Ted Cruz on Homeland Security

Republican Texas Senator


Protecting US Capitol is "political theater"

The US Capitol has giant fences with razor wires and 5,000 National Guard standing out front because the Democrats are convinced that political theater helps them. Let's be clear, this is not about security at this point. This is about political theater. Half the country, the deplorables, are dangerous, and they're going to turn the Capitol into a military outpost in Baghdad just to have their compliant media echo that message.
Source: Remarks by Senator Cruz at 2021 CPAC Conference , Feb 26, 2021

Provide our veterans the care they have been promised

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website TedCruz.org , Mar 15, 2016

Snowden guilty of treason, but exposed massive surveillance

Q: Senator Cruz, in 2013, you said you were open to the possibility that Edward Snowden had performed a considerable public service in revealing certain aspects of the NSA procedures. Many of your colleagues in the Senate, including Senator Rubio, called him a traitor. It took you until January of this year to call him a traitor.

CRUZ: As someone who spent much of his life in law enforcement, I believe you should start with the facts and evidence first before ending up with the verdict. When the news first broke of the US government engaging in massive surveillance on American citizens, that was a very troubling development, and it's why the Congress acted to correct it. Since then, the evidence is clear that Snowden committed treason. What Snowden did made it easier for terrorists to avoid detection. And Snowden's behavior afterwards--he fled to Russia, he fled to China--indicates that he was not a whistleblower, but instead he was undermining the ability to defend this country.

Source: 2016 Fox News GOP debate in Detroit Michigan , Mar 3, 2016

Increase armed forces to 1.4 million troops

President Obama proposed reducing the regular Army to 450,000. I think that is far below what is needed to keep this country safe. I intend to increase it to a minimum of 525,000 soldiers.

Likewise the Air Force. The Air Force has been reduced to about 4,000 planes. We need to increase that to a minimum of 6,000 planes so that we can project power, and use our air power superiority.

The Navy: We've got 272 ships, the least we've had since 1917, literally a century ago was the last time we had a navy with this few ships. We need to increase that to a minimum of 350 ships.

And, we need an overall force level of 1.4 million troops at a minimum [up from the current level of 1.3 million active personnel].

Source: 2016 CNN GOP Town Hall in South Carolina , Feb 17, 2016

Waterboarding isn't torture; but not for low-level officers

Q: You have said, "torture is wrong, unambiguously, period. Civilized nations do not engage in torture." Is waterboarding torture?

CRUZ: Well, under the definition of torture, no, it's not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems, so under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.

Q: As president, would you bring it back?

CRUZ: I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use. And indeed, I joined with Senator McCain in legislation that would prohibit line officers from employing it because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels. But when it comes to keeping this country safe, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could.

Source: 2016 ABC Republican debate on eve of N.H. primary , Feb 6, 2016

Torture is wrong, unambiguously; America does not need it

One year after a bracing Senate report on post-9/11 CIA interrogation practices led Congress to ban waterboarding and other forms of torture, the leading Republican presidential candidates are talking like it's 2002 all over again. With one exception: Ted Cruz. "Torture is wrong, unambiguously. Period. The end," the Texas senator said in December 2014. Cruz, whose own father was tortured in Cuba, reaffirmed that position last month, saying that "America does not need torture to protect ourselves."

Last year Congress enshrined a torture ban into federal law: In June, the Senate voted 78-21 to approve the McCain-Feinstein amendment. Cruz backed the amendment.

The McCain-Feinstein amendment requires that all interrogation comply with the Army Field Manual, a publicly available document that forbids waterboarding as well as the use of electric shocks, dogs, nudity, hypothermia and mock executions. All were elements of the CIA's interrogation program in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Source: Politico.com, "GOP candidates on anti-torture law" , Jan 21, 2016

Americans who join ISIS forfeit their citizenship

We need is a commander in chief who is focused like a laser on keeping this country safe and on defeating radical Islamic terrorism. First, we should pass the Expatriate Terrorist Act, legislation I've introduced that says if an American goes and joins ISIS and wages jihad against America, that you forfeit your citizenship and you cannot come in on a passport. If I'm elected president, we will not let in refugees from countries controlled by ISIS or Al Qaida.
Source: Fox Business Republican 2-tier debate , Jan 14, 2016

On day one, rip to shreds the Iranian nuclear deal

The next president will inherit President Obama's Iran deal. The single biggest national security threat right now is the threat of a nuclear Iran. This deal will send over $100 billion to the Ayatollah Khamenei, making the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism. This deal will accelerate Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons. If I am elected president, on the very first day in office, I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Label the enemy that Obama won't: radical Islamic terrorists

We need a commander in chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling to utter the words, "radical Islamic terrorism". President Obama, at a prayer breakfast, essentially acted as an apologist. He said, "Well, gosh, the crusades, the inquisitions..." We need a president that shows the courage that Egypt's President al-Sisi, a Muslim, when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world.
Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Benghazi: administration knew right away it was terrorism

The years of chaos that followed the so-called Arab Spring [included] four dead Americans at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. The Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi compound was coordinated and carried out by radical Islamic terrorists. The Secretary of Defense testified to the Senate that he knew "immediately" that it was a terrorist attack. And yet for weeks President Obama and Secretary Clinton insisted instead that it was a spontaneous protest over an Internet video.

The administration's feckless response to Benghazi was emblematic of President Obama's long-standing approach to radical Islamic terrorism--three words that almost never enter his vocabulary in the same sentence. In his worldview, the real root problem behind terrorism is disaffected youth who have been antagonized by American and Western imperialism. He and his administration dogmatically refuse to call terrorism "Islamic" or "Islamist," nor will they reference "jihad."

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.289-90 , Jun 30, 2015

No more domestic BRAC until overseas BRAC closures

I introduced several positive amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, in 2013 and again in 2014. In particular, we increased the protection of religious liberty in the military; mandated that the Defense Department address the growing threat of missile attack from the Gulf of Mexico; invited Taiwan to join the Navy's military exercises; and prohibited a new domestic base realignment and closure (BRAC) process until the Defense Department first conducts an overseas BRAC process.
Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.297-8 , Jun 30, 2015

Military sex abuse victims can't trust commander as arbiter

In keeping with the tradition of the U.S. military, the decision to refer cases for prosecution of a crime--whether refusing an order or murder--lies solely with the commanding officer. That is one reason that tens of thousands of cases of unwanted sexual contact go unreported in the U.S. military every year. Victims are afraid to report the crime to their superiors, who are the ultimate arbiters of whether the offenders will be prosecuted or not. In the most flagrant cases, those arbiters are the offenders themselves.

I signed onto the bill as a cosponsor. The truth is that too many victims fear that their commanders cannot be objective about the men and women in their command. Nor can they know the ins and outs of sexual assault, as an experienced military prosecutor does. Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany have made reforms similar to the ones Gillibrand put forward. The result was a marked improvement in how cases of sexual assault are reported and prosecuted.

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p. 54-5 , Jun 30, 2015

Constitution disallows drone strikes on US citizens in US

One time when Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the Judiciary Committee, I asked him a simple question: "If a US citizen on US soil is not posing an immediate threat to life or bodily harm, does the Constitution allow a drone to kill that citizen?" [After numerous evasions, I demanded, "You are unable to give a simple, one-word, one-syllable answer: no."

Only then did Holder say 'no.' Perhaps this reflected the view of the left that the Constitution imposes no meaningful restraints on government power other than whatever the restraints of propriety might be. There is a role for drones in military operations overseas. There may also be a legitimate role for drones to act with deadly force to prevent an imminent threat in the US, like Pearl Harbor. But there is no plausible argument under the Bill of Rights that the federal government has the authority to use a drone on US soil to target with lethal force a U.S. citizen who poses no immediate danger to the lives of other Americans.

Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.240-1 , Jun 30, 2015

American Exceptionalism: we liberate; others subjugate

Our remarkable fusion of political and economic freedom has given America a unique position in the globe. The phrase "American Exceptionalism" has been much misunderstood: President Obama famously said in 2009 that he believed in it, "just as the British believe in British exceptionalism or Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." But with all due respect to our British and Greek friends, American exceptionalism is different. We are the leader of the free world. The indispensable nation, the country that sets the example for the rest of the world. That doesn't mean that we impose our model on other nations, but that we set the aspirations of what free men and women can achieve. The economic mobility we enjoy has had a global impact, lifting millions out of poverty. Equally remarkably, we have used the greatest military the planet has ever seen to liberate rather than subjugate.
Source: A Time for Truth, by Ted Cruz, p.323 , Jun 30, 2015

Many more questions remain about Benghazi

The White House dismissed press inquiries about the attack by saying, "Benghazi was a long time ago." But many more questions remain.It is time for some answers.
Source: National Review magazine article by Ted Cruz , Dec 18, 2014

Torture was rightly outlawed, but keep tactics classified

Cruz took a stand against torture: "Within 48 hours, President Obama has set Guantanamo Bay detainees free, and Senate Democrats have endangered Americans all over the world by releasing classified tactics, which have since rightly been outlawed, used by the intelligence community in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks," Cruz said in a statement "After six years, enough with saying 'everything is George W. Bush's fault.' It's sad that, with all the threats we face across the globe, Senate Democrats are still more interested in scoring political points against the Bush Administration than in working together to keep America safe and our military strong."

Like Cruz, 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.

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

Americans who join ISIS should be barred from coming home

Cruz introduced a measure to block Americans who join Islamic State from returning to the country. The proposal failed, but while describing it, he criticized Obama's handling of the threat: "The administration's ISIS policy is also marked by internal confusion that further demonstrates a lack of focus on what should be our clear mission," he said.
Source: Reuters 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 18, 2014

Vital role for deploying military force abroad

"We always have been good friends," Paul said of Cruz on Fox News's "Hannity." "I'm not real excited about him mischaracterizing my views, and you know, I won't let that pass. I think that, you know, sometimes, people want to stand up and say, 'Hey, look at me, I'm the next Ronald Reagan.' Well, almost all of us in the party are big fans of Ronald Reagan." Paul was responding to Cruz's comments Sunday on ABC's "This Week," in which he invoked Reagan to criticize Paul's foreign policy.

"I don't agree with him on foreign policy," Cruz said then. "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did."

Paul went on to defend 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.

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

Deploy missile defense with Czechs & Poles, to limit Putin

Cruz said the GOP needed restore America's leadership in the world. He called ISIS "the face of evil" and said, "We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age." He also had suggestions for a stronger stance against Russia: "The state of the world is that the Russian bear is encountering the Obama kitty cat," he said. To send a strong message to Putin, missile defense systems should to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Source: Cruzing to the White House, by Mario Broes, p. 99 , Mar 7, 2014

Suspend Russia from G8 & withdraw from arms control treaties

Source: Foreign Policy magazine article by Ted Cruz , Mar 4, 2014

Opposes TSA and National Defense Authorization Act

Source: Young Americans for Liberty YALPAC website , Sep 1, 2012

Fierce advocate of recruiting and growing the military

Ted Cruz has been a fierce advocate of the military, including their ability to recruit and grow their force, and their right to religious expression. Cruz has worked to ensure that members of the Armed Services have all the rights and abilities necessar to keep America free and secure.

Ted authored an amicus brief in FAIR v. Rumsfeld successfully defending the federal Solomon Amendment, which requires universities receiving federal funds to grant military recruiters equal access to campuses.

