Richard Blumenthal on Homeland Security



Apologizes again for having said he served in Vietnam

McMahon listed Blumenthal statements that her campaign commercials have centered upon, including occasions when he misrepresented his Vietnam War service and draft number.

Blumenthal said he was proud of his military record in the Marine Corps Reserves but on a few occasions out of hundreds of public speeches, he said he served in Vietnam. "I apologize as I have done before to the people of Connecticut, most particularly to our veterans, and I will continue to champion the cause of veterans," he said.

Source: Connecticut Post coverage of 2010 CT Senate debate , Oct 7, 2010

Military tribunals are appropriate for accused terrorists

We must ensure that our judicial system has the tools it needs to prosecute those who try to attack the United States. Both civilian courts and military tribunals have long been a part of our judicial system. Properly constituted, military tribunals are an appropriate venue in which to try accused terrorists under certain circumstances, including when enemy combatants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are directed by foreign terrorists and foreign governments to attack our nation.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, richardblumenthal.com "Issues" , Aug 12, 2010

Deeply committed to a strong national defense

Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and now with a son as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, I am deeply committed to a strong national defense. I firmly believe that our nation needs to keep faith with our veterans--whether in jobs or health care or education--through the adoption of a Leave No Veteran Behind program.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.richardblumenthal.com/ , Mar 5, 2010

Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps.

Congressional Summary: A bill to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Smith, R-TX]: America is safe today not because terrorists and spies have given up their goal to destroy our freedoms and our way of life. We are safe today because the men and women of our Armed Forces, our intelligence community, and our law enforcement agencies work every single day to protect us. And Congress must ensure that they are equipped with the resources they need to counteract continuing terrorist threats. On Feb. 28, three important provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. These provisions give investigators in national security cases the authority to conduct "roving" wiretaps, to seek certain business records, and to gather intelligence on lone terrorists who are not affiliated with a known terrorist group. The Patriot Act works. It has proved effective in preventing terrorist attacks and protecting Americans. To let these provisions expire would leave every American less safe.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Conyers, D-MI]: Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows a secret FISA court to authorize our government to collect business records or anything else, requiring that a person or business produce virtually any type record. We didn't think that that was right then. We don't think it's right now. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person's privacy. And so I urge a "no" vote on the extension of these expiring provisions.
Status: Passed 86-12

Reference: FISA Sunsets Extension Act; Bill H.514 ; vote number 11-SV019 on Feb 17, 2011

Restrict domestic monitoring of phone calls.

Blumenthal signed restricting domestic monitoring of phone calls

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2014 or the USA FREEDOM Act: Congressional Summary:

  • Requires the FBI, when seeking phone call records, to show both relevance and a reasonable suspicion that the specific selection term is associated with a foreign power engaged in international terrorism.
  • Requires a judge approving the release, on a daily basis, of call detail records; and to limit production of records to a period of 180 days.
  • Requires a declassification review of each decision issued by the FISA court; and make such decisions publicly available, subject to permissible redactions.

    Opposing argument: (ACLU, "Surveillance Reform After the USA Freedom Act", June 3, 2015): The USA Freedom Act that passed by a 67-32 margin is not as strong as we wanted. It is markedly weaker than the original version of the USA Freedom Act that the ACLU first supported in 2013. We supported a sunset of the provisions in an effort to advance more comprehensive reform, including rejecting surveillance through cybersecurity information-sharing legislation. Notwithstanding this, however, it is very clear that the USA Freedom Act is a historic step forward.

    Opposing argument: (Cato Institute , "Cato scholars differ on USA Freedom Act", Oct., 2015): The privacy community remained divided over the USA Freedom Act. The final version of the bill reauthorized several expiring Patriot Act provisions, but limited bulk collection. Some legislators argued that to pass new legislation would only provide the government convenient new legal justification for its spying--which it would interpret broadly. On the opposite side of the argument stood some pro-privacy groups who held that modest reforms were better than no reforms at all.

    Source: USA FREEDOM Act 14-S1123 on Apr 28, 2015

    End bulk data collection under USA PATRIOT Act.

    Blumenthal co-sponsored USA FREEDOM Act

    Congressional summary:: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act or the USA FREEDOM Act: