Rand Paul on Homeland Security

Republican Kentucky Senator


Don't sell arms abroad as a jobs program

Q: You propose terminating arms deals with Saudi Arabia. What about the president's argument that these create hundreds of thousands of American jobs?

PAUL: I don't think arms should ever be seen as a jobs program. Our arms, our military arms, the sophistication of our arms are part of our national defense. These aren't something that are just owned by private companies, they are owned by the country, and I think we should never sell arms to any country in less it's in national security interest.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Oct 21, 2018

Oppose Trump nominees who supported Iraq War or torture

Rand Paul is vowing to do everything he can to stop Mike Pompeo from becoming secretary of state, saying that Pompeo's earlier support for the Iraq war and defense of enhanced interrogation techniques--or "torture" in the view of Paul--is disqualifying. And the Kentucky senator indicated he may be willing to filibuster CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, who he says is "gleeful" in her defense of torture techniques.

Paul argued, "I'm perplexed by the nomination of people who love the Iraq War so much that they would advocate for a war with Iran next. President Trump campaigned [that] the unintended consequences of regime change in Iraq led to instability in the Middle East."

On Haspel's confirmation, Paul said Haspel's remarks about her time overseeing a CIA "black-ops" site disqualified her from the job of leading the intelligence agency. "My opposition to her is over her direct participation in interrogation and her gleeful enjoyment at the suffering of someone being tortured," Paul said.

Source: Politico.com on 2018 Trump Administration , Mar 14, 2018

Fiscal conservatives must oppose unlimited military spending

Q: We have deficits projected to be a trillion dollars, which you criticized in 2010.

PAUL: One of the questions Republicans are not willing to ask themselves is, "Can you be fiscally conservative and be for unlimited military spending?" There's sort of this question, "is the military budget too small?", or maybe "is our mission too large around the world?" And because Republicans are unwilling to confront that, they want more and more and more for military spending. And to get that, they have to give Democrats what they want, which is more for domestic spending.

Q: Is the current level of defense spending, or the mission, reckless?

PAUL: I think the mission is beyond what we need to be. We're actively in war in about seven countries, and yet the Congress hasn't voted on declaring or authorizing the use of military force in over 15 years now.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Feb 11, 2018

Both refugees and visa waivers pose threat

Q: You made an effort this week to block Syrian refugees and people from other countries that you thought were dangerous. But the experts are more worried about the visa waivers, which is to say people who could come in through Europe. Why isn't that the bigger problem?

PAUL: It's all of the above. My bill would have addressed refugees, students, visitors and those who want to emigrate from countries that have significant jihadists movements. The Boston bombers also came here as refugees and became radicalized. So I think that for the president to say there's no danger is incorrect. But I do agree with those who say the visa waiver program is a problem. There are many French citizens who want to attack their government and attack us and we have no program for screening them. I say they should all come in through global entry, sort of a frequent flier program where you have to get background check or they have to wait 30 days.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage of Syrian Refugee crisis , Nov 22, 2015

Talk with Iran like we talked to Russians during Cold War

We continued to talk with the Russians throughout the Cold War. Should we continue to talk with Iran? Yes. Should we cut up the [Iranian nuclear inspection] agreement immediately? That's absurd. Wouldn't you want to know if they complied? Now, I'm going to vote against the agreement because I don't think there's significant leverage, but it doesn't mean that I would immediately not look at the agreement, and cut it up without looking to see if whether or not Iran has complied.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Stop funding & arming allies of ISIS

Q: You recently blamed the rise of ISIS on Republican hawks. You later added, "Everything they've talked about in foreign policy, they've been wrong for the last 20 years." Why are you so quick to blame your own party?