Source: Campaign website, www.tedcruz.org, "Issues" , Jul 17, 2011

Supports banning military gay marriage.

Cruz supports the CC Voters Guide question on military gay marriage

Christian Coalition publishes a number of special voter educational materials including the Christian Coalition Voter Guides, which provide voters with critical information about where candidates stand on important faith and family issues. The Christian Coalition Voters Guide summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Prohibiting the military from forcing chaplains to perform same-sex marriages"

Source: Christian Coalition Voter Guide 12-CC-q3c on Oct 31, 2012

Sponsored opposing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

Cruz 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

Restrict domestic monitoring of phone calls.

Cruz signed restricting domestic monitoring of phone calls

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2014 or the USA FREEDOM Act: Congressional Summary:

  • Requires the FBI, when seeking phone call records, to show both relevance and a reasonable suspicion that the specific selection term is associated with a foreign power engaged in international terrorism.
  • Requires a judge approving the release, on a daily basis, of call detail records; and to limit production of records to a period of 180 days.
  • Requires a declassification review of each decision issued by the FISA court; and make such decisions publicly available, subject to permissible redactions.

    Opposing argument: (ACLU, `Surveillance Reform After the USA Freedom Act`, June 3, 2015): The USA Freedom Act that passed by a 67-32 margin is not as strong as we wanted. It is markedly weaker than the original version of the USA Freedom Act that the ACLU first supported in 2013. We supported a sunset of the provisions in an effort to advance more comprehensive reform, including rejecting surveillance through cybersecurity information-sharing legislation. Notwithstanding this, however, it is very clear that the USA Freedom Act is a historic step forward.

    Opposing argument: (Cato Institute , `Cato scholars differ on USA Freedom Act`, Oct., 2015): The privacy community remained divided over the USA Freedom Act. The final version of the bill reauthorized several expiring Patriot Act provisions, but limited bulk collection. Some legislators argued that to pass new legislation would only provide the government convenient new legal justification for its spying--which it would interpret broadly. On the opposite side of the argument stood some pro-privacy groups who held that modest reforms were better than no reforms at all.

    Source: USA FREEDOM Act 14-S1123 on Apr 28, 2015

    No transfers of Gitmo prisoners to US or abroad.

    Cruz co-sponsored H.R.401 & S.165

    Congressional Summary: To extend and enhance limitations on the transfer or release of individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay. No amounts appropriated for any agency of the US Government may be used, for two years, to construct or modify any facility in the US, to house an individual detained at Guantanamo.

    Proponents reasons for voting YEA: Rep. WALORSKI: 21 terrorists have been released just in November alone to foreign countries. This measure would repeal current law that has allowed the administration to transfer prisoners to foreign countries and reduce the population at GTMO down to 127. Detainees at GTMO pose a real threat to our national security. HR 401 would prohibit any detainee transfers to Yemen. Yemen`s branch of al Qaeda was founded by former GTMO detainees. We cannot risk trusting the world`s most dangerous terrorists to its most dangerous places, nor should we simply cut them loose in rich, stable countries with no security safeguards in place.

    Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (CloseGuantanamo.org article, Jan. 2015): The prison at Guantanamo Bay has been open for 13 years. In 2009, President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo within a year. Yet it remains open, undermining America`s values and national security. Almost half of the remaining 122 prisoners--55 men in total--were cleared for release in 2010 through 2013. Some of these men were previously cleared by the Bush Administration--some as long ago as 2004. It is unacceptable that the U.S. government continues to hold men that its own national security experts have recommended for release or transfer, and that Congress has intervened to maintain this deplorable state of affairs. We call for the immediate closure of Guantanamo. Guantanamo harms our nation every day it stays open, and it continues to serve as a potent symbol for terrorist recruitment.

    Source: Detaining Terrorists to Protect America Act 15_S165 on Feb 23, 2015

    Funding wars separately is gimmick against sequestration.

    Cruz 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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