Concord Monitor

Day on the trail: With voters seeking security, Ben Carson focuses on foreign policy

December 23, 2015  |  New Hampshire, News

Amid the Christmas trees at the Capitol Center for the Arts, Ben Carson said it’s his faith that keeps him from getting anxious about his campaign. If God wills it, the retired neurosurgeon said with his wife by his side that evening in Concord, he’ll win the White House.

But leading up to that moment, for most of the day Monday, the Republican homed in on another faith: the one driving Islamic extremists. Trending down in polls, Carson sought to dispel the idea that a soft-spoken doctor was unfit to lead at a time when Americans are worried about their safety at home.

A foreign policy forum at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester presented him his first opportunity of the day. He burst into the room, already gripping his own microphone at its base, and brushed past the Secret Service that tightly policed the audience on his way to the stage.

Palmetto Business Daily

Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security cites national security as No. 1 GOP election priority

December 22, 2015  |  Honorary Chairman Mike Rogers, News, South Carolina

With the South Carolina Republican primary scheduled for February, where presidential candidates stand on national security and terrorism will determine who voters choose in the 2016 Republican primaries and caucuses, the Honorable Mike Rogers, honorary chairman of Americans for Peace Prosperity and Security (APPS), said.

“Americans want a president who understands that stability abroad brings prosperity at home,” Rogers, former chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, told Palmetto Business News.

As host of “Something to Think About” on Westwood One and a CNN national security commentator, Rogers said the ongoing work of APPS continues to raise the profile of these critical issues among voters seeking the Republican nominee for commander-in-chief.

Timing is crucial as February heats up with the Iowa caucuses slated for Feb. 1; the New Hampshire primaries set for Feb. 9, followed by the South Carolina Republican presidential primary Feb. 20; and then the Nevada Republican caucuses unfold Feb. 23.

National security is the most important issue this election and voters are insisting on a candidate with solutions to those issues, Rogers added.

“Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security has one mission: to educate voters in early presidential nominating states on issues related to our nation’s security,” Rogers said. “After 23 presidential candidate forums, email newsletters, blog posts and news clippings, APPS polls in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire show our work is making a difference.”

And according to APPS’ detailed findings from a new public opinion survey — conducted Dec. 1-3 in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — the specific national security concern among likely 2016 Republican caucus goers and primary voters is terrorism.

“Our polls show terrorism is overwhelmingly the top issue on [their] minds,” Rogers said.


Talking 1-on-1 with NH1 News, Carson fights perceptions he’s weak on national security

December 21, 2015  |  New Hampshire, News

MANCHESTER – Ben Carson says “our primary goal right now is to destroy ISIS.”

The retired neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate spelled out his strategy to take down ISIS while taking questions at national security forum Monday that hosted by Americans for Peace Prosperity and Security and moderated by this reporter.

“We don’t contain them. We have to destroy them, because it’s like an infestation,” Carson added.

It’s the latest example of Carson trying to bone up on national security and foreign policy as he beefs up his credentials.

In October Carson was battling Donald Trump for front runner status in the national polls in the race for the GOP nomination. But following the horrific terror attacks on Paris last month and this month’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, Carson’s seen his poll numbers slip thanks to the perception by many voters that the first-time politician is not commander-in-chief material.

In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News following the forum at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, Carson fought back against such perceptions.

New Hampshire Union Leader

Carson: U.S. needs to use ‘cyber-attack capabilities’

December 21, 2015  |  New Hampshire, News

The U.S. should use its “cyber attack capabilities,” and not just play defense, to protect national security, Dr. Ben Carson said Monday.

The Republican presidential hopeful said U.S. intelligence agencies should monitor social media channels and deep-dive the Internet for any traces of terrorist or rogue-state hackers or attackers.

“We need to stop being politically correct,” he said. “We need to go after people. We also need to put out alternative messaging. And, using our cyber attack capabilities, take down their networks, to take down their servers. It’s dirty pool, I agree, but they’re dirty people. So, in those situations we can use dirty pool.”

Laconia Daily Sun

Giving Isis too much credit doesn’t at all serve our interests

December 21, 2015  |  New Hampshire, News

In the latest 007 film, the British secret agent faces a formidable adversary — a global crime syndicate with informants, agents and influence all over the world.

Given the string of violent attacks and discovery of cells in Egypt, Lebanon, Paris and Brussels, it might looks like ISIS is a real-life Spectre: a global, far-reaching, uniform movement with tentacles in every conflict, carefully managed by a small group of men.

