tv Chris Christie Remarks on National Security CSPAN November 24, 2015 10:01pm-11:13pm EST
press. "landmark cases" is available for $8.95. get yours on c-span.org. >> republican presidential candidate chris christie outlined his security objectives before a council on foreign relations. the new jersey governor said he had opposed the settlement of refugees in his state. this is just over an hour.
>> good afternoon. i am richard haas. i would like to welcome all of you to the council on foreign relations. for those of you who do not know us. we are a independent, nonpartisan numbers of organization. we are a think tank and a publisher as well. we are dedicated to being a resource for our nearly 5000 members from government officials, to business executives, two journalists, and students. civil and religious leaders and others as well. to help them understand the world and the foreign-policy choices facing this, and other countries. consistent with that mission, we are making ourselves a resource for presidential candidates and their staff, as well as for the american people in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. i have written to the democratic and republican candidates, offering briefings from our experts. as well as the opportunity for them to come to the council and a speak and take questions from our members. so far we have hosted marco rubio, the senator from florida, jim webb from virginia and most recently, hillary clinton, the former secretary of state.
today we are honored to host the governor from new jersey, chris christie. he was elected governor in 009. before that he served as the u.s. attorney for the district of new jersey from 2002 through 2008. our conversation will be .onducted by jerry sibe he is the author of the weekly column in the wall street journal. the scenario we will first hear is prepared remarks from governor christie after which he will take questions from mr. side after which he will take questions from the council of foreign relations. with that, let's be welcomed the overnor to the podium. governor christie. [applause]
governor christie: richard, thank you. thank you for being here today. i appreciate the forum and the input from a number of members n the council. i've been fortunate enough to receive as my time as governor and in this campaign thus far. the united states faces problems today all of round the world. we could catalog them. and they're worst now than they've been almost everywhere since 2008. our biggest problem, america's largest problem, we face a fundamental and crippling lack of leadership. the american people feel it and their anger, i believe comes from many different causes, but the root of their anger is the crippling sense they feel of the lack of leadership in washington dc. it reminds me of the late 970's. right here in 2015.
if you look back then, americans were angry and unhappy as well. failure in vietnam, a weak economy, hostages in iran and a president who told us we had to settle. to aspire to something greater was unrealistic. we were, i think, at that time depressed and fearful as a nation. fearful things what not get better not only around the world, but here at home as ell. i think we needed today what we got back then. a president that will finally put american interests firmly irst in a dangerous world. no further in apologies for american history or our goals round the world. a president who fought for the american people first. for their protection and interest first. not for the u.n. crowd, or the "new york times" editorial page,
but for this admiration and respect of the american people. those crowds he was not playing to did what those crowds did what they normally do. they ridiculed him. they ridiculed him as a cowboy. he said he would leave if he became president. less safe, less stable, and for some, a world that would not be here because of nuclear annihilation. of course, what happened because of his leadership was the ongest of growth and peace and stability in the world and the end of the cold war. that's what strong principled leadership can do. that is what it did under ronald reagan. that is what it can do now. i had a political science teacher at the university of delaware who gave me two great lessons about politics. i will talk about the first phrase.
he talked about how essential listening was to leadership. he told me all the time that great leaders listened much more than they speak. i asked him, why do you think that makes the most effective leaders? he said, because without listening, you want to be followers. he said remember something, chris, a leader without followers is just a guy out for a walk. and it is true today as well that we have a president who i believe no longer listens. he listens to a small independence lar group around him. -- insular group around him. when i look back on this presidency, i think it will be marked by one phrase. often wrong, but never in doubt. that is a dangerous thing to have in the president. reagan won over the american people by listening to the
their concerns were, what their interests were, ha their fears were and what their aspirations were. and he protected american interests first and foremost and unapologetically to anyone else around the world, or here at home. this most recently has come up with the syrian refugee issue. let me be clear about this, any policy, if it's meant to be successful must have the broad upport of the american people. and if that policy is not seen as being in the american interest, it is unlikely to have the broad support of the american people. the president's huge blunder, in my view, is going overseas and criticizing folks here at home who have raised genuine concerns over the safety of americans -- america under this policy. for me i'll be quite clear. when the f.b.i. director stands
up and says he cannot assure the safety of the american people, that stirian refugees cannot be vetted that ends the conversation for the moment. we cannot allow ourselves at a time of great peril, to put ourselves in peril because they are some people who believe it will make our country look better. -- here around the world, i have a large muslim-american population in my state. i think it is the second-largest in any state in the nation, he -- behind michigan. and what i'll tell you that muslim-americans are not nearly s sensitive, not nearly as sensitive as some of the people in places in here in washington or the white house believe they are. they're muslim americans and they understand that the safety of their families are at risk. just as catholics and buddhists
are at risk when the american home lapd is not safe and secure. this is common sense. i know the fbi director and i worked with him when he was the u.s. attorney in manhattan. that is what passes as foreign policy when you're u.s. attorney dealing with the southern district of new york. i knew him as my boss as the deputy attorney general and i now know him as the f.b.i. director. he is one of the most honest people i have known in public service. when he stands up and says he cannot assure the american people, the president should be a leader that listens and listens to the professionals he's placed around him. when the f.b.i. director says it's capable to vet folks, then we could revisit a policy that the american people can support. but instead what the president decides to do -- what he decides to do is try to belittle those differing opinion.
you're smaller. you're lesser. a real leader attempts to persuade. a real leader attempts to cajole. real leader attempts to bring people with differing opinions to find common ground. a real leader does not belittle the states all across the country that he pretends to lead. i don't care any less about the widows and orphans of the syrian war than the president does. not one bit less. but my focus is different than his is. my focus is on the widows and orphans in the united states. my focus is on the widows and orphans of september 11th. see, they live with me every day. they live around me every day in my state. it is 14 years later for
everyone in this country, but for me, it is a daily occurrence to look into the eyes of the people who lost their husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters on september 11th. their pain is no less today than it was 14 years ago. their loss is no less today than it was 14 years ago. and the goal and the intent of the american president has to be first and foremost to prevent another generation from having widows and orphans on american soil. and so, the president i believe, has lost his focus in an attempt to justify a failed policy. maybe in an attempt to curry favor around the world.
he has lost focus and lost support. that is why the american people don't support this policy. not only because it doesn't make common sense but because the president has lost focus on what is first priority should be. we can keep syrians safer in syria as well. the president has not kept his word that he gave over four years ago. we should set up safe zones in syria to keep syrians safe nside syria. or leaders can't assure our safety. but they want us to follow them into the abyss. that does not mean that those of us who have a differing opinion needed to sit down and keep quiet. i think it is more important we stand up and be heard. s much as that bothers the
president, he's going to continue to hear us, even if he will not listen. on the topic of not lpping, let's get to isis. despite everything we have seen in the past 12-13 days, the president continues to minimize the threat of isis. the president called them a group of killers who are good at social media. the secretary of state yesterday said, they are not 10 feet all. this is eerily reminiscent of the president's characterization f them not too long ago. i would be fascinated to see the president of paris speak to the families who lost their loved ones 12-13 days ago and tell them that isis is just a group
of killers good at social media. it would be fascinating to see the secretary of state go to those parisian families and tell them that isis is not 10 feet all. this is a transparent attempt to justify a failed policy. the president should admit he underestimated these folks. he underestimated the nature of the threat, the severity of the hreat. he did not come up with a strategy to be able to confront the greater threat. often wrong, but never in doubt. you can see through his comments on syria and isis that this is a continuing theme with this administration and its foreign policy. continue to deny reality. reminds me of the old country song. are you going to believe me, or
your lying eyes? there is only so many times that he can continue not to lose credibility and support. listen, mr. president. listen to the american people and their common sense. the threat is not minimal. the actions and the words that try to characterize it as minimal are not only naive but hey are gravely dangerous. this is a cult of evil, everyone. we can never allow this cult of evil to take hold in our country and live among us. it's this anthesis of what it means to be an american, to willingly participate in this. it's visited too many places in addition to paris.
we can all go through the list of cities where isis has already struck. i don't know if they are 10 feet tall, but they are looking pretty tall in those cities. i don't want them to look that all, or anywhere near that tall, in cities like new york, washington, chicago, los angeles, san francisco, or minneapolis. i am a former prosecutor. i am a former prosecutor in the post september 11 era. i was nominated by president bush and named to that job by the white house on september 10, 001. the next day my wife did what she had them for 20 years. got up in the morning, left the house by 6:00 a.m. drove to the train station. station.ine the path
and went to the world trade center and walked to her office, two blocks from the world trade center. that morning i took the day off. i had been named to a new job the day before and decided to spend the day at home and take my children back and forth to school. we had three at the time. 8, 5, and 1. took them to school and came home. and when i got home, the first building was on fire. i called my wife to ask as she was. she said it was no big deal. a commuter plane flew into the building. they told us not to pay any attention to it. they have fire engines outside. they're taking care of it. while we're on the phone, the second plane hit the second building. she said to me, they are evacuating to the basement. i will call you back when i can. five and a half hours later i still had not heard from her and the buildings had come down. all types of stories had turned
out to be inaccurate, but we did not know at the time. about pipe bombs and the inability of people to evacuate. i sat at home over and over again trying to call her and not finding her. and, as it got near the time i had to pick up my children at school -- our children at school, i started to think about these things. if i don't hear from her, what will i tell the kids when they ask about mom? because so many of the children at their school have parents who worked in lower manhattan. but the school had called and told us they had informed the children of their attack. they are going to ask about their mom as soon as they get to the car. i was thinking, what kind of life will i have without my best riend? what kind of single father was i going to be to three young hildren?
those thoughts replicated over and over and over again, tens of thousands of times where i ive. five minutes before i left to pick up my kids, the phone rang and it was mary pat top. and she was caked with dust and dirt but safe in a bar further up town where she found an operating pay phone to finally get in touch with me. we came home that night and the first call received was from a woman in our neighborhood. who mary pat had helped her husband find a job after he lost it some months earlier. it was at a place called rue yobrokers on the 44th floor of the world trade center. she asked her, have you seen frank? did you see him at all? did you commune with him? mary pat hadn't.
she said, i am sure he is and the hospital somewhere. we knew then in our hearts and we know now, there were no hospitals. there were almost no survivors. we see her at church every sunday and the gym in it that church is named after her late husband. we were at that funeral. our oldest son's best friend, is father worked at kanter fitzgerald. for 14 years since, we have watched that young man grow up spending a lot of time in our house. every year on his father's birthday on facebook, he puts up his father's picture with one simple sentence, "dad, we will never forget you." fear that this administration
and many parts of this country have forgotten. i can't forget. because terrorism is not theoretical to me. it's not theoretical. it's real. i see it in the eyes of people in my state every day. the loss is significant and never goes away. i would love to govern in a world as i wish it was. i don't. real leaders have to govern in the world as it really is. i wish the president would enter with us into that world. that is the world i have been trained to see. not only through my personal experience, but through the next seven years i spent as a prosecutor, prosecuting planned cts of terror in my state that
because we took the steps we needed to, because we had a resident and attorney general who kept our eye on the ball, we prevented future attacks from happening, future deaths from ccurring, future families from suffering the loss and the pain that i see right in my hometown. my sacred obligation as president would be to protect the american interests first and foremost. if we don't take care of ourselves, no one else will. we don't need a global order that will protect the interests of global business and academia. we need a strong american that will protect the interests of the american people and a strong nation states around the world that will ensure world stability. this nation is our home. it is where our children are born. it is where our grandparents are uried.
our homes and our neighborhoods have to be secure. they have to be safe and secure. they have to be a place where families believe we can reach our fullest potential. despite whatever the president says, do we feel that way today? do we feel that we are safe? do we feel that our government is acting in our interests to provide that safety and security, or do they have another agenda that they have placed unfortunately, in front of it? his government is paid to be on ur side, our side. not working for other interests, but to work in our interest. and today, i don't believe that is the case. needs to say -- not on this issue. ronald reagan said, we are the drivers of this government, not the other way around. national security is not a privilege. it is not an option. it is the fundamental right of the people of this country and
we must never forget that. people forget that in all types of aspects today. some people think trade deals are negotiated by global interests and that is something we have to sign onto. the proof is in the pudding. it has to be in the interest of the american people. some people believe borders have become outdated and believe in a post-american world. even an anti-american mindset, most of us utterly just reject that. we don't believe in our core that that is true. we recoil from it, but we have to speak out against it. even when it becomes politically ncorrect to do so. we have to stand up against those feelings, no matter how often they are expressed and what publications they are xpressed in. we have to fut interest of the
average american on the front burner and the interests and concerns there. i am not a pessimist who believes that washington is beyond repair. if it is properly led and run, it will serve the interests of the american people. it has before. i would tolerate nothing less if i got the privilege of being president. and you're always going cr ritics and that fees fine. i have been through that fire over and over again. i manage lovingly in an unruly state. there is nothing that is ever easy in new jersey, but you can walk through that fire and live through to the other side if you stick your principles. always in political campaigns there's this emphasis on new, right? new can be exciting. it really can. new can be exciting, attractive. new can be wonderful. it is untouched.
new is untarnished, but new is untested. new is not necessarily eliable. new seems fabulous but until the moment comes that you need experience. experience in the bureaucracy. experience of facing down one's adversaries. experience in distilling down unfair attacks from the media. experience and formulating policies that will actually work and serve people. this president was new in 2008, boy, was he ever. he was new. let's look at that legacy of newness. the record number of people out of the workforce. the record number of people on disability. obamacare. more than double the national debt. increased racial tensions in our country, not decreased. and a foreign policy that at
best, has been inconsistent and ineffective. think about some of the things the president has told us in the past few years. he claimed our borders are more secure than they have ever been. e claimed that after gaddafi and mubarak were gone that we would be saufer. he said that al qaeda was on the run. he said isis was jv. just hours before the attacks in paris, he told george stephanopoulos that isis was contained. all these things, every one of them, have turned out to be wrong. this is the problem. newness and inexperience allows you to see the world as you want to see it, as a fantasy. not the way the world really is. we cannot afford to have another person behind the desk in the oval office who sees america as e sees it.
we cannot afford to elect another president without the requisite experience and values that our fathers enshrined in the declaration and in the constitution. ess than one term in the american senate has proven to be willful training for the oval office. you cannot abandon protecting the american borders because the political heat is too great. you cannot cast the vote because it is fashionable to do so at a ime of seeming safety. that's not the type of leadership america needs in a ark and dangerous world. i stood up last spring against the restrictions that were proposed for the nsa for one very simple reason.
i know the policy works. i know that the policy worked. it is easy to theorize and debate in some subcommittee in the basement of the capitol, when you have never been responsible for implementing those policies or making those decisions. when you have been given that responsibility, it becomes a lot harder to give into the fashion of the day, to the political movement of the moment, decide what the presumed political adversary you think you may have in the future. i made these decisions and i have used the patriot act. i have seen the indispensable role that intelligence plays in preventing attacks on the american homeland. congress and the president made a grave mistake. not only in restricting the nsa's ability to do their
work. ut also at the same time, the demoralizing the spirit the spirit of the law enforcement and intelligence officers. this led to a did munition of the effectiveness of our intelligence community and the loss of spirit in our law-enforcement community. and once again i refer to the f.b.i. director who has said repeatedly that there is a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country. it affects the streets of new york, ferguson or chicago. it afebruarys their ability to stop plots and plans in conjunction with federal agents being put out by terrorist groups. morale is not divisible in law
enforcement or the intelligence community. he actions of the last year by this administration and some collaborators in congress of both parties has made our world less safe. when i had this argument with senator paul on the stage in august. folks may be understood the argument less. 11 days after paris, it is significantly more acute. a leader has to have the will to be capable of standing up to criticism. criticism that will come from all fronts. there is no doubt that many of the policymakers here in washington, along with many thought leaders in the press, have gotten into the lazy habit of assuming any policy popular with the american people must not have been totally thought through.
if you ask for a pause on the entry of syrian refugees to screen vet them, if you do so, you are accused of xenophobia. f you insist that we enforce the immigration laws, you are accused of nativism. an effective leader cannot be intimidated by the labels. f what you believe in your heart you let come out of your mouth and you stand up for it, you can't constantly lead by having your finger up in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing. when the that wind is blowing inside the united states, or cross either ocean toward the united states. so let me be clear. no one, no one and i'm not
advocating a return to the isolationism and the practices of the 1930's. no group of americans want a policy like that. i don't either. what they do want is thoughtful experienced, prudent leadership. that recognizes this country is our home and we deserve leaders who constantly and carefully look out for our interests in a dangerous world. even if that means taking actions that are not popular with certain portions of the opinion-making society in this country. see, i think that in times like this, those are the truths that hould be self-evident. those are the truths that should form the basis and foundation of how we lead in this country. those are the self evident truths of the american people. they must be to our government and to its leaders.
they're sthoom seem confused by the current political season. they don't know what to make of it. they say they can't figure out why the american people are expressing the concerns they are xpressing. we need to listen and not try to rationalize. listen to their frustration and anger. it is based on the ineffectiveness of the policies they see. the ineffectiveness of the government they see. the ineffectiveness of the government they are paying for. and the sense of drift they feel from a country and a government whose leaders are unwilling to make the difficult decisions and take the stand that needs to be taken, whether it is popular for the moment or not.
