CD143: Trump’s Law Enforcers

CD143: Trump’s Law Enforcers

Jan 22, 2017

The Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security are the most powerful domestic law enforcement officers in the United States government. In this episode, hear critical highlights from the confirmation hearings of President Trump’s nominees for those jobs: Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and General John Kelly for Secretary of DHS.

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Hearing: Attorney General Nomination, Senate Committee on the Judicary, January 10, 2017

Timestamps & Transcripts

Part 1

  • 1:12:10 Senator Chuck Grassley: During the course of the presidential campaign, you made a number of statements about the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, relating to her handling of sensitive emails and regarding certain actions of the Clinton Foundation. You weren’t alone in that criticism—I was certainly critical in the same way, as were millions of Americans, on those matters—but now you’ve been nominated to serve as Attorney General. In light of those comments that you made, some have expressed concern about whether you can approach the Clinton matter impartially in both fact and appearance. How do you plan to address those concerns? Jeff Sessions Mr. Chairman, it was a highly contentious campaign. I, like a lot of people, made comments about the issues in that campaign with regard to Secretary Clinton, and some of the comments I made, I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question. I’ve given that thought. I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kind of investigations that involve Secretary Clinton that were raised during the campaign or could be otherwise connected to it. Sen. Grassley: Okay. I think it’s—let me emphasize, then, with a followup question. To be very clear, you intend to recuse yourself from both the Clinton email investigation, any matters involving the Clinton Foundation, if there are any. Sessions: Yes
  • 1:22:55 Senator Diane Feinstein: Appearing on the TV show 60 Minutes, the president-elect said that the issue of same-sex marriage was “already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. It’s done, and I’m fine with that.” Do you agree that the issue of same-sex marriage is settled law? Jeff Sessions: Supreme Court has ruled on that. The dissents dissented vigorously, but it was five to four, and five justices on the Supreme Court—a majority of the court—have established the definition of marriage for the entire United States of America, and I will follow that decision.
  • 1:30:05 Senator Orrin Hatch: In the 108th Congress, you introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 77, expressing the sense of the Congress that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced throughout the United States. It passed the Senate unanimously—it pleased it, too. In fact, it is the only resolution on this subject ever passed by either the Senate or the House. Now, Senator Sessions, with your permission I want to share with you that resolution adopted last year by the Utah legislature outlining why pornography should be viewed as a public health problem, as well as some of the latest research into the harms of obscenity. Is it still your view that federal laws prohibiting adult obscenity should be vigorously enhanced? Jeff Sessions: Mr. Chairman, those laws are clear, and they are being prosecuted today and should be—continue to be effectively and vigorously prosecuted in the cases that are appropriate. Sen. Hatch: In making this a priority for the Justice Department, would you consider reestablishing a specific unit dedicated to prosecuting this category of crime? Sessions: So, that unit has been disbanded—I’m not sure I knew that, but it was a part of the Department of Justice for a long time, and I would consider that.
  • 1:49:40 Senator Patrick Leahy: Do you agree with the president-elect, the United States can or should deny entry to all members of a particular religion? Jeff Sessions: Senator Leahy, I believe the president-elect has, subsequent to that statement, made clear that he believes the focus should be on individuals coming from countries that have history of terrorism, and he’s also indicated that his policy, and what he suggests, is strong vetting of people from those countries before they’re admitted to the United States.
  • 1:55:35 Senator Lindsey Graham: What’s your view of Obama’s administration’s interpretation of the Wire Act law to allow online video poker, or poker gambling? Jeff Sessions: Senator Graham, I was shocked at the memorandum, I guess the enforcement memorandum, that the Department of Justice issued with regard to the Wire Act and criticized it. Apparently, there is some justification or argument that can be made to support the Department of Justice’s position, but I did oppose it when it happened, and it seemed to me to be an unusual— Graham: Would you revisit it? Sessions: I would revisit it, and I would make a decision about it based on careful study.
  • 2:12:55 Senator Dick Durbin: Senator Graham asked this question, and I listened to your answer when he asked you what would happen to those 800,000 currently protected by President Obama’s executive order, known as DACA, who cannot be deported for two years—it’s renewable—and can work for two years, and you said, let Congress pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. You opposed the only bipartisan effort that we’ve had on the Senate floor in modern memory. And what’s going to happen to those 800,000, if you revoke that order and they are subject to deportation tomorrow, what is going to happen to them? What is the humane, legal answer to that? Jeff Sessions: Well, the first thing I would say is that my response to Senator Graham dealt with whose responsibility this is. I had a responsibility as a member of this body to express my view and vote as I believed was correct on dealing with issues of immigration. That’s not the attorney general’s role; the attorney general’s role is to enforce the law. And as you know, Senator Durbin, we’re not able financially or any other way to seek out and remove everybody that’s in the country illegally. President Trump has indicated that criminal aliens, like President Obama indicated, certainly are the top group of people, and so I would think that the best thing for us to do—and I would urge colleagues that we understand this—let’s fix this system. And then we can work together, after this lawlessness has been ended, and then we can ask the American people and enter into a dialogue about how to compassionately treat people who’ve been here a long time. Durbin: That does not answer the question about 800,000 who would be left in the lurch, whose lives would be ruined while you’re waiting on Congress for a bill that you opposed. Sessions: Well, I thought it did answer it pretty closely about what you asked, and I understand your concerns.
  • 2:31:10 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: As a question of law, does waterboarding constitute torture? Jeff Sessions: Well, there was a dispute about that when we had the torture definition in our law. The Department of Justice memorandum concluded that it did not necessarily prohibit that, but Congress has taken an action now that makes is absolutely improper and illegal to use waterboarding or any other form of torture in the United States by our military and by all our other departments and agencies.
  • 2:54:50 Senator Amy Klobuchar: If you could just explain your views of the Voting Rights Act moving forward and what would happen in terms of enforcement if you were attorney general. Jeff Sessions: The Voting Rights Act that passed in 1965 was one of the most important acts to deal with racial difficulties that we face, and it changed the whole course of history, particularly in the South. There was a clear finding that there were discriminatory activities in the South that a number of states were systematically denying individuals the right to vote. And you go back into the history, you can see it plainly: actions and rules and procedures were adopted in a number of states, with the specific purpose of blocking African Americans from voting, and it was just wrong, and the Voting Rights Act confronted that. And it, in effect, targeted certain states and required any, even the most minor, changes in voting procedure, like moving a precinct across— Klobuchar: So, how would you approach this going forward? For instance, the Fifth Circuit’s decision that the Texas voter ID law discriminates against minority voters, that was written by a Bush appointee, do you agree with that decision? How would you handle this moving forward? Sessions: Well, I have not studied that. There’s going to be a debate about it, courts are ruling on it now, and that is a voter ID and whether or not that is an improper restriction on voting that adversely impacts disproportionately minority citizens. So that’s a matter that’s got to be decided. On the surface of it, it doesn’t appear to me to be that. I have publicly said I think voter ID laws properly drafted are okay, but as attorney general it’ll be my duty to study the facts in more depth to analyze the law, but fundamentally, that can be decided by Congress and the courts.
  • 3:10:33 Senator Ben Sasse: This administration has made the case regularly that they need to exercise prosecutorial discretion because of limited resources—and, obviously, there aren’t infinite resources in the world—so what are some proper instances, in your view, when an administration might not enforce a law? Jeff Sessions:Well, critics of the immigration enforcement, the DAPA and the DACA laws, said that the prosecutorial-discretion argument went too far. It basically just eliminated the laws from the books. Secondly, with regard to that, the president’s executive—well, the order came from homeland security, not from the Department of Justice, but homeland security’s order not only said we’re not going to force the law, with regard to certain large classifications of people, but those people who’d not been given legal status under the laws of the United States were given photo IDs, work authorization, and social security numbers, and the right to participate in these government programs that would appear to be contrary to existing law. So that would, to me, suggest an overreach.

