Grae Stafford/Daily Caller
Rep. Michele Bachman called for a stronger national defense but not an invasion of personal liberties Wednesday at the National Conservative Student Conference.
“I’m not saying that surveillance is a good thing. What I’m standing for is a strong national defense like Ronald Reagan. The Tea Party principles are the Reagan principles, smaller government but also strong national defense,” Bachmann told the Daily Caller.
Bachmann sited section 215 of the Patriot Act as the policy that has allowed the country “to thwart 54 terrorist attacks in New York City,” but it is the one program that people are calling to repeal.
“This is the one program that has helped keep us safe, and there has never been one instance where there has been a violation of any American’s rights or privacy. So we’ve had a very successful program with no violations. It’s thwarted terrorist plots. Why is this the one program we’re picking on to get rid of?” she said.
National security, according to Bachmann, is one of the core pillars of the Republican Party and being one of the leading countries in the world.
“You have to have a strong national defense if your nation is going to survive. We’ve been the leader of the free world because we have a strong national defense. That’s what I believe in,” she said.
Bachmann says that she has opposed black boxes in cars and Homeland Security’s use of drones across the United States, but that section 215 is not an invasion of American’s privacy and eliminating it will only aid the enemy.
“Only terrorists will benefit if we get rid of this program, certainly not the national security of the American people,” she said.
The national security and privacy debate has intensified in recent months with both Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning being hailed as heroes by some, traitors by others. Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy but convicted of violating the Espionage Act on Tuesday.
“I think that he should be dishonorably discharged and he is a traitor to his country. He revealed and intentionally declassified classified information, knowingly, and therefore he should have the most severe penalty that is available toward him,” Bachmann said.