of terrorism having the best intelligence in the world is critically important. Our intelligence agencies failed us prior to Sept. 11th. I look forward to the Sept. 11 investigation commission’s recommendations on how to improve our nation’s intelligence gathering because reforming America’s intelligence system will be a priority for me as president.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 3, 2003

War against terrorism should use both swords & ploughshares

We must insist on a foreign policy that deals more constructively and cooperatively with the other nations of the world.

The war against terrorism cannot be fought with swords alone; we must use ploughshares, too. The Muslim world from which Al Qaeda emerges is in the midst of a civil war between a moderate majority, which seeks a better life, and a militant minority, which seeks to wage permanent war against all who are different. For Americans to be fully secure, we must support the moderate Muslim majority's interests and aspirations. On top of draining the terrorist swamp, we must also seek the garden-helping average men and women flourish by increasing economic opportunities and laying the institutional foundations of a civil society.

Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p.169 , Oct 14, 2003

Prosecute War on Terror, even if unpopular

Q: As president, what would be the least popular, most right thing you would do?

LIEBERMAN: I’m going to prosecute the war against terrorism and win it even if it’s unpopular because that’s here our future security rests.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

9/11 requires strength abroad to provide security at home

KUCINICH [to Lieberman]: You and Dick Gephardt were two of the biggest supporters of President Bush’s war against Iraq. You both endorsed his proposal for unilateral first strike. The president’s ever-changing reasons for going to war have not been justified by the evidence. Now how can we as Democrats win this election if we simply rubber stamp this president’s destabilizing foreign policy of preemption, and nuclear first-strike, without offering a serious alternative?

LIEBERMAN: I’d say how can we win this election if we send a message of weakness on defense and security after September 11, 2001? Protecting the American people’s security, giving them a sense of safety, making sure people in this country are not worried when their loved ones go out to the mall, or take a train, go to a movie theater--that is the first goal of our government, and that means being strong on defense and homeland security.

Source: [X-ref from Kucinich] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

American military is best in the world; and has proven it

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: The US military is worse off today than it was eight years ago. A high priority will be to rebuild the US military, to give them the resources they need to do the job we ask them to do for us and to give them good leadership.

LIEBERMAN: I want to assure the American people that the American military is the best-trained, best-equipped, most powerful force in the world, and that Al Gore and I will do whatever it takes to keep them that way. It’s not right and it’s not good for our military to run them down, essentially, in the midst of a partisan political debate. And judging by its results, from Desert Storm to Kosovo, the American military has performed brilliantly.

CHENEY: The facts are dramatically different. I’m not attacking the military, Joe. I have enormous regard for the men and women of the US military. But it’s irresponsible to suggest that we should not have this debate in a presidential campaign.

Source: (X-ref Cheney) Vice-presidential debate , Oct 5, 2000

Don’t alarm America - the military is ready

Q: How do you assess the military?

LIEBERMAN: Secretary Cohen, General Shelton, will tell you that the military is ready. If you look at our budget, we commit more than twice as much as Governor Bush. I don’t want the American people to feel insecure. We have met our recruitment targets in each of the services this year. In fact, in the areas where our opponents have said we are overextended, such as the Balkans, the soldiers there have the highest rate of reenlistment than anywhere else. This administration has begun to transform the military to prepare it to meet the threats of weapons of mass destruction, of ballistic missiles, of terrorism.

CHENEY: Everybody wearing the uniform is a volunteer. When we don’t give them leadership, we undermine morale. There is no more important responsibility for a president than his role as commander in chief, and his decision when to send our men and women to war. When we send them without the right kind of training, we put their lives at risk.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate , Oct 5, 2000

Work with Iraqi opposition to overthrow Saddam

Q: If Saddam Hussein were found to be developing weapons of mass destruction, Governor Bush has said he would “Take him out.” Would you agree?