Part 2

  • 1:19:12 Senator Patrick Leahy: Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state laws even though it might violate federal law? Jeff Sessions: Well, I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government. The Department of Justice under Lynch and Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion, some parts of marijuana. Leahy: Do you agree with those guidelines? Sessions: I think some of them are truly valuable in evaluating cases, but fundamentally, the criticism I think that was legitimate is that they may not have been followed. Using good judgment about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine. I know it won’t be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.
  • 1:25:13 Senator Mike Lee: Are there separation-of-powers concerns arising out of the Department of Justice’s current approach to state marijuana laws? Jeff Sessions: Well, I think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress has made the possession of marijuana, in every state, and distribution of it an illegal act. If that’s something is not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It’s not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce; we should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we’re able.
  • 1:48:18 Senator Dianne Feinstein: Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman. Just to begin, I would like to ask unanimous consent that all statements and written testimony sent to the committee concerning Senator Sessions be made part of the record, and I have some testimonies and letters. Chairman: Without objection, so ordered. Feinstein: Thank you very much. Senator Sessions, when I was a small child, it was during World War II, and my father took me to a racetrack south of San Francisco called Tanforan, and it had become a detention camp for Japanese American citizens, and during the length of World War II, well, thousands of families were held in this compound. And we checked with CRS that says no Japanese American was ever convicted of any sabotage against the United States during that period of time. Senator Lee, Senator Cruz, and I have tried together to enact a bill to assure that no American citizen or lawful permanent resident detained in the United States can be held indefinitely without charge or trial, pursuant to authorization of military force. So, here’s the question: do you believe that the government can, pursuant to a general authorization to use military force, indefinitely detain Americans in the United States without charge or trial? Jeff Sessions: Senator Feinstein, that’s an important question. Classically, the answer is yes. Classically, if you captured a German soldier, they could be held until the war ended. That was done, I’m sure, at the Civil War and most wars since. Feinstein: I’m talking about Americans. Sessions: I hear you. So, then, the question is, we’re in a war like we have now that’s gone on multiple years, and I would think the principal of law certainly would appear to be valid, but as reality dawns on us and wars might be even longer, it’s on us to discuss those issues. So I respect your willingness to think about that and what we should do, but in general I do believe, as Senator Graham has argued forcefully for many years, that we are in a war, and when members who—unlike the Japanese who were never proven to be associated with a military regime like the Japanese government, these individuals would have to be proven to be connected to a designated enemy of the United States. So I’ve probably explained more than I should, but that’s basically the arguments and the issues we’re facing. I respect your concerns, and I’m sure they will continue to be debated in the future. Feinstein: Well, let me just say a few things about that. I’ve served on the intelligence committee for fifteen years. I read all of it. I think I know as much as anybody about what’s happening in the United States, and this is not—these are Americans that we’re talking about. They can be picked up and detained and held without charge— Sessions: You’re talking about Americans. Feinstein: —of trial indefinitely. And that should not be the case. Sessions: Well, I understand your point, and a citizen of the United States has certain important rights. They cannot be abrogated. It is absolutely so. They cannot be detained without undergoing a habeas review, and the government surely has to prove that they are indeed connected sufficiently with an enemy action against the United States, so they couldn’t be detained. Feinstein: Well, I appreciate that.
  • 1:52:32 Senator Dianne Feinstein: You were one of nine senators to vote against the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. It prohibited the imposition of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of any person in the custody or control of U.S. personnel. You also voted against an amendment sponsored by Senator McCain in the 2016 Defense Authorization bill to limit interrogations to the techniques provided by the army field manual, which does not include waterboarding. Do you agree that the CIA’s former enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, are prohibited by this provision of law as now codified at 42 U.S.C. 2000dd? Jeff Sessions: It does appear to be clear that on the last act and McCain amendment would prohibit waterboarding. Feinstein:And you would enforce that. Sessions: I would enforce the law, yes. Feinstein: Thank you very much.
  • 1:56:50 Senator John Kennedy: My name is John Kennedy. That’s really my name.
  • 2:01:33 Senator John Kennedy: When a radical Islamic terrorist drives a truck into a group of people and kills them, we’re told that we should not judge all Muslims by the act of a few. And I agree with that. Don’t you think the same rule ought to apply when one or two law enforcement officers make a mistake? Don’t you think that same rule ought to apply to all the other 99.9 percent law enforcement officials out there who just get up every day and go to work and try to protect us? Jeff Sessions: Well, I really do. And I think those of us in high public office do need to be cautious about demeaning whole departments and whole groups of people, because within those, most any department you can find in America, surely most of the people are just wonderful public servants trying to do the right thing. So when we say these things, we can increase risk for them, we can make it harder for them to have relationships with the constituents where they’re serving, and actually result in an increase in crime and ineffectiveness in law enforcement. So, boy, these issues are—we can’t miss these issues. Kennedy: No.

