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Duncan Hunter on Homeland Security

Republican Representative (CA-52)


Gitmo prisoners are comfortable and well-fed; never tortured

"The inmates of Guantanamo have never been treated better and they've never been more comfortable in their lives. And the idea that somehow we are torturing people in Guantanamo is absolutely not true, unless you consider having to eat chicken three times a week is torture."
--Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman, House Armed Services Committee, June 12, 2005
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what most Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some made regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings."
--Sen. Dick Durbin, on FBI report on treatment of Gitmo prisoners, June 17, 2005
"If the word of how they're being treated keeps getting out, we're going to have al-Qaeda people surrendering all over the world trying to get in the place."
--Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, June 16, 2005
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 66-68 Oct 1, 2008

Cut off businesses that sell killing technology to Mideast

Q: What’s your strategy to protect our American way of life from the designs of radical Islam?

A: We live in an era of terrorists with technology. That means we have to cut off every business that would sell killing technology to nations in the Middle East. It might move it to nations or to groups that might use it against us. We have got to lock down the border. That means finishing my border fence, all 854 miles that I legislated. And lastly, we have to leave Iraq in victory.

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

Resisting gays in military is why we have best military

We have important institutions in this country that we most support and fortify and continue to support and fortify. One of them is the military. We had a major fight a couple of years ago to allow practicing homosexuals into the military. I led the opposition to that attempt, and I think it’s only because we have been able to resist that particular attempt that we have the very best military in the world today.
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

We’ve been too liberal with release of Guantanamo terrorists

Q: Are you prepared to hold terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay indefinitely if you feel that we can’t convict them and they’re too dangerous to set free?

A: Well, absolutely. And let me tell you that the proof of that is the fact that we have conducted these combatant review tribunals. And we’ve actually sent back to the battlefield or sent back to Afghanistan some of the people that we thought were no longer a threat. Some of those people have shown up on the battlefield bearing arms against our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, back on the battlefield after we sent them back. If anything, we’ve been too liberal with the release of terrorists. [The prisoners at Guantanamo] get taxpayer-paid-for prayer rugs. They have prayer five times a day. They’ve all gained weight. We’ve got to keep Guantanamo open.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

Rebuild national defense for emerging threats

I’ve been chairman of the Armed Services Committee for the last four years. I’ve helped to rebuild national defense. We have worked hard to make sure that our people have enough pay, that they’ve got the ammunition & equipment, while at the same time looking over the horizon to look at the new threat of an emerging China and an Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons and a Korea that already has some and is moving to get the means for delivery. So a strong national defense is what I would pursue.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

Arsenal of democracy is leaving our shores

The arsenal of democracy is our ability to make things. It’s all the places where we produce products. Products that we use in the domestic economy in peacetime, and that we can turn to making military equipment in wartime.

FDR coined the phrase in WWII. When he could see the storm coming, we turned our arsenal of democracy to winning the world for freedom. In the Cold War, we won freedom because of the arsenal of democracy. It was not just the will of Ronald Reagan; it was that the Soviet Union understood they could not keep up with our industry.

Let me tell you what I see about that arsenal of democracy today--it’s leaving our shores. When I looked across this country a couple of years ago, when our guys starting getting hurt with roadside bombs in Iraq, I found only one company left in America that could make high-grade armor plate steel for humvees.

Today you can find parts of the arsenal of democracy in Beijing, in Berlin, Paris, Korea. We need to retrieve the arsenal of democracy.

Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC Mar 14, 2007

Voted NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations.

PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE:This bill would impede efforts to protect [against] terrorist attacks because it imposes several unnecessary and unacceptable burdens on our Intelligence Community. [I reject] subjecting two additional vital positions to a more protracted process of Senate confirmation [and I reject] a new office of Inspector General for the Intelligence Community as duplicative. [Most sigficantly,] it is vitally important that the CIA be allowed to maintain a separate and classified interrogation program, [and not] use only the interrogation methods authorized in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations. My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular interrogation technique such as waterboarding. Rather, my concern is the need to maintain a separate CIA program that will shield from disclosure to terrorists the interrogation techniques they may face upon capture.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. REYES: This legislation goes a long way towards strengthening oversight of the intelligence community, which the President seems to consistently want to fight. That's why the President vetoed it. He wants the authority to do whatever he wants, in secret, with no oversight or authorization or without any checks and balances. Well, I don't agree. The Constitution gives us a role in this process. We do have a say in what the intelligence community does. That's why we need to override this veto.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. HOEKSTRA: This bill fails to give the intelligence community the tools that it needs to protect the American people from radical jihadists. The debate on this authorization bill is not about a single issue, [waterboarding], as some would have you believe. It is about the need to ensure that we give the right tools to our intelligence professionals in this time of enhanced threat.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 225-188 (2/3rds required)

Bill Veto override on H.R. 2082 ; vote number 08-HR2082 on Mar 11, 2008

Voted NO on restricting no-bid defense contracts.

  1. Improving the Quality of Contracts--to restrict the contract period of noncompetitive contracts to the minimum period necessary to meet urgent requirements; and not more than one year unless the the government would be seriously injured.
  2. Increasing Contract Oversight--to make publicly available (on websites) justification documents for using noncompetitive contract procedures.
  3. Promoting Integrity in Contracting--to prohibit former federal officials from accepting compensation from contractors as lawyers or lobbyists.

Proponents support voting YES because:

In Iraq, we were told we needed Halliburton to get a contract without any competition because they were the only ones who know how to put out oil well fires. So they got a contract on a cost-plus basis even though they had a history of overcharging the taxpayers. And then later we found out that they didn't do anything about putting out oil well fires in the first Gulf war; it was Bechtel, not Halliburton. Contractors were given special treatment by not having healthy competition.

In dealing with Hurricane Katrina, and we have seen the same mistakes again: No-competition contracts; cost-plus contracts. We have seen what the result has been: Wasted taxpayer dollars. This bill requires that if there is an emergency to give a contract, give it. But then have bidding within a year.

Opponents support voting NO because:

We support transparency and accountability in decision-making, but this bill asks for audit reports that are only advisory. To provide those to Congress not only gives you too much information, a lot of it can be misleading and can increase the number of contract disputes.

When you are fighting a war, you need to move quickly. You don't give a 6-month appeal to the folks that lose the competition. You don't give small business set-asides because there is one thing you don't have, you don't have time.

Reference: Accountability in Contracting Act; Bill H R 1362 ; vote number 2007-156 on Mar 15, 2007

Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.

Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to allow the President & Attorney General to authorize electronic surveillance without a court order to acquire foreign intelligence information, after certifying that the surveillance is directed at the acquisition of communications of foreign agents.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Intelligence is the first line of defense in the war on terrorism. That means we have to have intelligence agencies and capabilities that are agile, that are responsive to changes in technology, and that also protect the civil liberties of Americans. Let me make an analogy. With modernization, we replaced Route 66 with Interstate 40. We no longer have the stoplights and the intersections. We created on ramps and off ramps and concrete barriers to protect the citizens where traffic was moving very quickly. That is like what we are trying to do here--FISA needs modernization.

Opponents support voting NO because:

We are legislating in the dark. We do not even know what the President is doing now because he will not tell us. The New York Times exposed that the administration had authorized secret surveillance of domestic conversations. When exposed, the President claimed he was operating under inherent powers, but court decisions have found that the President cannot simply declare administration actions constitutional and lawful, whether or not they are.

Yet rather than finding out what is going on, this legislation retroactively legalizes whatever has been going on. The President already has broad latitude to conduct domestic surveillance, including surveillance of American citizens, so long as it is overseen by the FISA court.

This bill does not enhance security, but it does allow surveillance without the traditional checks and balances that have served our Nation well.

Reference: Update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978; Bill H.R.5825 ; vote number 2006-502 on Sep 28, 2006

Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.

A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5020) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities. Voting YES indicates support of the current methods for intelligence-gathering used by the CIA and other agencies. The resolution's opponents say:
Reference: Intelligence Authorization Act; Bill HR 5020 resolution H RES 774 ; vote number 2006-108 on Apr 26, 2006

Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists.

REAL ID Act of 2005: To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]; Bill H.R.418 ; vote number 2005-031 on Feb 10, 2005

Voted YES on continuing military recruitment on college campuses.

Expresses the continued support of Congress for, and encourages the executive branch to continue challenging any judicial decision against, specified provisions of Federal law prohibiting making certain Federal contracts with or grants to institutions of higher education that prevent military recruiters from having access to their campuses and to certain information about their students.
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Rep Mike Rogers [R, AL-3]; Bill H.CON.RES.36 ; vote number 2005-016 on Feb 2, 2005

Voted YES on supporting new position of Director of National Intelligence.

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: Establishment of Director of National Intelligence, to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Requires the Director to have extensive national security expertise. Prohibits the Director from being located within the Executive Office of the President or simultaneously serving as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other intelligence community (IC) element.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins {R, ME}; Bill S.2845 ; vote number 2004-544 on Dec 7, 2004

Voted YES on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act:
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Denny Hastert [R, IL-14]; Bill H.R.10 ; vote number 2004-523 on Oct 8, 2004

Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2003: Vote to pass the bill that would supply $77.9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations in fiscal 2003, including $62.5 billion for military operations in Iraq and the war on terrorism. The bill would also provide for $4.2 billion for homeland security, $8 billion in aid to allies and for Iraqi relief and rebuilding; $3.2 billion for U.S. airlines to cover additional security costs; and $1 billion in aid to Turkey.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Young, R-FL; Bill HR 1559 ; vote number 2003-108 on Apr 3, 2003

Voted YES on permitting commercial airline pilots to carry guns.

Armed Airline Pilots Bill: Vote to pass a bill that would create a program where commercial pilots would be deputized as federal law enforcement officers and would then be permitted to carry guns aboard airlines. To participate in the program, commercial pilots would have to undergo specialized training. At least 250 commercial pilots would undergo the training. Within two months of the bill's enactment, the Transportation Security Agency or TSA, would then be required to begin weapons training for pilots who had volunteered for the program. Airlines and pilots will not be held legally accountable when defending planes from terrorist acts except in cases of willful misconduct or gross negligence The TSA could temporarily put the program on hold if a pilot's gun unintentionally discharges and causes injury to a crew member or passanger. The bill also would entail flight attendants to undergo self-defense training. Also study training all federal law enforcement officers on aviation anti-terrorism.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Young, R-FL; Bill HR 4635 ; vote number 2002-292 on Jul 10, 2002

Voted YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill.

Vote to pass a bill appropriating $266 billion in defense spending for FY 2000. Among other provisions the bill would allot $1.2 billion for research and development for next-generation tactical aircraft, yet would not include $1.8 billion in procurement funds for the new F-22 Raptor combat aircraft. The bill would also fund a 4.8 percent pay increase for military personnel. The bill would also allot $93.7 billion for operations and maintenance to be used to maintain military properties and spare parts that have been reduced due to overseas military combat missions.
Reference: Bill introduced by Lewis, R-CA; Bill HR 2561 ; vote number 1999-334 on Jul 22, 1999

Voted YES on deploying SDI.

Vote to declare it to be the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense.
Reference: Bill introduced by Weldon, R-PA; Bill HR 4 ; vote number 1999-4 on Mar 18, 1999

Rated 11% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record.

Hunter scores 11% 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

Set minimum spending on defense at 4% of GDP.

Hunter co-sponsored setting minimum spending on defense at 4% of GDP

The resolution supports a base Defense Budget that at the very minimum matches 4% of gross domestic product: