Homeland Security

Come together in tragedy's wake (Rep. Steny Hoyer)

This week, we pause the work of this House to mourn the lost lives of six of our fellow citizens—one born on that day of tragedy and carnage when thousands were slain in an equally indiscriminate, heinous act of hate—citizens shot dead on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona in pursuit of their 'right to peaceably assemble.' We come, as well, to honor those who risked their lives to save others; to pray for the lives of the wounded; and to pray for our colleague and friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Today, this temple of representative democracy is a sadder place. But Congresswoman Giffords, with her intelligence and her toughness, her public spirit and her charm, will—God willing and with the extraordinary medical care she is receiving—soon return to this body and again be a practitioner of and model for the principles of civil debate and thoughtful deliberation on which this temple is founded.


Trust local law enforcement (Rep. Richard Nugent)

While I am new as a Member of Congress, I am not at all new to the threats facing them.  I’ve spent the last 38 years of my career in local law enforcement – during the last ten of which, I was Sheriff of Hernando County, home of our congressional district office.
I want to echo strongly what Bill Livingood, the Sergeant-At-Arms and the Capitol Police officers have been telling Members over the last few days.  The most important step district offices can take to improve their security is to maintain a strong and proactive relationship with local law enforcement.  Make sure that the district office and Member’s home addresses are on file.  Also invite the department out to perform a security analysis of the district office itself.
My department performed such an analysis for the FL-05 district office during my predecessor’s time in Congress.  We recommended keeping certain doors locked during business hours.  We also emphasized the need for a silent panic alarm and other measures.  These simple steps can dramatically improve the ability and effectiveness of the response from local law enforcement.


The Senate has a moral imperative to ratify New START

Christians are called to value and protect life. Today, the lives of millions hang in the balance from a threat that exists largely under the radar of public consciousness. It is the threat of nuclear weapons. Though the Cold War has ended, the desire of terrorists and dangerous regimes to acquire nuclear weapons to destroy our way of life has made this threat as imminent as ever. In the context of this global reality, it would be inexcusable for the Senate not to ratify the New START treaty now. 

New START is vital to the U.S.’s ability to monitor Russia’s nuclear arsenals – the largest in the world – and ensure that safeguards are in place to contain the nuclear threat. As pastors and Christian leaders from various sectors of society, we cannot remain silent as this threat to life goes unchallenged and we strongly urge the Senate to pass New START without further delay.


WikiLeaks is revealing the truth about American empire (Rep. Ron Paul)

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) delivered the following speech on the House floor yesterday:

WikiLeaks release of classified information has generated a lot of attention in the past few weeks. The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news. Despite what is claimed, the information that has been so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Losing a grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neoconservatives in charge.


U.S. nuclear weapons: They're not out of date

In leading Republican opposition to the New START agreement that would reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles, Sen. John Kyl (AZ) has argued that U.S. nuclear weapons need to be “modernized.”  That suggests that existing U.S. nuclear weapons are somehow out-of-date, which simply is not true.


Transatlantic body scanners

Remember? It was the US government that asked the EU to install full-body scanners across Europe after 9/11. But while the EU still doubts the installation of the devices, the United States has meanwhile taken the lead and currently deploys approximately 385 security scanners in 68 US airports. The numbers are expected to rise in the years to come and by 2014 the US authorities aim to deploy 1800 devices in airports across the country.


A much needed shot in the arm for U.S. civilian power

Last May, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen wrote a candid letter to the Congressional leadership to express his support of continued funding for diplomatic and development initiatives through the International Affairs budget. The letter was capped by a personal note in the Admiral’s distinctive handwriting: “The more significant the cuts, the longer military operations will take, and the more and more lives are at risk!”


Statement on WikiLeaks’ unauthorized disclosure of sensitive, classified documents (Rep. Adam Schiff)

I deplore the potentially treasonous disclosure of classified and sensitive national security information, and urge the Department of Justice to bring any responsible party to justice. I also condemn the ongoing WikiLeaks release of a quarter million diplomatic documents, which will cause immeasurable harm to our diplomatic efforts, and worst of all, may expose our sources of information to great danger.


Afghanistan: Destroying their property and insulting their intelligence (Rep. Lynn Woolsey)

The trip taken by the U.S. delegation to the NATO Summit in Lisbon was an expensive one indeed. The decision made there to extend our military occupation of Afghanistan into 2014 (and possibly beyond) will exact untold, unsustainable, unacceptable costs. 
A war that has tragically already cost us 1,400 American lives will now take many hundreds more. A war that has already drained the treasury of $370 billion will drive us further into debt and stall our economic recovery. And a war that has undermined our national security goals will continue to make us less safe.