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Brian Schatz on Homeland Security

 


Feds stretched too far in snooping on everyday Americans

Schatz confronted Hanabusa about several issues, including support for a veterans hospital in Guam he says takes focus away from Hawaii and her stances on Social Security. He also said he differed with Hanabusa on their approach to widespread federal surveillance programs, saying he thinks the government has stretched too far in its snooping of everyday Americans.

"This is a difference between Colleen and myself," he said.

Hanabusa responded by saying Schatz was misstating votes and skipping over key details. "Brian, you have to start to read the bills to really understand what you're talking about," she said.

Source: Associated Press in The Republic: 2014 Hawaii Senate debate , Jul 8, 2014

Reform FISA to protect our Fourth Amendment rights

Hanabusa said Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor in Hawaii who publicly released documents on government surveillance, should return to the United States and stand trial. "Yes, we learned a lot through what he did," she said. "But was he truly a whistleblower? Those are decisions that the court system has to determine."

Schatz said "I don't think he's a hero. But I think the main issue here is not so much what we think of Edward Snowden, but how we need to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to protect our Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution."

Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser on 2014 Hawaii Senate race , Jul 8, 2014

Non-proliferation includes disposing of nuclear materials.

Schatz signed Letter from Congress on nuclear material security

Press Release from Sen. Merkley's officeCiting the dangers to US national security posed by terrorists and rogue states seeking nuclear weapons, a bipartisan group of 26 senators sent a letter last week to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), calling on the President to support increased funding in the FY2016 budget to more rapidly secure and permanently dispose of nuclear and radiological materials. The letter comes in response to the President's proposals in recent years to decrease funding for nuclear material security and nonproliferation programs.

The senators indicated that unsecured nuclear material poses unacceptably high risks to the safety of Americans and argued that the rate at which nuclear and radiological materials are secured and permanently disposed of must be accelerated. The senators expressed concern that cutting funds would slow what has been a successful process of elimination and reduction of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium in the international community. In just the last five years, nuclear security and non-proliferation programs have proven successful in eliminating HEU and separated plutonium from 13 countries, including Ukraine.

"Reducing budgets for agencies and programs that help keep nuclear and radiological materials out of the hands of terrorists is out of sync with the high priority that the President has rightly placed on nuclear and radiological material security and signals a major retreat in the effort to lock down these materials at an accelerated rate," the senators wrote. "The recent spate of terrorism in Iraq, Pakistan, and Kenya is a harrowing reminder of the importance of ensuring that terrorist groups and rogue states cannot get their hands on the world's most dangerous weapons and materials."

In the past two fiscal years, Congress has enacted $280 million additional dollars to the President's proposed funding for core non-proliferation activities.

Source: Merkley/Feinstein letter to OMB 14_Lt_HS on Aug 18, 2014

End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.

Schatz co-sponsored USA FREEDOM Act

Congressional summary:: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act or the USA FREEDOM Act: