New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blames Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz for working during their Senate careers to degrade national intelligence for political expediency.
“The biggest problem with the intelligence community now is it has been demoralized by a president and certain members of Congress like Senator Paul and Senator Cruz who have worked against the intelligence community to make us less safe,” he said in an interview on WKXL radio in New Hampshire.
Cruz and other Republican senators joined Democrats to pass the USA Freedom Act – which extended some Patriot Act powers, but moved to restrict the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk data collection programs. Paul opposed the bill entirely, and attempted to filibuster it on the grounds that it extended Patriot Act provisions.
Christie, however, defends the national intelligence agencies, arguing that thanks to the Patriot Act authorities, they were able to keep the country safe. On the campaign trail, he has vowed to back their efforts if elected president.
“In the seven years after 9/11, during the Bush administration, we had no attacks on American soil after 9/11,” Christie said in the interview. He adds:
And a large contributor to that success was the intelligence community because it was empowered and supported by a strong president of the United States, who knew exactly what do to prevent terrorist attacks on the homeland, which has got to be the first priority that an American president is to protect the safety and security of the American people.