Part 3

  • 3:20 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: Does a secular attorney have anything to fear from an Attorney General Sessions in the Department of Justice? Jeff Sessions: Well, no, and I used that word in the ninety-thousand-foot level of a little concern I have that we as a nation, I believe, are reaching a level in which truth is not sufficiently respected, that the very ideal, the idea, of truth is not believed to be real, and that all of life is just a matter of your perspective and my perspective, which I think is contrary to the American heritage. So that’s just a kind of a criticism of mine, but we are not a theocracy, nobody should be required to believe anything. I share Thomas Jefferson’s words on the Memorial over here—I swear eternal hostility over any domination of the mind of man—and I think we should respect people’s views and not demand any kind of religious test for holding office. Whitehouse: And a secular person has just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious, correct? Sessions: Well, I’m not sure. In what method? Is it less objectively committed to— Whitehouse: In the methods that an attorney would bring to bear a case. Sessions: Well, let me just say we’re going to treat anybody with different views fairly and objectively.
  • 59:04 Senator Chris Coons: We worked together to restore funding to the federal public defender service when it was cut by sequestration, and I think that’s because we both agreed that outcomes are more fair when there’s effective representation on both sides. One of the amendments I offered to that immigration bill would have provided counsel to children who were applying for refugee status because they were fleeing violence in their home countries, in U.S. immigration proceedings. Is that something you would support? Jeff Sessions: Senator Coons, as I understand it, that is the law, that you cannot provide lawyers to illegal entrants into the country, and I don’t believe it makes a distinguished—it distinguishes between minors and adults, but I may be wrong about that. I presume that’s why you’ve offered legislation to that effect to change established law, but in general I do not believe we can afford nor should we undertake to provide free lawyers for everybody that enters the country unlawfully. I think that would be a massive undertaking. So you’re talking about children specifically, I understand that. Coons: Specifically doesn’t matter… Sessions: And I think that’s a matter that Congress would need to decide what to do about.
  • 1:02:25 Jeff Sessions: I would not favor a registry of Muslims in the United States—no, I would not—and I think we should avoid surveillance of religious institutions unless there’s a basis to believe that a dangerous or threatening illegal activity could be carried on there.
  • 1:28:03 Senator Lindsey Graham: Let’s talk about the law of war. I think you were asked by Senator Feinstein about the indefinite detention. Hamdi v. Rumsfeld—this is Sandra Day O’Connor’s quote: There is no bar to this nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant—that case involved a U.S. citizen that was captured in Afghanistan and was held as an enemy combatant. Are you familiar with that case? Jeff Sessions: Generally, yes. Not as familiar as you, but I know you’ve studied at great depth. Graham: Well, this has been a military law. This is sort of part of what I did. Do your constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen stop at the nation’s shores, or do they follow you wherever you go? Sessions: Well, you have certain rights wherever you go. Graham: So if you go to Paris, you don’t give up your Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure. Could the FBI break into your hotel room in Paris and, basically, search your room without a warrant? Sessions:I don’t believe— Graham :No, they can’t. Your constitutional rights attach to you. So, to the people who say, well, he was in Afghanistan—that doesn’t matter. What the court is telling us, no American citizen has a constitutional right to join the enemy at a time of war. In Ray Quirin—that case involved German saboteurs who landed in Long Island. Are you familiar with this? Sessions: I’m very familiar with that case. I have read it. Graham: They were German saboteurs and had American-citizen contacts in the United States. They were all seized by the FBI and tried by the military. So, what I would tell Senator Feinstein and my other colleagues—the law is well settled here, that a United States citizen in other wars have been held as enemy combatants when the evidence suggests they collaborated with the enemy. Under the current law, if you’re suspected of being an enemy