LIEBERMAN: It would be serious if we had evidence that Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. I don’t think a political campaign is the occasion to declare exactly what we would do. I think that’s a matter of such critical national security that it ought to be left to the commander in chief, the leaders of the military, the secretary of state. The Gulf War was a great victory. But the war did not end with a total victory. As a result, we have had almost 10 years of instability. There’s not going to be peace until he goes, and that’s why I was proud to co-sponsor the Iraq Liberation Act, why I have kept in touch with the Iraqi opposition. Vice President Gore met with them earlier this year. We will continue to support them until the Iraqi people rise up and do what the people of Serbia have done in the last few days: get rid of a despot.

Source: Vice-Presidential debate , Oct 5, 2000

Supported use of force in Gulf War

Lieberman stood out in 1991, when he was one of only 10 Senate Democrats to vote to support President George Bush’s use of force against Iraq in the Gulf War -Gore also voted for that resolution.
Source: MSNBC.com , Aug 7, 2000

Kuwait: Congressional authorization plus use of force

When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990, I felt America’s post-Cold War commitment to national principles and international leadership was on the line. I was dismayed by the wide opposition among my fellow Democrats. To me, their position was wrong.

[At a Senate meeting in December 1990], I said, “I definitely think the President should come to Congress for authorization, but I want you to know that if he does, I will support him.”

Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p.128-9 , May 2, 2000

Joseph Lieberman on Star Wars + Nukes

Skipping generation of equipment will destroy readiness

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: [The US has experienced a] reduction in our forces far beyond anything that was justified by the end of the Cold War. At the same time, we’ve seen a rapid expansion of our commitments around the world as troops have been sent hither and yon. We’re over-committed and we’re under-resourced. This has had some other unfortunate effects. As equipment gets old, it has to be replaced. And we’ve taken money out of the procurement budget to support other ventures; we have not been investing in the future of the US military.

LIEBERMAN: And the fact is that Governor Bush recommended in his major policy statement on the military earlier this year that we skip the next generation of military equipment: helicopters, submarines, tactical air fighters, all the rest. That would really cripple our readiness, exactly the readiness that Dick Cheney is talking about.

Source: Vice-presidential debate , Oct 5, 2000

More $ for weapons; including SDI recently

On national security issues, Lieberman has regularly voted against efforts to reduce the military budget and has supported submarines and aircraft built at least in part by the many military contractors in Connecticut. Until the Clinton administration took office, Lieberman favored cutting funds for the Star Wars missile defense system, but recently he was one of the first Democrats to endorse deployment of such a system as soon as it was technologically realistic.
Source: David E. Rosenbaum, NY Times, p. A19 , Aug 8, 2000

Transform military for post-Cold War

I introduced legislation in 1996 to require the Pentagon to look beyond the near-time horizon, ten or twenty years into the future, to estimate what international dangers the US might have to deal with, and come back and tell us what we should be investing in now to be sure we will be ready then. The legislation resulted in pulling away from the so-called legacy weapons systems of the Cold War and investing in research & development that would produce higher-tech weapons for the next generations.
Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p.131 , May 2, 2000

SDI is no longer science fiction

Dramatic strides in science and exponential advances in information systems make military capabilities that seemed fantastic just a few years ago not only possible but even probable. In fact, with the increasing speed and range of precision munitions, and with our growing ability to make decisions based on unerring near real time information, it is not science fiction to expect to protect ourselves from missile attacks.
Source: Speech to U.S. Army Conference on Strategic Responsiveness , Nov 2, 1999

More R&D & better development for future army

We must now adopt bold change as our policy and move with a greater sense of urgency to achieve [a military for the 21st century]. I want to talk about a few of those elements that I think are particularly important. The first is achieving a shared vision of the future and deciding what we want our military to be able to do. Next is acting quickly and authoritatively to decide which weapons, organizations, and concepts will advance our military effectiveness, and then adopting policies that incentivize innovation and processes and resource priorities that facilitate change. And the third is increasing the priority of R&D and overhauling the R&D process to build a better foundation for future capability.

We must make two reforms a high priority. First, we should refine Joint Vision 2010 and accelerate its implementation. Second, we must modify our process for developing military requirements.

Source: Speech to U.S. Army Conference on Strategic Responsiveness , Nov 2, 1999

Supported Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

[The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty] promises to freeze our advantage in nuclear weapons. Since we are the strongest nation in history, why would we not want to take the risk of ratifying this treaty? It is a very small risk for increasing peace and security for all -- for our children, for our grandchildren. If we decide that testing is once again required by the US in pursuit of our national interests, that option is protected. The treaty language is very clear. We can -- and I am sure we will -- withdraw.
Source: Senate statement on Nuclear Test Ban Treaty , Oct 12, 1999

Deploy limited SDI to defend against rogue states

I support development and deployment of a limited national missile defense. Few if any of our duties surpass our obligation to provide for the common defense of our nation. In the very near future, erratic leaders of rogue regimes will control ballistic missiles, that can reach our national territory. Equally frightening, criminal or insurgent elements from countries in turmoil could also soon have access to those weapons. The threat is real, and it is current.
Source: Senate statement, “National Missile Defense” , Mar 15, 1999

Nuclear retaliation won’t stop rogue missile attacks

We face a real and growing threat that cannot be countered by our conventional forces and which will not be deterred by the threat of retaliation. Deterrence requires rationality. By definition, accidental, unauthorized, or rogue acts are not the acts of a rational person and cannot be reliably deterred. Thus, they must be endured or defended against. [The 1999 SDI bill] will not help defend against clandestine delivery, but it will begin to defend against a limited attack from rogue states.
Source: Senate statement, “National Missile Defense” , Mar 15, 1999

Joseph Lieberman on Voting Record

Voted against military pay increase

Source: Vote-smart.org “Voting Record” , Feb 24, 1999

Voted YES 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

Voted NO on cutting $221M in benefits to Filipinos who served in WWII US Army.

Opponents argument for voting NAY:Sen. INOUYE. From the Spanish-American War in 1898, until the end of World War II, we exercised jurisdiction over the Philippines like a colonial power. In July 1941, we called upon the Filipinos to volunteer to serve the US under American command, and 470,000 Filipinos volunteered. An Executive Order in 1941 promised Filipinos if they fought for us, they could become citizens of the US and get all of the veterans' benefits. But in 1946, the Congress rescinded the 1941 act. Well, this veterans bill has a provision in it--a provision of honor--in which, finally, after six decades, we will restore our honor and tell the Filipinos: It is late, but please forgive us. Proponents argument for voting YEA:Sen. BURR. This bill is so much more than just a pension for Philippine veterans. It is $332 million in Philippine benefits, of which $221 million is devoted to a new special pension that does not exist [previously. Only that $221M would be cut]. Regardless of the outcome of my amendment, I support final passage of this bill. But we do have a difference as it relates to the pensions. I believe that there was not a promise made. We did not imply it. Those who made the decision on the 1946 Rescissions Act, they looked at the history very well.

Sen. CORNYN. The problem I have with this bill is that the US Treasury is not bottomless, and the funding that is being provided to create this new pension would literally be at the expense of US veterans. The $221 million that is addressed by Sen. Burr's amendment would actually go back in to supplement benefits for US veterans. And while we appreciate and honor all of our allies who fought alongside of us in WWII, certainly that doesn't mean we are going to grant pension benefits to all of our allies, [like] the British or the Australians. Vote for the Burr Amendment because certainly our American veterans should be our priority.

Reference: Burr Amendment; Bill S.Amdt. 4572 to S. 1315 ; vote number 2008-111 on Apr 24, 2008

Voted NO on requiring FISA court warrant to monitor US-to-foreign calls.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. FEINGOLD: The Protect America Act (PAA) we passed last year was sold repeatedly as a way to allow the Government to collect foreign-to-foreign communications without needing the approval of the FISA Court. Now, this is something all of us support, every one of us. But the PAA actually went much further. It authorized new sweeping intrusions into the privacy of countless Americans. The bill the Senate is considering to replace the PAA does not do nearly enough to safeguard against Government abuse. So this amendment would provide those safeguards.

