Gary Johnson on Homeland Security
Libertarian presidential nominee; former Republican NM Governor
JOHNSON: Keeping an open mind to this, how do you restrict guns from potential terrorists? I haven't seen or heard any proposals that would actually address this.
Q: What about the pending proposals to deny access to people on the no-fly list?
JOHNSON: Well, these government lists are subject to error. Really, do we care about no-fly lists? I mean, should it really matter when it comes to identity of anybody flying?
Q: Wait; explain that?
JOHNSON: Well, no-fly lists. I mean, security should exist at the airports, that identity really is not an issue. But why are there no-fly lists in the beginning?
Q: So it sounds like you're saying maybe we should do away with no-fly lists.
JOHNSON: Well, no, I'm not suggesting that. I'm just pointing out that they are subject to error, and ideally you'd have a system that identity would be a non-factor, that everybody gets dealt with equally and that it's safe to fly.
JOHNSON: Well, limited, yes; I'm not saying do away with the NSA, but turn the satellites away from U.S. citizens. And there is due process, which I do not think is exemplified by gathering metadata on 110 million Verizon users.
Q: You had said it was created by executive order and you would issue one to end the NSA--
JOHNSON: I would issue one to turn the satellites away from the US.
Q: You've also said you would disrupt financing to terrorist groups--don't you need some surveillance tools to do that?
JOHNSON: I would assume so, yes. I'm not saying that the NSA gets shut down, but that the satellites should be turned against our enemies--and enemies does not mean US citizens--and that there is due process, or should be due process, for allowing that to occur here within the United States. But I don't see due process currently with regard to the NSA--that it's blanket surveillance of US citizens.
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: Let's talk specifically about the Pentagon itself, which says we could reduce 20% of US bases. But none of it has happened, because members of Congress won't allow [closure of] bases that exist in their home states.
Q: How about military bases abroad?
JOHNSON: That same number would apply to military bases abroad, although I have not heard the Pentagon comment on that.
A: Let's start with that idea: military intervention. Let's say that that's an option. That should be instigated by Congress. That's a mechanism that's been lost and Congress should modernize a mechanism for actually weighing in on military interventions. Right now, it's something that's become an executive prerogative, in conjunction with the military. Well, that's not right. The alternative is to cut funding off to ISIS to contain what's happening over there and make sure it stays over there. Brains not bombs. Cut off their funding and involve Congress for declaring war if that's what we're gonna do. If we're going to put boots on the ground that's war.
Q: So either fully go to war with Congressional approval or don't go at all?
A: Well, get Congressional approval. It would be a terrific dialogue for Congress to be having. Here are the reasons for, here are the reasons against, and see how the American public weighs in on it all.
Imagine the disgust of the Founding Fathers if they were to see the national government spying on citizens' private communications, monitoring financial transactions, photographing license plates, and even demanding to know what a person is doing at a public library--all without warrants or due process of law.
Decades of ever-more-intrusive government has steadily eroded personal freedom in this country. Adults are no longer free to make their own decisions, and virtually no part of Americans' private lives are today safe from government scrutiny and regulation.
Gary Johnson believes government should be truly limited--limited in the way the Founders envisioned--without unconstitutional scrutiny by the NSA, the ATF, the DEA or any other government agency.
As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to refocus U.S. efforts and resources to attack the real threats we face in a strategic, thoughtful way. The U.S. must get serious about cutting off the millions of dollars that are flowing into the extremists' coffers every day. Relationships with strategic allies must be repaired and reinforced. And the simplistic options of "more boots on the ground" and dropping more bombs must be replaced with strategies that will isolate and ultimately neuter those who would, if able, destroy the very liberties on which this nation is founded
Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed and the trillions spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. The chaotic, reactive military and foreign policies of the past two Presidents have, if anything, created an environment that has allowed real threats to our safety to flourish.
As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to refocus U.S. efforts and resources to attack the real threats we face in a strategic, thoughtful way. The U.S. must get serious about cutting off the millions of dollars that are flowing into the extremists' coffers every day. Relationships with strategic allies must be repaired and reinforced.
A: The only way a libertarian will act military is by being attacked, and we've been attacked. I oppose boots on the ground, but you can't rule out military intervention categorically.