i understand what is happening here. i understand anger and frustration. i am from new jersey, of course i understand anger and frustration. we live for anger and frustration in new jersey. maybe that is why we understand the american people's complete detachment from what happens here. they don't think anybody here is listening anymore. there are two ways to react when you think people aren't throng you, to keep quiet and to o away or to yell even louder. unfortunately, we have both going on right now at the same time. we have scores of people detaching themselves from the political process because they feel like their voice will not be heard, no matter how loud
they yell. nd then we have a group of people who believe, hell with that, i will yell louder and louder and louder. if we don't respond to this dynamic, our way of life will be buried by it. we need to listen. and lead. and not be polling every uestion that confronts us. but to ask in our hearts, who do we really stand for? the answer i believe, has to be that we start putting our policies here and abroad that put the american people and their interests as they see it first. and if we do, we have a real possibility of uniting our country again. regardless of the ideological differences.
regardless of the religious and thnic differences. we can reunite our country. it will not be reunited by someone who simply talks. it has to be reunited by someone who listens first and then gives a voice to the people he is honored to represent. that is the type of leadership i propose for our country. not only because it is good politics, but for importantly, because it is the only way to bring a spirited country back to a sense that tomorrow will be much better than yesterday. if we do that, then we have an opportunity to bring our country together again. i am happy to answer your questions. [applause] >> thank you, governor
christie. thank you councilmembers here and those participating by teleconference. in the country and around the world, we will hear from some of hem later. here is how we are going to do this. i will take advantage of my prerogative as moderator to ask you a few questions. then, we will open it to questions from you all and some from people who are listening and. let me start with you talked for a while about the battle against isis obviously. down the street this morning, president hollande was here, asking him about ways to increase u.s.-french efforts and to create a better international effort. in a christie administration, what form with the american participation in that effort take? governor christie: first off, we're inheriting a situation
that has been allowed to get so out of control that our options are limited. that's the first concern. the question is what you do now? not how to look back in retrospect and how to do it differently. i would say this, i would hope that france invokes article five. this is an attack on one and -- that's an attack on all. we need to be really clear about this. it seems like mrs. clinton won't use the term "radical islamic terrorism" because she thinks this will be insulting to the rest of the muslim world. i think it is clarifying. f you say you are going to war with radical islamic terrorism, then by definition, you're not going to war with the rest of islam.
in my state, we have the second largest muslim american immunity -- community in the country. there are muslim americans and high-ranking positions in my staqte. -- in a my state. these are good, hard-working americans. confusion is created by euphemisms. let's remember something. they are trying to limit our freedoms. and so a christie administration would work with the nato alliance to bring the ull effect we could have, hold diplomatically, but also from a intelligence perspective to do what we need to do to bring isis to a conclusion. but we also need to be honest with the american people. because of the situation we inherited, this will take a long time. this is not going to be something that happened overnight. it just isn't. they cannot happen overnight.
i have heard some people say this is our world war and this is the way it will work. it may be true. in terms of length and effort, we need to prepare the american people that this is not something, whether it is handled diplomatically, militarily, or through intelligence, that will end any time soon. it's going to go on for a long time. >> does that troops on the ground under the nato umbrella nd is there some concern that is what isis wants? to drop in a western response is to validate their dinner table that this is the crusaders against the true believers. that is a trap, a centrally. -- trap, essentially. governor christie: the trap only works if you walk into it. this has to be done carefully and that is why working with nato is not all be have to do. our arabe need to work allies in the middle east as well. most of our allies are
suspicious of what american interests really are in the middle east and what our motives are. and clwl they can count on us with friendship. they look at what has happened with the iranian deal. they look at what has happened with our public interaction with israel. in some of those capitals, i think they are wondering if they can count on the americans to resolve anything. this is not only a nato operation. i think you have to work hard to bring our arab allies tory void the trap that's sys is looking to set. >> and president putin, what is his role? what does chris christie say? governor christie: you know, i think we could get there eventually, but he'd have to understand the limits of our atience. he is reaching the limits of our patience. i don't think we would be fast friends. >> would you be partners in syria? governor christie: not as long as he wants to partner with
asad. our goals are different. his role in syria is to prop up asad and to keep him there. i don't think he has any real interests. -- in combating isis. his real interest is to prop up assad. i don't think he has any real interest, even after isis attacks his own people. i don't think that is his riority. he has limited capability and he is focusing that on his top priority. that is, propping up asad. >> the last question from me, to follow-up from that. i take it that you don't buy the theory that what the u.s. and france should do is grit our teeth and accept the fact that president say sad will have to stay in office for a little while longer so everybody can focus on the fight on isis? governor christie: no, because the premise is faulty.
others like the russians and iranians will focus on solidifying asad's position for the long-term. you can't have an agreement with someone whose goals and objectives are completely different than yours. i don't believe we're at a point -- at the moment, maybe russia will come around, but i don't see it happening anytime soon. not with the iranians either. the premise of the question is faulty. i don't agree with that. >> let me ask. barbara, i'll start with you. here's the deal. you have to stand up, wait for the microphone, tell us who you are, where you are from, and ask a question. ot make a statement. overnor christie: sounds good. i'm a wall flower so we'll see what we can do.
>> governor christie. my name is barbara and i have lived in livingston, new jersey at one point. governor christie: as did it. >> in syria, who would you support in opposition to asad? how would you make a coherent opposition to him that could fight isis? what do you make of the fact that our arab allies saudi have been concentrating most of their time on bombing yemen? governor christie: i will start from the end and work back up. i think they are spending their time on that for two reasons. they see it as a greater threat to them. secondly, they don't think they can count on us. i think they have good reason to think they can't count on us. our policies at best have been erratic. our policies differ than our words. i think if you spoke to the jordanians, the saudi's, and the
emirates and the egyptians that they would say the same thing. they don't know what american policy is. the are afraid we are playing footsie with iran. they don't know what that will mean for their long-term interests in the region. i think the belief that american solve is only as good as the the next poll that comes out rom quinnipiac or maris. if that is the case, why would they want to get involved with us? on the syrian part, that is the part that makes what happens over the past two years or more, makes this even more complicated. i don't think there is a coherent opposition at the moment. you know, the problem though, is that assad himself is i think one of the great causes of isis and one of the great irritants through the way he's conducted
his policy toward his own people. and so, the president has now left us in a really difficult situation. the president's solution is what it always is. don't do anything. let others do stuff and see how it shakes out. but meep time, isis is getting stronger and they are not contained. their scope is not contained. there range is not contained. it will only get greater. -- to the extent that they're not being pressured there. i don't have an answer to, who is the group you would put in charge of syria? the problem is, given how badly it has deteriorated and how long the president has ignored this festering problem, he has left us with a situation that is at best, on your best day, too complex and too problematic for a two minute answer.
and one that's going to take a lot more time to figure out. but, long-term, assad staying doesn't help the isis problem and creates other problems in the middle east as well. >> right here, and then we will go back there. >> thank you. you spoke quite a bit about president reagan. you did not speak about his vice president, george h.w. bush. you did not speak about the most recent republican president, george w. bush. i think many of us could easily imagine the remarks that you made today having been stated by president george w. bush, it seems to come out of the same ideology. would you be a strong president in the mold of president george w. bush? and would that give us the same foreign policy that he gave us? governor christian: no, i don't think that's the case. concerning the fight on
terrorism, i think there are a lot of similarities, yes. i think all of the tools we need to have it should be made available to us and we need to make sure we police those who use the tools. see, the argument we had this past spring was, somehow the tools were inherently faulty. they're not. the tools are effective and proven to be effective. there are always going to be folks operating in every sphere of life who will color outside the lines. there are bad doctors, lawyers, accountants, athletes. right? in every walk of life. yet, what we decide to do this summer is to throw tested and proven effective tools out because of allegations, not even proof, but allegations that somehow those tools could be used in a way that was unconstitutional. i still have not seen the case may that anything that was done was unconstitutional. when that case is made it is by
people who don't have any idea what they are talking about. not the first idea of how to use these tools. you know, you hear about the mettadata collection operation at the n.s.a. and you hear people talk about that and they extrapolate someone reading your e-mails with your grandmother and listen in on your phone calls with your wife when of course none of that was going on and none of that had to do with the mettadata operation. but, you know, this administration has an agenda. the agenda was to ratchet it down. they put people into it. on the terrorism issue, i would say president george w. bush was combating terrorism and stopping attacks on american soil -- his record is pretty good. on the law enforcement side, one thing happened on my watch that not only i would be ashamed of -- that i am not proud of -- we
intercepted at least two serious and significant plots of terrorism in the immediate using the f 9/11 tools provided for us. one regarding a shoulder fired missile purchase and one about a private attack. either of which had occurred would have cost american lives. we need a president that understands this. our for policy could be changed in a number of ways. n the fight on terror, the language that might be most like george w. bush, i am proud to be part of that administration. i'm proud of the work that we did. >> let me follow-up on one point quickly. there was a federal judge that admitted a program was probably unconstitutional. and he shut it down at that