[The PAA allows] acquiring all the calls and e-mails between employees of a US company and a foreign company, with no requirement to get a warrant and no requirement that there be some link to terrorism. So any American who works at a company that does business overseas should think about that.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO: Sen. BOND: The purpose of this bill is, and always has been, to enable the intelligence community to act to target foreign terrorists and spies overseas.

The amendment, as it is drafted, will have a totally unexpected impact. It is difficult to explain, in an unclassified session, why this amendment is unworkable. There are only certain communications which the intelligence community is lawfully permitted to acquire, and which it has any desire to acquire, because to acquire all the communications from all foreigners is an absolutely impossible task.

I cannot describe in a public setting how they go about ascertaining which collections are important. But to say that if Osama bin Laden calls somebody in the US, we cannot listen in to that communication, unless we have an independent means of verifying it has some impact or a terrorist threat--That is the most important communication we need to intercept.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment Rejected, 38-57

Reference: Amendment to Protect America Act; Bill S.Amdt.3913 to S.2248 ; vote number 08-S012 on Feb 7, 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 nothing under its definition of "electronic surveillance" should encompass surveillance directed at any person reasonably believed to be located outside the US.

A modified version, S.2011, failed; 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 2007-309 on Aug 3, 2007

Voted NO on limiting soldiers' deployment to 12 months.

Vote on an amendment, SA2032, which amends HR1585, the Defense Authorization bill: To limit the deployment of a unit or individual of the Armed Forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom to no more than 12 consecutive months; and to limit Marine Corps deployment to no more than 7 consecutive months; except in time of national emergency.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. HAGEL: The war in Iraq has pushed the US Army to the breaking point. When we deploy our military, we have an obligation to ensure that our troops are rested, ready, prepared, fully trained, and fully equipped. Today's Armed Forces are being deployed repeatedly for increasing periods of time. This is quickly wearing down the troops and their families, impacting the mental and physical health of our troops. Further, these deployments are affecting the recruiting and retention rates of the military. For example, the Army reached only a little over 80% of its recruiting goal for June. This is the second month in a row that the Army has failed to recruit the number of new soldiers needed to fill the ranks. And this is with $1 billion in large cash bonus incentives.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. KYL: Time in theater and dwell times should be a goal, rather than an absolute fixed requirement that becomes the policy of the US military determined by congressional action. By mandating a certain policy for deployment time or dwell time, the Congress is engaged in the most explicit micromanaging of what is obviously a function for the Commander in Chief and military commanders to perform. This is not something Members of Congress are knowledgeable about or would have the ability to dictate in any responsible fashion. It also would be unconstitutional. Clearly, the dwell times of troops or the amount of time in theater is an obligation of the Commander in Chief, not something for the Congress to determine.

Reference: Hagel Amendment to Defense Authorization Bill; Bill SA2032 to HR1585 ; vote number 2007-243 on Jul 11, 2007

Voted YES on implementing the 9/11 Commission report.

Vote on passage of a bill to implement unfinished recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) to fight the war on terror more effectively:

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

One of the authors of the 9/11 Commission report said, the President's announced strategy should be given a chance to succeed. That is what I think we should do, give this plan a chance to succeed. Our troops in theater, our commanders, and the Iraqi leaders all believe they can see early signs of success in this program, even though it has just begun, and they are cautiously optimistic that it can succeed. I think it would be unconscionable for the Congress, seeing the beginnings of success here, to then act in any way that would pull the rug out from under our troops and make it impossible for them to achieve their mission.

Reference: Improving America's Security Act; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 2007-073 on Mar 13, 2007

Voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.

Sen. Specter's amendment would strike the provision regarding habeas review. The underlying bill authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. Excerpts from the Senate floor debate:

Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.

Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of habeas corpus is maintained.

GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.

SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.

Reference: Specter Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.5087 to S.3930 ; vote number 2006-255 on Sep 28, 2006

Voted YES on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods.