Q: What does that mean? Drone strikes?
A: When it comes to drones, I think it makes a bad situation even worse. We end up killing innocents and fueling hatred as opposed to containing it. It just hasn't worked. We need to educate ourselves on the root causes of this, which is Islamic terrorism and the ideology of sharia law. In this country, we've become so politically correct that in the name of freedom of religion we have allowed sharia law and its adherents to advance. We need to differentiate between freedom of religion and the politics of sharia law. Freedom of religion, absolutely. But if you're talking about allowing sharia law that runs contrary to the US Constitution, that is ideologically the war that we need to take on
We must face the fact that ISIS is a murderous, violent movement driven by Sharia ideology, not by the religion of Islam. We need not & should not be Islamophobic, but all who are free and wish to be free should be Shariaphobic. In its determination to impose a "law" upon us and to kill, maim and terrorize in the process--ISIS must be stopped.
Let's be clear. Stopping ISIS and Sharia have nothing to do with religious freedom or the rights of Muslims--here or abroad. It has everything to do with protecting people who are free or wish to be free from murderous fanatics who will stop at nothing to establish a global caliphate under which no one would be free.
A: Government should be transparent, and this report is just another example of non-transparency that ultimately ends up being divulged. Look, whatever's out there, get it out there immediately. Get it out there immediately and let us all deal with it.
Gary Johnson: Though we should leave all options on the table, drone strikes are a dangerous tool. There are unintended consequences from using them to kill targets in Pakistan and Yemen. We may get our target, but we can also create new enemies due to collateral damage. Drone strikes should be used with caution, and understanding that they may create more adversaries than they eliminate.
Pres. OBAMA: As soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I gave my national security team three instructions:
Source: 3rd-party response to Second Obama-Romney 2012 debate , Oct 16, 2012
On Defense: We shouldn't have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan. But should we have 100,000 troops on the ground in Europe? Because America has been willing to be the world's policeman, other nations can afford infrastructure projects that the US cannot. That doesn't make sense. The alternative is for the US economy to slide to 3rd-world status. And the danger of a fundamental collapse is real.
I don't believe our national security is being threatened in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I believe the torturing of individuals has created tens of millions of enemies for our country that we might not otherwise have had.
A: I promise to submit a balanced budget, with 43% less spending in it, as an overall number. I am not going to cut pensions or benefits for veterans by a penny. When you look at the overall sacrifice that all of us are going to have to be a part of, if we're going to have a country going forward, I'm not asking veterans to sacrifice anything that they're currently receiving. Maybe there aren't any raises, but there certainly are no losses.
GINGRICH: I would replace virtually all government to government aid with some kind of investment approach. Our bureaucrats giving their bureaucrats money is a guaranteed step towards corruption.
Q: How do you balance foreign aid with other expenditures?
JOHNSON: I think the biggest threat to our national security is the fact that we're bankrupt, so I am promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013, and included in that is a 43% reduction in military spending. I think it's crazy that we have foreign aid to countries when we're borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar to do that. Military alliances are really key to other countries taking up the slack.
A: I just think that there's no end to that. Let's say we know there's a bomb ticking, so we have to torture this guy--that's the argument for the death penalty--but the law that gets written also is public policy which allows us to put someone who's innocent to death. The basis of our country is that we protect the innocent. Are we going to torture people to prevent nuclear briefcase bombs? It amounts to the ends justify the means.
A: I would abolish the TSA.
SANTORUM: Under certain circumstances or any circumstances?
Q: Under any circumstances that you could imagine.
JOHNSON: I would not.
PAUL: No, I would not, because you don't achieve anything.
SANTORUM: Well it's just simply not true, Ron. The fact is that what we found is that some of this information that we find out that led to Osama Bin Laden actually came from these enhanced interrogation techniques.
PAUL: Not true.
SANTORUM: And by the way we wouldn't have been able to launch a raid into Pakistan to get Osama Bin Laden if we weren't in Afghanistan.
CAIN: I heard Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say it very clearly a few months after 9/11 2001 after the tragedy, the terrorist have one objective, to kill of us and so, yes, I believe that we should do whatever means possible in order to protect the people of this nation, that's their ultimate goal.
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