Bill Weld on Homeland Security
Former Republican Governor; former Senate candidate (MA)
WELD: In my time in the Department of Justice, we had great success with specialized task forces, the most prominent example being the organized crime strike forces. And Rudy Giuliani and myself and a bunch of other U.S. attorneys really did succeed in taking out the top three echelons of the La Cosa Nostra organized crime families in the late '80s. I suggest that 1,000 FBI agents be hired with a supplemental budget and then 1,000 people with terrorist training and backgrounds, specialists, would go to this new task force and a like number, you know, 200 or however many prosecutors were required. And this is not to get [any particular terrorist]; this is to get ISIS. So it's a big national priority. And then you would have a hotline encouraging any tips whatsoever, and you would have this database of ISIS tips and tips on lone wolves.
JOHNSON: Well, prior to Snowden, none of us had any idea about what this is, on an overall contextual basis.
Q: Would you pardon Snowden?
JOHNSON: Initially, when the Snowden thing happened, my concern was, "Holy cow, has information been released that are going to put U.S. spies in harm's way?" [But] Snowden took all of this into account before he released this. So, yes, I would pardon Snowden, based on what I know. But what I know is that no one has had any harm done to them as a result of what was released by Snowden.
Q: Governor Weld, do you feel the same way?
WELD: I was relieved when Gary said yes, he would pardon Snowden.
JOHNSON: Well, just philosophically speaking, do we need the capability of blowing up the world 18 times?
WELD: No, we don't. There's a Nobel Prize winner--his name is John Polanyi--he's written a lot on this topic and there are agreements underway among the existing powers to phase that down. This is a certain amount of resistance, which I would call rearguard resistance, but I'm interested in the topic and would put my shoulder behind efforts to reduce the stockpile.
Q: Do you accept that we need a nuclear triad? Missiles, submarines and airplanes?
JOHNSON: Yeah, yeah.
WELD: I thought the question was how many, and I'm saying reduce the number.
Jim Comey, the head of the FBI, was practically a national hero when he was deputy attorney general, together with my deputy in the Justice Department, Bob Mueller, who was head of the FBI for 12 years. These people know how to do this, task forces like the department had against Enron, financial crimes. So they could get results there treating ISIS as an organized crime family and taking them out.
WELD: The baseline position of the Libertarian Party is an invincible defense. An invincible defense includes projection of military supremacy both air and naval around the world, because people around the world really do pay attention. It does not encompass interventionism, boots on the ground, American blood on foreign soil. [But] every agency has 20% waste [so we will cut the military by 20%].
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