PAUL: First of all, only ISIS is responsible for the terrorism. Only ISIS is responsible for the depravity. But, we do have to examine, how are we going to defeat ISIS? I've got a proposal. I'm the leading voice in America for not arming the allies of ISIS. I've been fighting amidst a lot of opposition from both Hillary Clinton, as well as some Republicans who wanted to send arms to the allies of ISIS. ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of US Humvees. It's a disgrace. We shouldn't fund our enemies, for goodness sakes. So, we didn't create ISIS--ISIS created themselves, but we will stop them, and one of the ways we stop them is by not funding them, and not arming them.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

2015: Introduced Arming All Pilots Act

Senator Rand Paul has taken up the cause of improving airline safety and introduced a bill titled the Arming All Pilots Act of 2015. "My bill will make it possible for more pilots to get trained and protect flyers. Pilots regularly tell me they've experienced problems with the availability of training under the current program; my bill addresses those concerns and ensures that participants in the program have access to licenses and the critical training they need."
Source: Human Events magazine on 2016 Kentucky Senate race , Jun 18, 2015

Provide veterans support tools to adjust to civilian life

As a physician, it is particularly upsetting to me when I hear of bad experiences our veterans have had with the Department of Veterans Affairs. These experiences represent a failure of one of our most basic obligations - to provide for those who have worn the uniform and shouldered the burdens of war.

We owe it to the men and women who have served in combat to provide them with quality care for injuries sustained in defense of this nation. We must provide our veterans the necessary support tools as they adjust back to civilian life.

We consider all veterans, service members and their families to be an important part of our local communities. As President, I will continue to support veterans and service members of this country. It is my strong belief that we must protect those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, RandPaul.com, "Issues" , Apr 7, 2015

Conservative realist, matured from isolationism

Paul called for a national defense "robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests." He also called for a "foreign policy that protects American interests and encourages stability--not chaos." He is also planning to issue a series of position papers on America's role in the world.

It's all part of a campaign strategy to eliminate the widespread suspicion that Paul is an isolationist. But to many foreign-policy conservatives, Paul's past expressions of skepticism about US intervention abroad and support for sweeping cuts to the defense and foreign-aid budgets speak more loudly than his words on the campaign trail.

Paul's advisers insist that his views have matured since being elected to the Senate. He has educated himself on international affairs, and he's developed a "conservative realist" vision of America's role in the world that is not isolationist but still judicious about U.S. entanglements overseas.

Source: Politico.com 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 7, 2015

National defense should be unencumbered by nation building

At CPAC, Paul defended his non-interventionist foreign policy positions. He argued that the U.S. should be less involved in foreign affairs in order to build up a stronger defense.

"When I look at government, I think the most important thing we do at the federal level is defend our country, without question," he stressed. "I envision an America with a national defense unparalleled... and unencumbered by nation building."

Source: CBS News on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

We've over-militarized our foreign policy

Secretary Gates got it right when he said that we've over-militarized our foreign policy. Should we be engaged in trying to encourage stability in the world? Absolutely. But we must think before we act.

Hillary's war in Libya is a prime example of acting without thinking. In Libya, jihadists swim in our embassy pool, and we are now more at risk from terrorist attacks than ever before.

Unfortunately, both parties too often seek military intervention without thinking through the possible unintended consequences. Many Republicans complain that we didn't send US ground troops or we didn't stay long enough.

The Middle East is in the midst of a 1,000-year war between Sunni and Shia--superimposed on a century-old war pitting a barbaric aberration of Islam against civilized Islam. We are foolish to believe we will solve this puzzle. We must defend vital American interests, but we must not be deluded into believing that we can remake the Middle East in an image of Western Democracy.

Source: Tea Party response to the 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

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

Deploy missile defense in Eastern Europe but they pay for it

Paul defended his foreign policy, which tends to be less interventionist than other Republicans': "I think on a lot of these issues, yes, that I'm well within the Republican tradition," Paul said. "I think that we do need to have a stronger presence and project stronger ideas of cultivating freedom around the world. And I also agree, though, with Ronald Reagan, who often said, or in one of his inaugural speeches said to potential adversaries, Don't mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.'" Paul said he favored sanctions against Russia and the deployment of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, but that "Europe should pay for it."

Paul's remarks were at least a change in tone from last month, when he said that, "Some on our side are so stuck in the Cold War era that they want to tweak Russia all the time and I don't think that is a good idea."

Source: The Hill weblog 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 11, 2014

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

Drones have executed people wrongfully, like death penalty

Q: Do you have concerns about the use of military drones?

PAUL: I am concerned about one person deciding the life or death of not only foreigners but US citizens around the world. And the chance that one person could make a mistake is a possibility. So having the president decide who he's going to kill concerns me. I would rather it go through the FISA court. They make the decision over weeks and months. They target people and go after them. I see no reason why there couldn't be some sort of court preceding, even a secret court preceding, to allow some protection. I mean, even in the US where we have the best due process probably in the world, we have probably executed people wrongfully for the death penalty. They have found out through DNA testing, many people on death row are there inaccurately. So I think when we decide to kill someone, that's obviously the ultimate punishment. We need to be very, very certain that what we're doing is not in error.

Source: CNN security blog interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 12, 2012

9/11 justified eliminating Taliban, but not nation-building

After Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, we rightly sought to bring to justice those who attacked us, to eliminate Al Qaeda's safe havens and training camps in Afghanistan, and to remove the terrorist-allied Taliban government. With hard work and sacrifice, our troops, intelligence personnel and diplomatic corps have skillfully achieved these objectives, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden.

But over the past 10 years, our mission expanded to include a fourth goal: nation-building. That is what we are bogged down in now: a prolonged effort to create a strong central government, a national police force and an army, and civic institutions in a nation that never had any to begin with. Let's not forget that Afghanistan has been a tribal society for millenniums.

Source: 2011 official Senate press release, "Let's Not Linger" , Jul 4, 2011

Military should decide don't-ask-don't-tell policy

Democratic US Senate nominee Jack Conway says gays should be allowed to serve openly in the US military, while his Republican rival, Rand Paul, says the military should decide the issue. Kentucky's US Senate candidates were asked their opinions on the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the wake of this week's unsuccessful effort by Democrats in the US Senate to repeal it.

When Conway was asked whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military, he said "yes," without elaborating.

Paul's campaign spokesman said in an e-mail without elaboration, "Dr. Paul believes this is a matter that should be decided by the leadership of the military, not through political posturing."

Republicans in the US Senate this week stopped a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" when Democrats attached an amendment seeking the repeal to a defense bill. Republicans said a Pentagon study on the impact of ending the policy should be completed before there is any move toward repeal.

Source: Lexington Herald-Leader on 2010 Kentucky Senate debate , Sep 23, 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

We spoke to Russians throughout the Cold War; keep doing so

Q: You have already said that it would be a mistake in not talking to Vladimir Putin, or to rule it out. You've argued that it's never a good idea to close down communication. Do you think the same applies to administration efforts right now to include the Iranians in talks on Syria and Russian involvement there?

PAUL: I think it's particularly naive, particularly foolish to think that we're not going to talk to Russia. Ronald Reagan was strong, but Ronald Reagan didn't send troops into the Middle East. The question goes to be, "who do we want to be our commander-in-chief?" Do you want a commander-in-chief who says something that we never did throughout the entire Cold War, to discontinue having conversations with the Russians? I am not happy about them flying there. But I'm not naive enough to say, "well, Iraq has them flying over their airspace, we're just going to announce that we're shooting them down." That is naive to the point of being something you might hear in junior high.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Rand Paul on Defense Spending

FactCheck: Yes, military spending as much as next 10 nations

Senator Rand Paul said, "We need a safe country, but, you know, we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined. I want a strong national defense, but I don't want us to be bankrupt." Is that literally true? We found the answer on Wikipedia, for the top 11 countries in military expenditures (in billions per year):
  1. $581B United States
  2. $129B China
  3. $81B Saudi Arabia
  4. $70B Russia
  5. $62B United Kingdom
  6. $53B France
  7. $48B Japan
  8. $45B India
  9. $44B Germany
  10. $34B South Korea
  11. $32B Brazil

The "next ten countries combined" add up to $598 billion annual military expenditures. Compare that to the U.S.'s annual total of $581 billion, and Sen. Paul is pretty much correct. He spoke a bit loosely, saying "we spend MORE than the next ten countries combined," when he should have said "we spend A COMPARABLE AMOUNT to the next ten countries combined." But we rate his statement as ACCURATE.

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on Fox Business/WSJ debate , Nov 10, 2015

How is it conservative to add $1T in military expenditures?

PAUL: We have to decide what is conservative and what isn't conservative. Is it fiscally conservative to have a trillion-dollar expenditure? Marco Rubio's plan for $1 trillion in new military spending--you get something that looks, to me, not very conservative.

RUBIO: I do want to rebuild the American military. I believe the world is a stronger and a better place, when the US is the strongest military power in the world.

PAUL: Yeah, but, Marco! How is it conservative to add a trillion-dollars in military expenditures? You can not be a conservative if you're going to keep promoting new programs that you're not going to pay for.

