Sen. Paul Addresses Issue of Security Leaks, Imprisoned Pakistani Doctor - 6/26/12
Jun 27, 2012
Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor this afternoon to discuss the issue of national security leaks originating out of the Executive Branch, as well as his continuing fight to cut foreign aid to the government of Pakistan until Dr. Shakil Afridi is released.
This morning, Sen. Paul joined 30 of his fellow Senators in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting he immediately appoint a special counsel, free from the appearance of a politics or undue influence, to investigate the matter of national security leaks.
Sen. Paul has also introduced legislation to address the 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. He expects to have a vote on it in the coming weeks.
Mr. President, I'm not a big fan of foreign aid. We have a lot of problems in our country and I just don't see how we can send billions of dollars overseas when we've got bridges that are falling down in our country.
Two bridges in my state were impassable. One was hit by a boat and has been impassable for six months. We have another bridge that's over 50 years, was shut down for emergency repairs and traffic stacked up for miles.
Yet we send billions of dollars overseas when we don't have enough to fix our own bridges. It doesn't make any sense. We borrow a trillion dollars a year from China simply to turn around and send it to some other country.
It makes no sense. I'm not a big fan of sending your money overseas. But I'm even less a fan of sending your money to countries who don't seem to be our friends. Now, Pakistan has worked with us on the War on Terror.
But recently Pakistan has chosen not to let any of our supplies, our food and military supplies to traverse Pakistan. Recently Pakistan has said we owe them $3 billion. We're giving them $2 billion a year and they say we are back; we owe them $3 billion that's not even included in that.
Recently Pakistan has also said they want to charge us $5,000 per container of food that goes across their land. And for years bin Laden lived contentedly right in the middle of Pakistan underneath their noses. So what's up with that?
We're giving Pakistan $2 billion a year and bin Laden's just twiddling his thumbs there. They're not letting our supplies go across, they are demanding a past payment of $3 billion for who knows what, and we continue to pay them.
Recently it's gotten even are worse. Dr. Shakil Afridi is a doctor who helped us get bin Laden. I don't know how his name became public. Somehow his name was leaked. Somebody leaked his name.
I don't know whoever leaked the name if they were trying to puff themselves up and make them look like they were strongly fighting terrorism, but by leaking his name, he's now in prison for 33 years. Dr. Shakil Afridi is a Pakistani who helped us get bin Laden. The Pakistani government has put him in prison for 33 years.
His life has been threatened. If he is released, which I hope he will be released, his life has been threatened and he's in danger because his name is public.
How did his name become public? Somebody leaked his name. This is inexcusable. If this came from within our government, whoever leaked his name or leaked this information needs to be held accountable. I mean put in prison in our country for leaking state secrets.
The thing is that his name is now known in public, and he is threatened. His family is threatened. But now not only that, but anyone around the world who wants to help us to stop terrorism around the world who is willing to stand up and say I will help America, they are now threatened.
Do you think people are going to want to help fuss they know their name is going to be printed in The New York Times? We have to have things we do not divulge about people who are helping us to combat terrorism. Dr. Afridi is now in prison for 33 years and I'm going to do what I can to free him.
I'm saying is we shouldn't send them any more money stop immediately. I'm not saying take a small amount next year. Don't send them a penny this year or next year, don't send them any of the $3 billion they want.
One, we don't have it to send to them, we have to borrow it from china to send to them, but don't send them another penny. But I'm giving them one chance to get out, if they'll release Dr. Afridi, I'll stand down. Now my bill was blocked. I tried to have a vote on this last week and the Leadership here said no, you won't have that vote.
But we have a process where if you get enough signatures from Senators, you can ask for a vote and get it. That's where we are. I have enough signatures to have the vote. I'm meeting with the Pakistani Ambassador, with President Obama's State Department and what I will tell them is what I'm telling you.
This is not a secret. If Dr. Afridi is not successful with his appeal -- which coming up in the next three weeks -- if he is not released and provided safe passage out of Pakistan if he wishes, then I'll have this vote.
And I defy anyone in this body to stand up here and vote to send U.S. taxpayer dollars to Pakistan when they're treating us this way. So we will have a vote in this body on ending all aid to Pakistan immediately if we don't get some results.
Now, this doesn't mean I don't want to have diplomacy with Pakistan. Pakistan has been a friend over many years and I see no reason to end that. Pakistan has many elements who are pro-western and do want to engage in the world. I'm all for that. But you shouldn't have to buy your friends, you shouldn't have to pay a ransom, you shouldn't have to lavish them with taxpayer dollars.
In fact, it encourages a disrespect when you give them so much money. Let's make them earn our respect, let's work with them, let's be friends with Pakistan, let's have diplomatic ties to Pakistan. Let's try to help each other.
Terrorism doesn't help Pakistan. They're threatened equally by. I can list four Pakistani leaders who have been assassinated in the last 15 years. Why are they assassinated? Because of radical elements in their own country. So they should be with us on trying to stop extremism, on trying to stop this radicalism.
So my words for the Senate today and for the American people are, and that I'm watching out for your money, I realize that we have needs here at home that must come first, but also that I will force a vote on this.
And I'm not going to send any more of your money or try not to let the Senate send any more of your money to Pakistan unless they're willing to cooperate, unless they're willing to be friends with America, unless they're willing to release the man who helped us get bin Laden.
So I will ask for a vote. It will come in the next few weeks, and I will keep everyone in America up to date on this. And I thank the Senate for allowing me this time and suggest the absence of a quorum.