LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell
told a national police conference Monday that congressional action
to expand the government's eavesdropping powers against suspected
foreign terrorists was needed to make the United States safer.
Speaking to the national Fraternal Order of Police conference,
the Kentucky Republican hailed the recently passed update to the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, saying "we're safer for
it." He ridiculed concerns from some critics that the changes went
"Now to me, the idea that we were supposed to extend the Bill
of Rights to a bunch of noncitizens overseas, let alone terrorists,
wasn't only dangerous, it was the height of stupidity," McConnell
said, drawing applause from the police group.
The legislation that cleared Congress this month gives the
government leeway to intercept, without warrants, communications
between foreigners that are routed through equipment in the United
States, provided that "foreign intelligence information" is at
The Bush administration has said the update to the FISA law was
needed to speed the National Security Agency's ability to intercept
phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign
nationals believed to be outside the United States.
Civil liberties groups and some Democrats have said the measure
went too far, and could enable the government to wiretap U.S.
residents communicating with people overseas without adequate
oversight from courts or Congress.
In his speech to police officers from across the country,
McConnell also pledged cooperation to break down any impediments
preventing the sharing of national intelligence information with
affected local and state law enforcement.
"The only way we'll detect and smash terror cells is by working
across city, state and federal lines," he said.
Referring to the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, McConnell
said "we've seen the horror these people can inflict on our
cities, and we should take them at their word when they say they
plan to do it again."
McConnell, a leading supporter of President Bush's Iraq war
policies, included the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as part of the
offensive against terrorism.
"The war we are fighting against terrorism is real, and we will
not have a shot at winning unless we've got a strong defense," he
said. "But we've got to have a potent offense as well. And I
guarantee you that it's because we've gone on offense in places
like Afghanistan and Iraq that we haven't been hit again at home
since Sept. 11."
Senator Mitch McConnell is also the topic of our latest web poll.
We asked, would you re-elect Senator McConnell to a sixth term or vote for a democrat who may or may not run against him.
Here are the final results.
Nearly 41% of you would re-elect Senator McConnell
Nearly 20% would rather see U.S. Representative Ben Chandler in his seat.
The dominant democrat is Attorney General Greg Stumbo with more than 25%
A little more than 3% voted for State Auditor Crit Luallen, Businessman Charlie Owen, and attorney Andrew Horne each received about one percent of the vote.
More than eight percent of you would like a different candidate altogether.