New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie forcefully defended U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts in a speech Monday in New Hampshire, calling concerns over the loss of civil liberties amid surveillance "baloney," Politico
Christie returned to New Hampshire to offer remarks that slammed the portrayal of the intelligence community in popular culture as out of touch and contrary to U.S. interests in the face of real terrorist threats, Politico said.
Christie, distinguishing himself against other presidential hopefuls, including civil liberties protector Rand Paul, called for increased intelligence and military protections — his remarks coming as Congress debates reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which is set to expire at month's end and contains provisions allowing National Security Agency data collections and phone surveillance, some of which have been declared illegal.
"When Edward Snowden revealed our intelligence secrets to the world in 2013, civil liberties extremists seized that moment to advance their own narrow agenda. They want you to think that there’s a government spook listening in every time you pick up the phone or Skype with your grandkids," Christie told a New Hampshire audience, Politico reported.
"They want you to think of our intelligence community as the bad guys, straight out of the Bourne Identity or a Hollywood thriller. And they want you to think that if we weakened our capabilities, the rest of the world would love us more," Christie said as he makes the rounds in the early voting state, Politico said.
Christie also slammed the nuclear deal on the table with Iran, calling President Barack Obama's handling of such a plan on a world stage an embarrassment.
"The price of inaction is steadily rising," Christie said. "Just last week we saw the embarrassment of almost all the Gulf leaders, including the Saudi king, pulling out of President Obama’s summit at Camp David. Our allies want policies, not photo ops, and we’re not listening to them."
Christie added that the U.S. must strengthen its coalition amid the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist groups around the globe.
"If we’re not going to stop Iran getting a nuclear capability, then why would the Saudis or Egyptians or Emiratis choose not to follow? If we don’t have a plan to stop Bashar al-Assad in Syria, or Iraq in Yemen, what’s to stop governments lending support to proxy forces like al Qaida and ISIS?" he said.
The New Jersey governor had not yet made a public decision on whether he will enter the crowded GOP presidential primary field. His speech Monday was the third he's given in New Hampshire as his poll standing has fallen off in recent months, the Huffington Post
His stance on military and foreign policy have led some left-leaning media
to dub him a "hawk."
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