Portsmouth, NH- Following a recent ruling by an appeals court declaring that the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone records is illegal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited New Hampshire calling to preserve the government’s record collecting practices.
In a foreign policy-centered speech delivered on Monday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Christie criticized military spending cuts and proposed a growth in the United States military, suggesting 500,000 Army soldiers and 185,000 Marines. Christie also called for a larger Air Force and an increased number of Navy ships.
Christie held the Obama administration responsible in his claim that “American power is in retreat” and “no one understands any longer whom America stands with or against.”
In addition to calling for an increased military, Christie was sharp in his criticism of “civil liberties extremists” inspired by Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations:
[quote_center]When Edward Snowden revealed our intelligence secrets to the world in 2013, civil liberties extremists seized that moment to advance their very own narrow agenda.[/quote_center]
Christie declined to expand on what the “narrow agenda” might be.
“They want you to think that there’s a government agent listening in every time you pick up the phone or Skype with your grandkids,” Christie continued. “They want you to think the intelligence community are the bad guys, straight out of the Bourne Identity or some other Hollywood thriller. And they want you to think that if we weakened our capabilities, the rest of the world would somehow love us more.”
“Let’s be clear: all these fears are exaggerated and ridiculous. When it comes to fighting terrorism, our government is not the enemy,” Christie said.
Firm in his belief that NSA surveillance of Americans is a vital tool to catch terrorists, Christie also called for the extension of the Patriot Act and the preservation of provisions that are set to expire on June 1st. Christie said he utilized the Patriot Act “extensively, aggressively and legally as US Attorney,” adding “And I can tell you this: it works.”
Christie’s prepared remarks are available in full here.