For Immediate Release
On President Obama’s Remarks on National Security
Statement of US Senator Russ Feingold
WASHINGTON - "The two speeches offered a stark and revealing contrast - the president wants to protect the country while upholding and strengthening our time-tested constitutional principles, while the former vice president offered the same misleading scare tactics and flawed approach to national security that Americans repudiated in the last election. I welcome the president's emphasis on congressional oversight and the need for collaboration with Congress, for which the Bush Administration held such contempt. The president's remark on reforming the way the state secrets privilege is used also seems to indicate he is moving in the right direction. And I am also pleased that the president echoed the same point I recently made regarding claims by the former vice president: that I had seen nothing to indicate that the torture techniques authorized by the last administration were necessary or the most effective way to get information from detainees.
"The president has taken some important steps in his first four months. He has banned torture, increased transparency, and focused on the crucial threat to our national security emanating from al Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan. And he has pledged to close Guantanamo, which is being used as a recruiting tool by our enemies. But nobody expected the president would be able to undo the eight year assault on the rule of law by the last administration in just four months. So I look forward to continuing to work with him to restore the rule of law and put in place policies that will keep America safe and reduce the threats to our country that have grown more challenging because of the missteps of the last administration."
Senator Feingold is a member of the Senate Intelligence, Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees.