Discussions on Hill heat up over US drone policy
Reaction from Sen. Mark Begich
- Duration 6:24
- Date Mar 10, 2013
Reaction from Sen. Mark Begich
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Debate over the use of drones the air force has reportedly -- data about drone strikes from its web site.
Last October the air force began publishing monthly data on the number of drone airstrikes in Afghanistan but now.
The air force times reports that there are no statistics listed for February.
And that numbers from previous months are gone as well the Pentagon spokesman told the air force times the Defense Department was not involved in any of those changes.
Earlier this week on Capitol Hill senator Rand Paul fired up a lot of discussion regarding drones.
He did it during a nearly thirteen hour filibuster on the senate floor pushing attorney general Eric Holder to give an unequivocal answer.
Can the president order an American citizen on US soil to be killed by a drone strike that he or she does not pose an imminent threat.
Joining us now to talk about drowned -- a whole lot more.
And Democrat and member of the homeland security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Senator mark -- thank you so much for coming -- thank you very much -- pleasure being here.
-- I want ask you about this issue of drones and and being used here in the US and -- are commonly used in -- a lot of people probably don't know.
-- you've been active on this front what do you think is the appropriate use.
Here in the us -- give -- example of Alaska when we are trying to get fuel to Nome Alaska in the winter we used a drone to do basically determine the ice flows so they can break the ice breaker through to get.
Fuel to a community that we had no more energy source so.
Yeah be very careful with utilization of these in some veggies and science Coast Guard is on fire service so forth.
We made very clear on this issue that is drones are being utilized -- need to be very transparent of how they're being utilized.
As you know with drones in the war in Afghanistan they've limited in some ways some of our own casualties it's -- new technology it's.
It's tough for some people to acknowledge what it will be -- we got to be very careful very transparent.
And on US soil clearly.
You know when I just listen to the report.
That in remission should be available.
Entrance turn out there by just -- example how we use it in Alaska to get.
Life saving fuel to a community so it could sketch out where the ice is slick and break it and get there in time.
And like so much of technology.
Good and potentially bad -- depending on how you look at and how it's managed.
I'm do you share the concerns that senator Paul had would you have joined the filibuster given the opportunity.
Well tell ya I gotta give a lot of credit Rand Paul you know he was out there -- Turkey -- he disclosed disagree hold which I have done in the past I've put a hold on a three star general.
I was in hiding behind anything I think this crazy secret hold stuff is insane.
And for people would understand how that works in the and it basically is senator can put a hold on somebody who's the nominee and it can never tell the public and don't have to explain that they've -- it but all we know is that nominee doesn't -- right.
Which in my -- -- your putting a hold on someone you should suck up to the plate going that and I did that on an issue we had.
And not afraid to -- I think what he did for thirteen hours is a credit to what this whole filibuster process is about.
Picture and name on that on the table tell people exactly.
Why -- -- -- hold on it and fight the good fight and that's what he did.
I think -- several of us as you saw there's a letter a group it was kind of a bipartisan kind of odd collection of us.
Concerned about the information available -- thing.
Rand Paul was trying to put that out there where's information.
I became more satisfied but still concerned about the transparency as you've just as disclose a little bit more but what -- air force -- done so.
We have to be very vigilant on this issue and making sure that information about the drones is out there for the public to understand.
Very limited in also in the united state issues as I describe yours scientific -- and other things of that nature that are more practical to use.
Or let's about the budget it's going to be a busy week on Capitol Hill this week from the -- we know that they're going to be hashing out marking up in the Budget Committee trying to get something.
-- budget passed through the senate in four years how optimistic are you something we'll get done this year.
I'm very optimistic I'm I'm one of those it's not afraid to take on you know when people put these budgets on island different world -- that amendment out what my constituents think -- my -- Put him on the table.
-- up -- down people elected us to take these tough decisions I think the week of the eighteenth we're gonna have their budget on the table and I think there's real lot of Tug -- war back and forth.
You know we recommended.
An array of cuts that are I'm not afraid of -- You know senator.
Coburn -- this book I was we were going through it you know this is one of his actually.
-- a T shirt back to black with the AC/DC to remind him how that all connects but.
You know it's important that we take a look at the budget very hard and not just trim here and there but.
For example I know I get a lot of criticism I -- listing off things but like the peace institute.
It's a forty million dollar federally funded think tank I like peace I'm sure you like -- but do we need forty million dollars or the media -- missile defense system.
In Europe that's not going to be used 400 million dollars or the subsidies that I teamed up with senator Coburn on more than once and cutting and that's for the millionaire.
Plus farm subsidies that occur out there on the list is long we should not be afraid to take these on it does mean.
As soon as I say these my office -- -- -- calls -- how dare you.
Well we don't have the money.
We have to deal with this we've cut the annual deficit by 40% in four years we go a long way to go still so.
We're gonna continue to make suggestions on a team up with Republicans were necessary to make these cuts.
And I'm sure I'm gonna hear from our national Democrats yelling at me but so be it will -- is -- tough calls we have to make.
Next week I anticipate.
Totals are seen the debate on the CR with some modifications some you know we have a couple preparation bills on the house.
Probably some from the senate that will be on there and will be hashing out that -- when we got to get arm because this whole idea of every two months these manufactured crisis is the worst way -- -- first way to do business.
You know when I was mayor of Anchorage Alaska -- -- done that would have been rolled out of office and easy one week or two weeks after suggestion these ideas so.
We're -- to make some tough calls.
People not going to be happy but the end of the day we're gonna get our economy continuing to move forward and I'm not afraid to take those but we can't just do.
Training we gotta say is this program.
For example in our Homeland Security is a program now -- the office of the private sector.
I've been asking everybody who what is his office do that's the private sector -- and they -- and -- I've never heard of it so we have to be tough and make some tough calls.
Well you -- bipartisanship and transparency we hope you'll have plenty of that and we wish you all the best -- hammering this out for the good of the country thank you very much and thank you.