Tags: Iran | Israel | NSA/Surveillance | Rand Paul | The Hard Line | Pete Hoekstra | Patriot Act

Pete Hoekstra: Patriot Act 'Effective Tool' in Terrorism Fight

By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:09 PM

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax TV Thursday that "we're going to lose an effective tool in the fight on terrorism" if Congress does not renew the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency metadata programs that it authorizes.

"It's very, very clear that the NSA program is going to be modified from the program that I approved way back in 2004," Hoekstra told Ric Blackwell on "The Hard Line." Hoekstra represented Michigan as a Republican from 1993 to 2011.

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"I've got concerns about where we go with this USA Freedom Act, because it will not provide our intelligence community with the flexibility, the agility, and the speed with which it is going to need to respond to threats," Hoekstra said.

He was referring to legislation being debated in the Senate that would strip the NSA of its data-collection programs.

"All of the mischaracterization of this program over the last number of years has resulted in where we are today," he told Blackwell. "The program's going to change."

The Patriot Act, signed into law in 2001 by President George W. Bush in response to the 9/11 attacks, will expire June 1. The Senate is split over whether — and how — to reauthorize it. The law authorized the NSA to conduct widespread collections of Americans' telephone and Internet records.

"By itself, it's not a magic bullet," Hoekstra said. "It's part of a much larger picture that we gain on the threats in the United States.

"If we lose this capability, will there be a terrorist attack tomorrow because we've lost this capability? No, but it will make law enforcement less effective."

He blames Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for creating the controversy over the Patriot Act. The Republican presidential candidate spoke against renewing the law on the Senate floor for nearly 11 hours on Wednesday. He has charged the NSA with widespread spying on Americans through the program.

"It clearly distinguishes him in a bad way from the rest of the Republicans," Hoekstra told Blackwell. "The rest of the Republicans are calling for some more transparency and perhaps some more judicial review — but no one is going as far as Sen. Paul in terms of saying the USA Freedom Act is insufficient, I want to stop all of it."

Hoekstra recently returned from a trip to Israel. He found the atmosphere extremely tense.

"They're very nervous," he said. "They live with this threat of annihilation each and every day. Their borders are in chaos. They're concerned about what's going on in Syria — obviously, they're very concerned about this Iranian deal.

"They're looking for the kind of American leadership that they've experienced for 60 years, with America standing up against terrorists. They're very concerned as to where the United States policy is headed with this administration, but they are committed to maintaining a strong and enduring relationship with the United States.

"They need this relationship," Hoekstra said. "They're committed to it — and they're concerned where we're headed."

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Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax TV Thursday that "we're going to lose an effective tool in the fight on terrorism" if Congress does not renew the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency metadata programs that it authorizes.
Pete Hoekstra, Patriot Act, NSA, Rand Paul
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2015-09-21
Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:09 PM
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