Amendment to provide for congressional oversight of certain Central Intelligence Agency programs. The underlying bill S. 3930 authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. The amendment requires quarterly reports describing all CIA detention facilities; the name of each detainee; their suspected activities; & each interrogation technique authorized for use and guidelines on the use of each such technique.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

I question the need for a very lengthy, detailed report every 3 months. We will probably see those reports leaked to the press.

This amendment would spread out for the world--and especially for al-Qaida and its related organizations--precisely what interrogation techniques are going to be used.

If we lay out, in an unclassified version, a description of the techniques by the Attorney General, that description will be in al-Qaida and Hezbollah and all of the other terrorist organizations' playbook. They will train their assets that: This is what you must be expected to do, and Allah wants you to resist these techniques.

We are passing this bill so that we can detain people. If we catch someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we have no way to hold him, no way to ask him the questions and get the information we need, because the uncertainty has brought the program to a close. It is vitally important to our security, and unfortunately this amendment would imperil it.

Reference: Rockefeller Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.5095 to S.3930 ; vote number 2006-256 on Sep 28, 2006

Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.

This vote reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act with some modifications (amendments). Voting YEA extends the PATRIOT Act, and voting NAY would phase it out. The official summary of the bill is:
A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes.
Reference: USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments; Bill S. 2271 ; vote number 2006-025 on Mar 1, 2006

Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.

Vote to invoke cloture on a conference report that extends the authority of the FBI to conduct "roving wiretaps" and access business records. Voting YES would recommend, in effect, that the PATRIOT Act be extended through December 31, 2009, and would makes the provisions of the PATRIOT Act permanent. Voting NO would extend debate further, which would have the effect of NOT extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.
Reference: Motion for Cloture of PATRIOT Act; Bill HR 3199 ; vote number 2005-358 on Dec 16, 2005

Voted YES on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism.

Vote to adopt an amendment that makes US businesses and their subsidiaries liable to prosecution for dealing with foreign businesses which have links to terrorism or whose parent country supports terrorism. Voting YES would:
Reference: Stop Business with Terrorists Act of 2005; Bill S AMDT 1351 to S 1042 ; vote number 2005-203 on Jul 26, 2005

Voted YES on restoring $565M for states' and ports' first responders.

Amendment intended to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by restoring $565 million in cuts to vital first-responder programs in the Department of Homeland Security, including the State Homeland Security Grant program, by providing $150 million for port security grants and by providing $140 million for 1,000 new border patrol agents.
Reference: State Homeland Security Grant Program Amendment; Bill S AMDT 220 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-64 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on adopting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would ban nuclear weapons testing six months after ratification by the 44 nations that have nuclear power plants or nucelar research reactors.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Rejected Y)48; N)51; P)1
Reference: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Bill Treaty Document #105-28 ; vote number 1999-325 on Oct 13, 1999

Voted YES on allowing another round of military base closures.

Vote on an amendment to allow one round of military base closures beginning in 2001 as determined by an independent panel.
Reference: Bill S.1059 ; vote number 1999-147 on May 26, 1999

Voted NO on cutting nuclear weapons below START levels.

The Kerrey (D-NE) amdt would strike bill language requiring that U.S. strategic nuclear forces remain at START I levels through the end of fiscal 2000 unless Russia ratified START II.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)56; N)44
Reference: Motion to table Kerrey Amdt #395; Bill S. 1059 ; vote number 1999-149 on May 26, 1999

Voted YES on deploying National Missile Defense ASAP.

Vote that the policy of the US is to deploy a National Missile Defense system capable of defending against limited ballistic missile attack as soon as it is technologically possible, and to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces.
Reference: Bill S 257 ; vote number 1999-51 on Mar 17, 1999

Voted NO on military pay raise of 4.8%.

Vote to pass a bill to authorize a military pay raise of 4.8% in 2000 and annual pay increases through 2006 of 0.5% above the inflation rate. The bill would also provide additional incentives to certain enlisted personnel who remain on active duty.
Reference: Bill S.4 ; vote number 1999-26 on Feb 24, 1999

Voted NO on prohibiting same-sex basic training.

