Sen. Paul Introduces Amendment to Address Pakistan Imprisonment of Bin Laden Informant
Calls for eliminating foreign aid to government of Pakistan until Dr. Shakil Afridis conviction is overturned and he is released
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Sen. Rand Paul spoke on the Senate floor to introduce an amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (Farm Bill) that would address the issue of Pakistan's imprisonment of Dr. Shakil Afridi for "treason" against Pakistan. Dr. Afridi provided key intelligence to the United States leading to the death of Osama bin Laden and risked his own life to help the U.S. military find and kill its most-wanted terrorist.
The amendment would strip the government of Pakistan of all U.S. foreign aid until Dr. Afridi's recent 33-year prison sentence is overturned and he is allowed to leave Pakistan. Sen. Paul has also introduced an identical bill to this amendment and a second bill that would grant Dr. Afridi U.S. citizenship for his efforts.
Below is video and transcript of Sen. Paul's floor speech today:
Mr. President, I think that most Americans remember where they were on 9/11/2001.
I was doing eye surgery in Bowling Green, Ky., and I came out of the eye surgery into the patient's room and on the television set in the patient's room were the planes crashing into the buildings. My first thought was horror.
My second thought was concern for my father, who was in Washington, who is a Congressman, and who lives near the Pentagon.
As I thought about this, it just struck me as so bizarre, just hard to believe, but I knew exactly where I was and remember it vividly today. I think Lucky Penny remembers where she was.
Lucky Penny was one of the first female F-16 pilots. She was here in Washington at one of the bases, and she was asked to scramble her F-16. After the first two planes crashed, she was asked to intercept United Flight 93 coming in from Pennsylvania, we think headed towards the White House.
She was asked to scramble a fighter jet with no armaments. They didn't have time to load the armaments and at that time we weren't prepared and didn't have jets that were already pre-armed. Her mission was to take down the plane however she could.
Probably that meant ramming her jet into the commercial airliner and bringing it down. Can you imagine being given this task? She took it upon herself and quickly scrambled her jet.
The jet had to be scrambled in such a fast fashion that there were still things attached to it and people trying to dismantle and pull out the gas hose and et cetera and all the appendages to the plane as taxiing down the run way. I think she will never forget where she was on 9/11.
When Seal Team 6 infiltrated bin Laden's compound and killed bin Laden, I think Americans were very proud of Seal Team 6, proud of our military and what they did, to finally get this mass murderer.
When that happened though, in the weeks leading up to that attack on the compound by Seal Team 6, there was a doctor in Pakistan who helped us. His name is Dr. Shakil Afridi, he is about the same age as me. I have a lot of sympathy for him and for his bravery. Doctors are not soldiers, we're taught to heal and taught to help.
But he thought this was important enough and bin Laden was a bad enough person that he would help America get bin Laden. He set up a vaccination clinic and they did DNA. testing to try to prove that bin Laden was in the compound.
He risked his life to get this mass murderer. As a consequence, though, Pakistan has not treated him very well. The Pakistan government now put him in prison for 33 years. I find this incredibly insulting from an ostensible ally.
I find it troubling that this man, who is a hero and should be praised and congratulated and rewarded, has been put in prison for 33 years. He has been really in prison for the last year without trial, probably being tortured.
He's lost a significant amount of weight and now he's told that he will go to prison for the rest of his life. For helping America to catch the mass murderer bin Laden.
What I find particularly trouble is that the U.S. continues to fund -- we continue to give money to Pakistan, over $1 billion of taxpayer money is sent to Pakistan. It troubles me that we're sending $1 billion to a country that imprisons the gentleman, the physician, who was brave enough to help us get bin Laden. It makes no sense.
Now recently in a committee, and the committee proposed reducing our foreign aid, $1 billion by $33 million. That's 3 percent. I think they'll laugh at us and keep doing what they're doing. They only understand negotiation from strength.
So what I'm proposing and what I will insist upon in the next few days is a vote on ending aid to Pakistan unless they free Dr. Afridi. I think that is the very least they can do. I'm also asking the U.S. government to grant him emergency citizenship and help his family get over here from Pakistan and to provide them safe passage. I think it's the least we can do. But we shouldn't reward bad behavior.
That's what we've done with foreign aid for so many years. It's one thing to talk about aiding or assist your allies but to aid people who persistently persecute their own people, people who continue with human rights abuses. You know there is a woman named Asia Bibi, she's been accused of saying something about the Prophet.
She didn't do it. It is gossip. She set to be executed in Pakistan. I think the Americans should be outraged that $1 billion of your taxpayer dollars is being sent to Pakistan to a country that is imprisoning the guy who helped us get bin Laden, who is imprisoning a Christian for saying that she said some sort of religious blasphemy, which is basically gossip, the accusation.
I think we should be insulted. Not to mention the fact that I just don't think it works. Look at the examples throughout the last 30, 40 years of the different dictators that we've given money to.
We gave [Hosni] Mubarak over $60 billion, the military dictator of Egypt. He stole a lot of it. He was one of the richest men in the world. Had some of the largest palaces in the world and his kids were enriched also at your expense.
Look at Mobutu [Sese Seko] in Congo, given billions of dollars and entertained by American leaders. He at one time had seven of the largest palaces in the world. Mansions in the U.S., mansions in Paris - all paid for with your money.
What did his people have? His people didn't have running water or electricity. Even if you believe the humanitarian nation - nature of giving money to these countries, it's not going to them. You're making rich autocrats richer in third world countries and it is not going to the people of the country.
It is stolen and skimmed off the top. Look at [Robert] Mugabe. Mugabe in Zimbabwe who tortures his opposition has confiscated land, basically run his country into the ground, and we've given him billions of dollars.
You can't buy better behavior. Don't reward autocrats. Don't reward folks who torture their people. And for goodness sakes, let's don't send $1 billion to Pakistan who is imprisoning a hero, who helped us get bin Laden.
My amendment will call for an immediate halt to all aid to Pakistan, now. I'm asking President Obama not to send one penny to Pakistan until Dr. Afridi is free. I'm asking for no more money to go in the future until Dr. Afridi is free.
I think this is the least we can do. I plan on demanding a vote in the U.S. Senate, and I hope the American people will pay attention to how their representatives vote.
They are voting to send money we don't even have. We're a trillion dollars in debt. We borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan. It makes no sense.
Our infrastructure is crumbling. We've had two bridges collapse in Kentucky this year. We're struggling with money to pay for our own infrastructure, and we're sending $1 billion to a country who imprisons Christians for their beliefs.
It has to come to an end. It's going to come to an end one way or another. What I ask is the U.S. Senate step up and support ending this money being sent to Pakistan, at the very least not sending anymore until Dr. Afridi is freed. Thank you, Mr. President.