Two members of Congress who have endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for president told Breitbart News that they don’t agree with Rubio’s criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-TX) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) over the USA Freedom Act.
Rubio has criticized Cruz and Paul for backing the USA Freedom Act, which restricted the National Security Agency’s cellphone-tracking metadata program. But two members of Congress who have endorsed Rubio argue that the act was necessary and correct.
“More data doesn’t mean better intelligence,” said Rep. Moolenar (R-MI), who is also Rubio’s campaign co-chair. “We have to collect the right kinds of data and prioritize how we’re investigating potential acts of terror,” he told Breitbart News.
“I think there is a balance between privacy, between protecting people’s freedom and ensuring that we have good intelligence” Moolenar said. But, he said, “I believe the bill was an improvement.”
Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT), who also endorsed Rubio for president, told Breitbart News that it’s difficult to find the right balance in terms of security and individual freedom. The bill “didn’t weaken [security] in the sense that we’re not able to protect ourselves,” Stewart said. “Did it make it more cumbersome? Did it make it more time-consuming? Yes, it did.”
But the bill was “an acceptable trade-off,” he concluded.
Rubio has been critical of both Cruz and Paul, going so far as to imply that the USA Freedom Act prevented law enforcement from preventing attacks like the one in San Bernardino California.
From the Weekly Standard:
“Just four days before the terrorist attack in California this week, the USA Freedom Act limited our access to critical information about potential threats,” said Rubio’s campaign in a statement provided to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “Because too many in Washington have failed to grasp the nature of this enemy, we have less access to intelligence information now than we did just days ago. In the wake of Wednesday’s attack on innocent Americans doing nothing more than going about their daily lives, we must act swiftly to reverse the limitations imposed on these critical intelligence programs. Radical jihadists are trying to kill as many Americans as they can. Our law enforcement and intelligence professionals need access to this information. Failing to give them the tools they need to keep Americans safe is dangerous and irresponsible.”
The USA Freedom Act became law in June 2015.