Protecting the Rights of American Citizens Everywhere
I share the outrage felt by Alaskans at the administration’s response – or lack thereof – to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held numerous hearings over the last year and a half on the tragic terrorist attack in Benghazi. While the House leadership has sought answers on this attack, this Administration has stood in the way of finding answers by withholding critical information and emails, despite more than nine different subpoenas. It is unacceptable that this Administration has willfully disregarded our subpoenas and impeded our investigations, which is why Speaker Boehner has announced the creation of a Select Committee to find answers and uncover the facts of what transpired in Benghazi. Congress now has no choice but to begin a Select Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina – a former federal prosecutor and current Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. I am a cosponsor of a resolution, H.Res. 36, to create this Select Committee.
National Security Agency (NSA)
I have been extremely troubled by the fact that our government was collecting phone data from law-abiding Americans, and I will continue to work to protect the freedoms of everyday Americans and ensure that we continue to provide the proper oversight on what government agencies are really doing. I voted for Representative Justin Amash’s amendment to the FY2014 Defense Appropriations bill to limit power of the NSA, which unfortunately failed.
Drones and American Citizens
Drones have been employed domestically by federal, state, and local governments in a range of circumstances. Drones drastically increase law enforcement’s ability to record public activity and although these drones could be helpful to law enforcement agencies, I am not convinced that it is worth losing all semblance of anonymity or privacy. As we examine laws and regulations and adjust them to reflect new technology such as drones, it is important that we are not too hasty. Alaska is a prime location for developing drone technologies and we need to find a balance between the economic and safety benefits of drones with the well-founded privacy concerns of the people, as well as the rights of states in regulating their own airways.
In addition, questions have been raised about the use of drones to kill Americans within U.S. borders after reports that the Administration has used drone strikes on suspected Americans-turned-terrorists abroad. I supported Representative Paul Broun’s amendment to the FY2014 Defense Authorization bill to prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from using drones to kill a U.S. citizen unless they are actively engaged in combat against the United States.