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Lincoln Chafee on Homeland Security

Former Republican Senator (RI, 1999-2007)


Replace unilateral pre-emption with Mideast alliances

Q: If you were President of the United States right now, what would be your strategy in the Middle East?

CHAFEE: We have a lot of difficulties with our policy of unilateral pre-emption - where unilateral means one-sided. Our best policy now should be working with our allies and gaining more allies in the Mideast, instead of alienating some of the friends weíve had. We need everybody on our side as we wrestle with the difficulties in the Middle East -- in Iraq in particular, and in those countries that surround Iraq - Turkey, Syria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

WHITEHOUSE: There is a broader Middle East problem that has been made worse by our presence in Iraq. In those fronts, we need to strongly defend Israel. We need to do what we can to eliminate the terror capability of Hezbollah.

Source: 2006 RI Senate debate, by RIBA and WPRI-12 Sep 13, 2006

Keep Rhode Island?s military installations thriving

Iíve worked hard in the Senate to make sure Rhode Islandís military installations are thriving and itís something called the base realignment and closure process that comes along every five or so years. Itís always a big threat because you donít want to lose your military bases. But in this process, Rhode Island gained. One of the few areas to gain employment because of the hard work we did at building up these military installations, investing in them over the years.
Source: 2006 R.I. Republican Senate Primary debate on WPRI Aug 24, 2006

Supports more spending on Armed Forces personnel

Iím pleased with the overall direction of President Clintonís defense budget request. The President has requested $300 billion for the FY 2001 defense budget, a $12 billion increase over current funding. As the first inflation-adjusted defense spending increase in over a decade, it is a wise investment in our national security.

The funding for Newport, NUWC, Electric Boat, and Raytheon represent an important investment in Rhode Islandís defense industry.

Source: Press Release, ďinvestment in our national securityĒ, Feb. 7 Sep 19, 2000

Decrease funding for missile defense

Source: Vote-smart.org, 2000 NPAT Jan 1, 2000

Voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

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

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

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

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

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

Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.

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