RUBIO: We can't even have an economy if we're not safe.

PAUL: No. I don't think we are any safer from bankruptcy

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

$76B in defense spending via cuts to EPA, HUD & foreign aid

Rand Paul is completing an about-face on a longstanding pledge to curb the growth in defense spending. Paul introduced a budget amendment calling for a nearly $190 billion infusion to the defense budget over the next two years--a roughly 16% increase. Paul's amendment brings him in line with his likely presidential primary rivals.

The move completes a stunning reversal for Paul, who in May 2011, released his own budget that would have slashed the Pentagon, a sacred cow for many Republicans. Under Paul's original proposal, defense spending would have dropped from $553 billion in 2011 to $542 billion in 2016. But under Paul's new plan, the Pentagon will see its budget authority swell by $76 billion to $696 billion in fiscal year 2016. The boost would be offset by a $106 billion cut to funding for aid to foreign governments, climate change research and reductions to the budgets of the EPA, HUD, and the departments of Commerce and Education.

Source: Time magazine 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 27, 2015

Military should be second to none; so audit the Pentagon

To defend the Bill of Rights, we must have a strong national defense. I believe national defense is the single most important, Constitutional obligation of our Federal Government. We should have a military that is second to none in the world, and ready to defend us from all enemies.

To defend ourselves, we need a lean, mean fighting machine that doesn't waste money on a bloated civilian bureaucracy. The civilian bureaucracy at the Pentagon has doubled in the past 30 years, gobbling up the money necessary to modernize our defense. That's why I will propose the first ever Audit of the Pentagon, and seek ways to make our defense department more modern and efficient.

Source: Tea Party response to the 2015 State of the Union address , Jan 20, 2015

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

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

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

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

Rand Paul on Privacy Rights

Let's get warrants the old-fashioned way: via 4th Amendment

Sen. Rand PAUL: Ted Cruz said he was for NSA reform, but then he told Marco Rubio, "no, no, no, I voted for the bill because I'm for the government collecting 100% of your cell phone records."

RUBIO: When I'm president we are going to rebuild our intelligence capabilities. And they're going to tell us where the terrorists are. And if we capture any of these ISIS killers alive, they are going to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we're going to find out everything they know.

PAUL: The bulk collection of your phone data, the invasion of your privacy did not stop one terrorist attack. I don't think you have to give up your liberty for a false sense of security. When we look at this bulk collection, the court has looked at this. Even the court declared it to be illegal. If we want to collect the records of terrorists, let's do it the old fashioned way. Let's use the Fourth Amendment. Let's put a name on a warrant, let's ask a judge for it. Let's respect the history of our country.

Source: 2016 Fox News Republican two-tiered debate in Iowa , Jan 28, 2016

Bulk data collection does not improve safety

Q: You have been very careful about stopping overreach in terms of U.S. surveillance. We've had some talks this morning about encryption being the big back door the way these terrorists can communicate. How much do you worry that there will be overreach in terms of additional surveillance operations?

PAUL: I'm very worried about that because I think when you have a fearful time or an angry time, that people are coached into giving up their liberty. In the United States, all phone records are still being collected all the time and we still had the attacks. And realize that in France, they have bulk collection or surveillance of their citizens a thousand fold greater than what we have with very little privacy protections. They still didn't know anything about this. So what I would argue is that you can keep giving up liberty but in the end I don't think we'll be safer, but we may have lost who we are as a people in the process.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 22, 2015

Surveillance of mosques ok; database of Muslims not ok

Q: Surveillance of mosques, do you put that in the category of over-reaching civil liberties?

PAUL: If you're doing surveillance on religious institutions, yes. I think surveillance, though, has lower threshold for individuals. I think the discussion should be, "will we have surveillance, will we follow people who we think are a risk?" That's even a lower threshold than getting a search warrant. So, yes, we should follow people who are a risk. Should we talk to their neighbors and friends? Should we talk to their imam? Sure, all of that is legitimate. But should we target mosques and have a database of Muslims? Absolutely not. And I think that's really disqualifying for both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio to say that we're going to close down every place that potentially has a discussion that might lead to extremism. That would require some sort of religious czar that I think isn't consistent with our freedom.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 22, 2015

More targeted surveillance; no bulk data collection

Q: You say you want to collect records about the terrorists and not about innocent Americans, but law enforcement experts say that that is naive--that you can't connect the dots unless you have the dots.

A: I don't think there's any instance in which we found that the indiscriminate bulk collection of records have helped us. Three independent commissions looked at this, every one said that no terrorist has been caught through bulk collection. So I do want more individualized investigations. The Fourth Amendment says you can collect records, you just have to name the target, have some suspicion that you present to a judge. But I don't want the blanket surveillance of all Americans. I'm not willing to give up on the Bill of Rights in order to say, "I can feel more safe". We've been doing this for ten years. Not one terrorist has been caught through this program. When you look and you say, "is it illegal?" The courts have said it's illegal. Many scholars are saying it's unconstitutional.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 9, 2015

American Revolution was fought over 4th Amendment rights

Q: [to Gov. Christie]. You've said that Senator Paul should be called before Congress to answer for opposing the bulk collection of people's phone records, if we should be hit by another terrorist attack. Do you really believe you can assign blame to Senator Paul?

CHRISTIE: Yes, I do. We have to give more tools to [the NSA], not fewer, and then trust those people & oversee them to do it the right way.

PAUL: I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over! John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence, and I'm proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.

CHRISTIE: That's a completely ridiculous answer. "More records from terrorists, but less records from other people"--How are you supposed to know?

PAUL: Use the Fourth Amendment! Get a judge to sign the warrant! You fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Increase targeted surveillance to defend against terrorism

Q: You would limit foreign intervention and domestic surveillance--but now with ISIS on the march, there's a concern that you aren't tough enough on those issues.

PAUL: There was a poll not too long ago in Iowa that asked, do you think we should be more involved in foreign wars, like John McCain, who wants to be everywhere all the time, or do you think we should be less involved or more judicious and only go to war when we have a threat to an American interest, like Rand Paul? And it polls equally in Iowa. So I think the party is split on some of these things. I do want to defend America. In fact, I think we are distracting ourselves from the real terrorist threat by collecting so much information that we get inundated by the information and we get distracted. I want to collect more information on terrorists, but I want to do it according to the 4th Amendment--which puts forward that suspicion should be individualized and there should be a warrant with a judge's name on it.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 26, 2015

Focus NSA surveillance on threats, not innocent Americans

Q: You're so critical of the NSA in your book. Would you eliminate it if you were president?

PAUL: No, I would actually keep the NSA. In fact, I would have the NSA target their activities, more and more, towards our enemies. I think if you're not spending so much time and money collecting the information of innocent Americans, maybe we could've spent more time knowing that one of the Tsarnaev boys, one of the Boston bombers, had gone back to Chechnya. We didn't know that, even though we'd been tipped off by the Russians. We had communicated, we had interviewed him, and still didn't know that. Same with the recent jihadist from Phoenix that traveled to Texas, and the shooting in Garland; we knew him. We had investigated him and put him in jail. I want to spend more time on people we have suspicion of, and we have probable cause of, and less time on innocent Americans. It distracts us from the job of getting terrorists.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 17, 2015

Repeal the Patriot Act; end large-scale data collection

Paul adamantly opposes the Patriot Act and granting government any warrantless or unilateral data collection powers over private citizens. Last year, he filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for its collection of cellphone records. That case is still working its way through courts. Paul also has pushed to end any indefinite detention of American citizens.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Apr 7, 2015

Kids are concerned with privacy & the surveillance state

Sen. Rand Paul will drop by a College Republicans reception, then pose for hundreds of pictures at a "liberty reception" hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty. In an interview with POLITICO to preview his CPAC remarks, Paul offered backhanded advice to Jeb Bush: "A lot of kids are concerned with privacy, and the fact that he's come out to be a big advocate for the surveillance state and the dragnet, collecting all the phone records--if he's smart, he won't probably bring that up at CPAC."

"Younger voters in particular don't like hypocrisy," Paul continued. "Him saying recently down in Florida that he would still incarcerate people even for medical marijuana, and then it turns out--him basically acknowledging that he'd been using recreational marijuana as a kid. I don't think anybody faults him for youthful indiscretions. But if you look at the people who end up getting caught up in the war on drugs, they're often not elite kids at prep schools. They're poor kids with no school."

Source: Poltiico.com on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 26, 2015

Transparency is mostly good; we should not have torture

Sen. Rand Paul--someone who has spoken out against waterboarding as torture before--declined to weigh in on how the [newly-released Senate report on torture] reflected on former president Bush, giving a cautious statement when caught outside his Senate office: "It's important that people take a stand and representatives take a stand on whether they believe torture should be allowed. I think we should not have torture," Paul said. "Transparency is mostly good for government. The only thing I would question is whether or not the actual details, the gruesomeness of the details, will be beneficial or inflammatory."

Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio weighed in with one of the strongest responses, in a joint statement with Idaho's Sen. Jim Risch, calling the release of the report "reckless and irresponsible" and demanding a more current detention and interrogation policy. Sen. Ted Cruz said "Senate Democrats have endangered Americans" by releasing the report.

Source: MSNBC 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 11, 2014

Need NSA reform, but not the USA Freedom Act

Republicans have a rift with the tech industry over domestic spying. More than a year of work by tech leaders like Facebook and Google to curtail the National Security Agency's surveillance authorities failed this month in part because Sen. Rubio joined Sen. Paul, usually a supporter, in voting against it.

A high-stakes vote over the future of the NSA further tested Republicans' relationships in the Valley. Paul and others had supported a major overhaul of the agency's authorities to collect Americans' communications in bulk--but the senator shocked tech giants and civil-liberties groups when he pulled support at the last minute, as the USA Freedom Act reached the Senate floor for a key procedural vote. Rubio long had stated his opposition, citing emerging terrorist threats and the need for more intelligence.

Paul defended his vote on surveillance reform, stressing in an interview he "couldn't vote for it because it reauthorized the PATRIOT Act"--a law he described as "heinous."

Source: Politico.com 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 29, 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

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

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

Rand Paul on Voting Record

2010: decrease DOD budget by $164B; 2015: increase by $190B

Q: When you first came to the Senate, you proposed decreasing defense spending by about $164 billion, but in the past couple of weeks, you have proposed increasing by $190 billion. Why the change?

PAUL: I have proposed several 5-year budgets. And for me, the most important thing of the 5-year budgets has been to balance. The last one I produced did actually increase defense spending above the military sequester. But I did it by taking money from domestic spending. My belief has always been that national defense is the most important thing we do, but we shouldn't borrow to pay for it.

Q: But by proposing an increase in military spending before you announce for president, it could look like pandering.

PAUL: Well, 3 or 4 years ago, we did the same thing. So we have been for quite some time proposing increases in military spending, but always the point is that I believe any increase in spending should be offset by decreases in spending somewhere else.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 12, 2015

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

Funding wars separately is gimmick against sequestration.

Paul voted NAY National Defense Authorization Act

Congressional Summary: HR 1735: The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes FY2016 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), and military construction. This bill also authorizes appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which are exempt from discretionary spending limits. The bill authorizes appropriations for base realignment and closure (BRAC) activities and prohibits an additional BRAC round.

Wikipedia Summary: The NDAA specifies the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) for Fiscal Year 2016. The law authorizes the $515 billion in spending for national defense and an additional $89.2 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO).

Opposition statement by Rep. Gerry Connolly (May 15, 2015): Congressman Connolly said he opposed the bill because it fails to end sequestration, and pits domestic investments versus defense investments. Said Connolly, "This NDAA uses a disingenuous budget mechanism to circumvent sequestration. It fails to end sequestration."

Support statement by BreakingDefense.com(Sept, 2015): Republicans bypassed the BCA spending caps (the so-called sequester) by shoving nearly $90 billion into the OCO account, designating routine spending as an emergency war expenses exempted from the caps. This gimmick got President Barack Obama the funding he requested but left the caps in place on domestic spending, a Democratic priority. "The White House's veto announcement is shameful," Sen. John McCain said. "The NDAA is a policy bill. It cannot raise the budget caps. It is absurd to veto the NDAA for something that the NDAA cannot do."

Legislative outcome: House rollcall #532 on passed 270-156-15 on Oct. 1, 2015; Senate rollcall #277 passed 70-27-3 on Oct. 7, 2015; vetoed by Pres. Obama on Oct. 22, 2015; passed and signed after amendments.

Source: Congressional vote 15-HR1735 on Apr 13, 2015

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