point. so how do you avoid that problem if you resurrect it? governor christie: first off, that's one federal trial court judge. he or she is welcome to their opinion. that will be appealed and will go most likely to the supreme court to make that determination. and there could be potentially, depending on the ultimate decision, small changes that could be made that can address those concerns. this was a wholesale abandonment of it. this is saying we will put it in the private sector hands. we're going to count on the phone companies to make this data available, to make it accessable to us immediately. listen, i'm a former federal prosecutor. when i subpoenaed, grand jury material was not immediate, nor will this be. and it's fantasy to think that the metadata program will be nearly
as effective, effective at all turned way it's been ameppeded. paris will prove out to be an intelligence failure. you have people from multiple country, a sin co niced attack. they didn't get together at the taco bell 15 minutes before and put this think before. so that means it's an intelligence failure on the part of french intelligence, our european intelligence and american intelligence. and it's not a coincidence to me that that this happened in the aftermath of restricting those programs and remember also demoralizing the intelligence community, that awful report that came out from the senate democrats at the end of last year was a complete political instrument that did nothing more than demoralize american intelligence officers all around the world. you cannot don't do that and expect those people will put themselves in harm's way and do the dangerous dirty work that needs be done to get this
information. if you continue to demoralize them and put them at risk and take tools away from them at the same time. >> right there? >> mark kennedy, george washington university. in addition to talking about terrorism, you also alluded to some concerns about trade. just worneding if you had any specific concerns about the trans pacific partnership and whether you see it as a specific geo political step to keep china pushing us out of influence in the pacific. governor christie: my specific concern was that it was negotiabled by the barack that is my istration. specific concern. that has been in the american interest. so, i have great skepticism about that agreement. do i have skepticism about trade overall? no. i like trade agreements that are fair and something that the american people can support. throughout the pacific, with
china, it is important thing. but i wouldn't let this president negotiate to buy me a car because if he went into the car dealer sthoip buy me a car, his first words to the salesman would be, this is my friend chris, he's not leaving this show room today without a car. [laughter] so let's negotiate price. that's my concern. >> let me turn to a question that came in. >> cars? e's from new york. governor christie: mayor deblasio. >> it's about americanism different from jihadism? what would you make sure they have access to it? governor christie: not really. not really. i mean, again, that sounds to me
like the world which it is instead of how it is. i don't think they're interested in that at the moment. are there elements of that? sure. it is not acceptable. what i use american power to make it accessible, no. no, i wouldn't. >> right here and then right there. go. es, sir. >> i was formerly with the department of state. governor, as president, what changes would you seek to make in our current immigration policies? governor christie: a number. first, it goes back to what i was saying in my remarks. any change to policy of that kind of the united states have to have the support of the american people. the reason that, in my view, immigration reform has failed up to this point are because the american people do not trust the
government. -- to actually do what they say they're going to do. and they have pretty good reason not to. so i think the first thing we need to do is to regain the trust of the american people and to do that is enforced the laws we have now effectively and clearly. we need to secure our border. that's always part of the issue. i'm not -- just to get this part of the way. 'm not a wall guy. i don't think that makes sense. i don't think how they ask it, he's paying for it. even if it's really beautiful, i don't think he's paying for it. but i do believe the wall in the most heavily populated need to use more of our
technology -- drones and stationary cameras. it is ungodly expensive to do it. i would be embedded -- a lot more fbi, atf and cia agents to try to disrupt guns across the border as a public safety issue. our visa program is one of the biggest problems that people are upset about. it invites people in. for a period of time and we don't keep track of them and they stay. it should be like if i woke up on saturday morning and i went upstairs to the guest room and he is still there. i invited him for thanksgiving, not the weekend. we have to find a way no one stays. i got in a lot of trouble with this with folks. i thought everybody in the media -- english as a first language -- federal express, figure out how to track a passage -- package from the minute it leaves my doorstep into where i wanted to go and every step in between, we should be able to do
that with the visa program. wonderful folks in the program -- they want to track folks like packages. i went on cnn -- they said are you putting bars on people? they said the media complains about the level of intelligence. that is something for me as a candidate. we need a biometric system for visas. barcodes are already right there. everyone is an individual. every person who comes in will have fingerprints and have a database. they should have to give that.
