Marco Rubio on National SecurityRubio supports data mining efforts to protect against terrorism, while ensuring that any abuses are properly punished.
QUESTIONER: “Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rand Paul spoke tonight about his feeling that the government was going too far in trying to collect data and information on possible terrorist activity even against individuals if they were innocent. Do you think that he made, or the effort to do that, to get away with that data mining, made this country safer or less safe? And do you also, second part of this, do you trust no one in the federal government will misuse our phone and internet records?”
MARCO RUBIO: “Well let me just say this. As a member of the United States Intelligence Committee, almost on a daily basis I review the threats that are coming at our country. And suffice it to say that we are living through a period that is increasingly more dangerous than any we have ever lived through before. All the attention paid to ISIS, and rightfully so, it's not just ISIS. Al Qaeda still exists; in fact, it's an organization looking to remain relevant. And the best way for them to remain relevant, in their minds, is to conduct a devastating attack against the United States. The al Nusra front is growing in power within Syria. There are mul – the Khorasan group is actively plotting attacks abroad against the United States and our allies, and our interests. And all these groups actively are engaging in trying to recruit and inspire radicals located within our own country, to kill Americans and attack our interests here and abroad.
These risks are serious. They are not a game. And in my mind, it's not a question of 'if' we're attacked, it's a question of 'when' we're attacked, and when we are, the American people are gonna wanna know why didn't we know about it, and why weren't we able to stop it. So we need every tool at our disposal, and we have lost information we used to have. Just in the last four years, I have seen us lose access to information because of unauthorized disclosures that have made it easier for these terrorists to evade us.
Do I believe that someone in the government could potentially violate this one day and use this information for wrongful purposes? If they do, they should be prosecuted and thrown in jail. No one has yet offered a single example where that's happened, but if it ever does, we have laws for that. People should go to jail, they should be convicted, and they should be put away and punished for having done it. But I can tell you the threats to America are real, and we better take them seriously or we will answer for it.”
3 August, 2015: Rubio takes a question at the Voters First Forum (0:05 – 2:17)