Byrd Amdt (D-WV) that would prohibit same-sex military barracks and basic training.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)39; N)53; NV)8
Reference: Byrd Amdt #3011; Bill S. 2057 ; vote number 1998-180 on Jun 25, 1998

Voted NO on favoring 36 vetoed military projects.

Overturning line-item vetoes of 36 military projects vetoed by President Clinton.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)30; NV)1
Reference: Line Item Veto Cancellation bill; Bill S. 1292 ; vote number 1997-287 on Oct 30, 1997

Voted YES on banning chemical weapons.

Approval of the chemical weapons ban.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Agreed to Y)74; N)26
Reference: Resolution of ratification of the Chemical (Comprehensive) Weapons (Convention) Ban; Bill S. Res. 75 ; vote number 1997-51 on Apr 24, 1997

Voted NO on considering deploying NMD, and amending ABM Treaty.

Vote to consider establishing a policy requiring the deployment of a national missile defense system by the end of 2003. The bill would also urge discussions with Russia to amend the ABM Treaty to allow deployment of the system.
Reference: Bill S 1635 ; vote number 1996-157 on Jun 4, 1996

Voted YES on 1996 Defense Appropriations.

Approval of the 1996 Defense Appropriations bill.
Status: Bill Passed Y)62; N)35; NV)3
Reference: Defense Approps Bill FY 96; Bill S. 1087 ; vote number 1995-397 on Sep 5, 1995

Rated 10% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.

Lieberman scores 10% 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 Pentagon’s 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 Iraq budget to be part of defense budget.

Lieberman introduced requiring Iraq War budget be part of regular defense budget

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: Since the start of both the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, expenditures for those war have been voted for in "emergency supplemental spending bills," instead of in the normal defense spending bill. That implies that the expenditures are unexpectedly high, which may have been true in the early years of the war. This amendment requires regular budgeting for the Afghanistan & Iraq wars.

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To require regular budgeting for ongoing military operations.


LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote, 98-0, Vote Number: 170.

Source: Defense Authorization Bill (S.AMDT.4242 to S.2766) 06-SP4242 on Jun 14, 2006

Improve mental health care benefits for returning veterans.

Lieberman co-sponsored improving mental health care benefits for returning veterans

Honoring Our Nation's Obligation to Returning Warriors Act (HONOR Warriors Act): House version is H.R.6268; Senate versions are S.2963 and S.3008. Legislative Summary:

  1. To improve and enhance the mental health care benefits available to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to enhance counseling and other benefits available to survivors of members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and for other purposes.
  2. Scholarship program for education and training of behavioral health care specialists for vet centers.
  3. Eligibility of members of the armed forces who serve in operation Iraqi freedom or operation enduring freedom for counseling and services through vets centers.
  4. Restoration of authority of vets centers to provide referral and other assistance upon request to former members of the armed forces not authorized counseling.
  5. Treatment of suicides of certain former members of the armed forces as deaths in line of duty for purposes of eligibility of survivors for certain benefits.
  6. Grants for non-profit organizations for the provision of emotional support services to survivors of members of the armed forces and veterans.
  7. Pilot programs on awareness enhancement for members of the army regarding post traumatic stress disorder.
Source: HONOR Warriors Act (H.R.6268) 08-H6268 on Jun 12, 2008

Improve educational assistance for veterans.

Lieberman 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

Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, and reinstate discharged gays.

Lieberman signed HR1283&S3065

Repeals current Department of Defense policy [popularly known as "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell"] concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces. Prohibits the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation against any member of the Armed Forces or any person seeking to become a member. Authorizes the re-accession into the Armed Forces of otherwise qualified individuals previously separated for homosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexual conduct.

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the furnishing of dependent benefits in violation of section 7 of title 1, United States Code (relating to the definitions of 'marriage' and 'spouse' and referred to as the 'Defense of Marriage Act').

Source: Military Readiness Enhancement Act 10-HR1283 on Mar 3, 2010

Military spouses don't lose voting residency while abroad.

Lieberman signed Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

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

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