The reality is very different, and what makes ISIS so dangerous, and so hard to track and disrupt. It is far from a centrally controlled hierarchy, and a good portion of the violence and terror in the last year has in fact been done by self-radicalized adherents, not foreign fighters. ISIS is not responsible for all insurrections and insurgencies we are seeing, but it does have a growing hand in many.

Greenville Online

Voters need to vet military policy

December 19, 2015  |  News, South Carolina

When the United States announced the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were over and that our troops were coming home, the declared end of hostilities must have felt supremely ironic to the highly trained and heavily armed soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines still preparing to deploy (or re-deploy) to those harsh environments.

Despite naively optimistic rhetoric from the Obama administration in the face of new attacks, the world continues to be a dangerous place where enemies of individual freedom train daily to subdue their neighbors, marshal resources and prepare for the day they can show their might by attacking us at home. The discussion about how our country should best navigate this complex reality of hostile thugs, self-proclaimed caliphates, and terror-sponsoring nations must remain a focus of the presidential primary process in spite of the media’s focus on candidate personality.

Comparing successful conflicts like the original Desert Storm (with clear, limited objectives and a sound post-conflict political solution) to Vietnam or the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the past 14 years, one can see that having the strongest military in the world is only at its most effective when the leadership, orders and vision of our civilian government are clear.


Don’t base policy on false narrative: Opposing view

December 15, 2015  |  Honorary Chairman Mike Rogers, News

To deny our intelligence services the tools needed to keep Americans safe is shortsighted and naive.

The challenges to our national security have never been greater. From international organized crime selling dirty-bomb materials on the black market, to sophisticated terrorists recruiting and planning attacks in America, the challenge to get our national security right is daunting.

The debate about what our intelligence services were and are doing on the subject of surveillance continues to be based on inaccurate, misleading accounts, sensationalized by the news media and some politicians, leading the public to believe a false narrative.

The phone records “metadata” program did not and does not collect the content of conversations, just the “to” and “from” billing data routinely provided by companies. The NSA contractor who leaked program details helped create a false narrative and led terrorists to change tactics.

The narrow metadata program stored anonymous information for a machine to run matches against known terrorists’ numbers, following a court-approved process. To call that storage invasive belies the reality of, and restrictions on, its use. Additionally, critics gloss over 38 terror plots in the U.S. and Europe the program helped prevent.

The program was recently changed so that telecom companies, rather than the NSA, hold the data. The companies store the data for different time periods, in different formats — creating a challenge for the FBI in an emergency. The attackers in San Bernardino, Calif., for example, could have been in touch with other operatives in the USA unknown to the FBI. The data needed to quickly identify a terrorist network is no longer immediately available to the FBI.

Though intelligence is not an exact science, our intelligence community has successes every day. Most of these accomplishments are never made known. To deny our intelligence services the tools needed to keep Americans safe is both shortsighted and naive.

The program was created after 9/11 when an intelligence gap was discovered. In light of San Bernardino, the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, the program should be strengthened.

Mike Rogers is host of Westwood One radio’s Something to Think About, a CNN commentator, and past chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

The Messenger

Christie: Restart phone surveillance

December 11, 2015  |  Iowa, News

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for restarting a controversial phone surveillance program and said as of now Syrian refugees can’t safely be allowed into the U.S. during a forum on national security in Fort Dodge Friday.

ABC News

Chris Christie: San Bernardino Proves He Was Right to Warn Against Women and Children Refugees

December 11, 2015  |  Iowa, News

While both President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have called for stricter gun control measures in the wake of the recent shooting attacks in California and Colorado, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said such proposals are nothing more than “cotton candy” that might taste good but won’t actually make the country safer.

“What Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama propose is cotton candy. … It has no relationship to anything that will help to make the body of the country safer or better,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on Friday. “Just like eating cotton candy, nothing good for the body, just makes you feel good for a couple of minutes.”

Des Moines Register

Ted Cruz is positioned to win Iowa, insiders say

December 11, 2015  |  News

“National security has emerged as a defining issue for GOP presidential voters.

Asked who’s trusted most to handle it, an early December poll of likely Republican caucus and primary voters by the special interest group Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security found these results:

Iowa: Ted Cruz, 34 percent; Donald Trump, 19 percent; Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, 12 percent each.

New Hampshire: Trump, 25 percent; Bush, 14 percent; Chris Christie, 12 percent.

South Carolina: Trump, 24 percent; Cruz, 17 percent; Bush 15 percent.”