combatant, within a certain period of time—sixty days, I think—the government has to present you to a federal judge and prove by preponderance of the evidence that you’re a member of the organization they claim you to be a member of. Are you familiar with that—your habeas rights? Sessions: Correct, yes. Graham: So, as to how long an enemy combatant can be held, traditionally under the law of war, people are taken off the battlefield until the war is over or they’re no longer a danger. Does that make sense to you? Sessions: It does make sense, and that is my understanding of the traditional law of war. Graham: And the law of war is designed to, like, win the war. The laws around the law of war are designed to deal with conflicts and to take people off the battlefield—you can kill or capture them—and there’s no requirement like domestic criminal law, at a certain point in time they have to be presented for trial, because the goal of the law of war is to protect the nation and make sure you win the war. So when you capture somebody who’s been adjudicated a member of the enemy force, there is no concept in military law or the law of war that you have to release them in an arbitrary date because that would make no sense. So, all I’m saying is that I think you’re on solid ground and this idea of an American citizen being an enemy combatant is part of the history of the law of war, and I am very willing to work with my colleagues and make sure that indefinite detention is reasonably applied and that we can find due process rights that don’t exist in traditional law of war because this is a war without end. When do you think this war will be over? Do you think we’ll know when it’s over? Sessions: I’ve asked a number of witnesses in armed services about that, and it’s pretty clear we’re talking about decades before we have a complete alteration of this spasm in the Middle East that just seems to have legs and will continue for some time. That’s most likely what would happen. Graham: You’re about to embark on a very important job at an important time, and here’s what my suggestion would be: that we work with the Congress to come up with a legal regime that recognizes that gathering intelligence is the most important activity against radical Islam. The goal is to find out what they know. Do you agree with that? Sessions: That is a critical goal. Graham:And I have found that under military law and military intelligence gathering, no manual I’ve ever read suggested that reading Miranda rights is the best way to gather information. As a matter of fact, I’ve been involved in this business for 33 years, and if a commander came to me as a J.A.G. and said, we just captured somebody on the battlefield—you name the battlefield—they want their rights read to them, I would tell them they’re not entitled to Miranda rights. They’re entitled to Geneva Convention treatment, they’re entitled to humane treatment, they’re entitled to all the things that go with the Geneva Convention because the court has ruled that enemy combatants are subject to Geneva Convention protections. So, I just want to let you know, from my point of view, that we’re at war; I’m encouraged to hear that the new attorney general recognizes the difference between fighting a crime and fighting a war and that the next time we capture bin Laden’s son-in-law—if he’s got any more—I hope we don’t read him his Miranda rights in two weeks. I hope we keep him, humanely, as long as necessary to interrogate him to find out what the enemy may be up to. Does that make sense to you? Sessions:Well, it does. We didn’t give Miranda warnings to German and Japanese prisoners we captured, and it’s never been part of the—so they’re being detained and they’re subject to being interrogated properly and lawfully any time, any day, and they’re not entitled to a lawyer, and so forth. Graham: Right. And Miranda didn’t exist back in World War II, but it does now, but the law of the Hamdi case says this is very important, that you do not have to read an enemy combatant the Miranda rights. They do have a right to counsel in a habeas pursuit— Sessions: In a habeas corpus, you’re correct. Graham: —to see if the government got it right; you can hold them as long as it’s necessary for intelligence gathering; and you can try them in Article III course, you can try them in military commissions. As attorney general of the United States, would you accept that military commissions could be the proper venue under certain circumstances for terrorists? Sessions: Yes. Graham: Thank you.
Hearing: Nomination of General John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret.) to be Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs, January 10, 2017.

Timestamps & Transcripts

  • 1:37:18 Senator Kamala Harris: I’d like to ask you a few questions, starting with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA. Hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients around the country are afraid right now for what this incoming administration might do to them and also what it might do to their unauthorized family members. In order to receive DACA, these young people submitted extensive paperwork to the federal government, including detailed information regarding themselves and their loved ones. They also had to qualify, as you know, for the program; and in qualifying, each person’s case was reviewed and determined on a case-by-case basis: the young person must have not been convicted of a felony or a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors; the young person must also not be deemed to pose a threat to national security or public safety; the young person must currently be in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general-education development certificate, also known as GED, and/or have been honorably discharged as a veteran of the Coast Guard or armed forces of the United States. Among other things, DACA applicants must submit proof of identity, proof of time and admission in the United States, proof of relevant student school completion or military status, and biometric information. As part of the DACA application process, we conduct biometric and biographic background checks against a variety of databases maintained by DHS and other federal agencies. If a DACA applicant knowingly makes a misrepresentation or fails to disclose facts in an effort to obtain DACA, it is a felony, and the applicant will be treated as an immigration-enforcement priority to the fullest extent permitted by law and be subject to criminal prosecution and/or removal from the United States. This means, obviously, that applicants to DACA know that if they’re not giving us the whole truth about their story, they’re putting a target on their own backs. At the time, the Department of Homeland Security assure them that it would follow its long-standing practice of not using such information for law-enforcement purposes except in very limited circumstances. These young people are now worried that the information that they provided in good faith to our government may now be used to track them down and lead to their removal. So my question is, do you agree that under DACA, and those young people have relied—by hundreds of thousands of them have relied—on our representations, do you agree with that, that we would not use this information against them? General John Kelly: The entire development of immigration policy is ongoing right now in terms of the upcoming administration. I have not been involved in those discussions. If confirmed, I know I will be involved in those discussions. I think there’s a big spectrum of people who need to be dealt with in terms of deportation— Harris: I’m speaking specifically about DACA.General Kelly: —and those categories would be prioritized. I would guess—I’m not part of the process right now—I would guess that this category might not be the highest priority for removal. I promise you, Senator, that I will be involved in the discussion.
  • 1:45:00 Senator Rand Paul: We have on the books, and we passed about five years ago, a law that says that an American citizen can be indefinitely detained—not an American citizen overseas, not someone captured in Syria on a battlefield. Someone captured in the United States and accused of terrorism—accused of terrorism—can be kept indefinitely. They could be sent to Guantanamo Bay, but they could be sent to a variety of places. It’s never been used—and this president has said he wouldn’t use it, but he signed it anyway, much to the chagrin of some of us—but it is on the books. And I guess my question to you would be, do you think we can adequately arrest people in our country who are somehow a threat to our homeland security? Do you think the Constitution could be good enough, that due process in our courts of law in our country would work? Or would you think there’re going to have to be times when we’re just going to have to detain people without trial? General John Kelly: I’m pretty committed to the Constitution. I was not aware of the law—it surprises me—but I think we have enough laws to help us out in that regard. Paul: A couple of years ago they decided they’d use license plate screeners, and, apparently, they’re very rapid and they can collect hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of license plates an hour. But they decided they would go to a gun show, and why this particularly concerns me is you could also conceive the people at a gun show as exercising some sort of freedom of speech or some sort of ideological belief by being at a gun show, not just wanting to buy a gun, but actually defending their Second Amendment right to buy a gun. What alarms me is that if we’re going to scan license plates at a gun show, that we might go to a pro-life rally or a pro-abortion rally, depending on who’s in charge. I don’t want the government scanning people’s license plates. I don’t want them covering and getting all of our data just so we can possibly be safe some day from something. I want the individual to be protected, but I’m not against Homeland Security going after individuals and digging as deep as you want with the proper process. So what I would ask you is your opinion on how do we defend the country? Can we do it with the traditions of looking at individuals for whom we have suspicion, or are we going to have to collect all of this data and give up our privacy in the process? General Kelly: Senator, I would go with the traditional route. The scanning of the license plates, I mean, may be a reason—I can’t think of one right now. I’m not for the mass collection of data on people. I’d go the other way. Paul: And this is an amazing amount of information we can look at. If you had all the information of everyone’s Visa purchases in the country, there’s no end. But realize that this is a big part of what your job is, is people are going to be coming to you saying, protect us; we want to be safe, but at the same time, what are we willing to give up? Can we keep what we actually believe and what we are as a people, the freedom that you are committed to as a soldier? And I hope you’ll keep that in mind. General Kelly: Sir. Paul: Thank you.
  • 2:15:08 General John Kelly: My law-enforcement friends tell me that in the case of drugs that come in—frankly, I’m not arguing for legalization for marijuana here; I’m just saying that the only drugs I’ve really ever concerned myself with at SouthCom were the three hard drugs. All the marijuana flow that we saw was coming from some of the Caribbean islands, south. So I’d just focus on the hard drugs.
Hearing: Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?, Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, April 05, 2016.
Senate Session: Republican Senators on Surveillance Bill Reauthorization, May 15, 2015.
  • Jeff Sessions speaks at 28:18
Senate Session: Jeff Sessions Mocks Karl Rove, June 21, 2013.

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