Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s speech on counterterrorism policy:
“The President is correct to highlight the successes in America’s war on terror that have occurred since September 11, 2001 even though many of them were the result of policies that he denigrated in his speech today. He is wrong, however, to understate the continued threat to the U.S. homeland or to suggest that the lethality of the threats posed by a weakened al Qaeda and its affiliates is a return to a pre-9/11 norm that Americans should just accept.
“We need to ensure that our robust prosecution of this war does not violate the civil liberties of Americans. That is why I am working with Sen. Angus King to ensure that the Executive Branch has adequate safeguards built in to ensure that Americans targeted in drone operations receive the due process that the President referred to today.
“But we also need to ensure we don’t make the government out to be a greater threat than those who want to kill us. The terrorist bombings in Boston last month show us that the threat is real and that it remains. Unfortunately, the President seems too focused on declaring the war over and returning to the law enforcement approach to counterterrorism that characterized America’s response to terror prior to 9/11.
“Closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay and returning terrorists to the battlefield or pressuring Israel to compromise with the Palestinians will not make America safer or convince those who hate us and our way of life to give up the fight. The terrorists hate us because we are free, not because of our policies. If we fail to realize this fundamental fact, we will never be able to ensure that we win this battle.”