if you are over your visa, go home. whether it is 10 or 11 or 12 of these people -- however you count them -- 40% or more of those folks are visa overstayed. if you just deal with the southern border, with a biometric system, you cannot control that flow. you have to verify them as well. unlike what some people think, they are coming here to work. do those things first. show people you enforce the law. what people are most upset about with this president is the sentence of lawlessness. don't enforce it. i like it so don't enforce it. don't like marijuana laws? let's passage for recreational use. don't enforce it. the law we don't enforce today will be the law we don't enforce
today tomorrow, right? all of a sudden, we have a real problem. if you want to move towards fixing this problem, convincing the american people you can actually do this before you get greater latitude to do other things -- some of us may be wrong, but none of us will support that because they don't believe the government is competent. >> we have one last question. i want to remind everybody that the conversation is on the record. gov. christie: now you tell me. [laughter] >> what are the cameras doing back there? >> hi, my name is -- i wanted to follow up on the syrian refugee question.
a former secretary talked about biometrics are run on syrian refugees and one of the most rigorous settings we have. are you hoping to reconsider the possibility of letting in more syrian refugees and you think it can be done? the former secretary of state said we are sending a bad signal by black -- blocking all the syrian refugees. gov. christie: you have to review the different people that have to do it. none of them, by the way, have responsibility today to the american people. it is easy to theorize. not to be critical.
that don't have any responsibility. so, you know, when the fbi director tells me he can do it, i will reconsider. mike used to be the u.s. attorney -- my old job. dhs secretary and a really smart guy. real respect for him. it is easy to say those things. people on television want you to think because it is the politically correct thing to say to them. that is the politically correct thing to say. believe me. i've seen the e-mails. the facebook posts. i am not deaf, dumb and blind. i am not saying that because i have a responsibility. by the way, the federal government has a responsibility to me. this administration is not inform governments of refugees in the state. most people -- some programs last week -- that is impossible. i said, no, actually, it is happening.
the president overall in the phone last week told the governor's when that issue was raised -- he said, we will be better. wonderfully assuring, if you are governor of the state. the fact is the person who has the responsibility today, the primary responsibility of telling as law-enforcement capability is the director of the fbi. the attorney general, i think, implied this. the director of the fbi spoke out about this. it cannot happen. they don't have the wherewithal in their databases at the moment
that would effectively deal with this. that is a determinant for me. it is only not if the priorities were different. if your priority is the winner nobel peace prize then ok. what you want is to get a pat on the back of the world opinion shakers, then say otherwise. if your responsibility is to protect the lives of the people that you represent and you have the top law enforcement official in the country saying i cannot stop them, it does not seem like a hard decision. it only becomes hard when we give -- we are sending signals. what happens if one of these folks comes in and participate in an attack that kills america? what signal are we sending? i can guarantee you there are a lot of people who have an opinion who will run for the hills. who all of a sudden have qualified -- wait a second, i said this and that and this and that. when you are in charge, you have to be responsible, you'll get to run. you don't get the hide. you should not run and hide now.
i have the responsibility. i have had the responsibility. when the fbi director says he can do it more effectively, a change is the equation. up until this moment, we don't have that. right? go on television. say things and when someone looks the other way, they say the other way because they don't have the responsibility to do it. i have a great deal of respect for them before you interrupted me. [laughter] i have great respect for them, too. they are not the ones who are
responsible. i am telling you that is one of my biggest problems of the president. he is responsible. he should know better. and he should listen to the people he was put in charge. i cannot imagine he knows more about this issue. i cannot imagine a scenario under which he understands and knows. so, sometimes, leadership is about listening, even if it is contrary to exactly what you want. you need to listen. and i will tell you that if something does happen where american lives are lost, the american public both will and should be relentlessly unforgiving of those who are responsible for having done that and not listening to the people. >> thank you very much.
it has been a pleasure. [applause] >> c-span takes you on the road to the white house was speeches and we are taking comments on twitter and facebook. events arecampaign available on the website. journal, debate with them wage heritage foundation and the organizer of the fight for $15. at native american communities with the indian
executive director. washington journal is live on c-span with facebook comments. >> four days of nonfiction books and authors. starting at 8:00, all day andrage of the festival friday is the 32nd annual fair with talks and interviews. saturday, the george nation -- george mason university and section 16. kaplan.erta she argued the united states versus windsor.
the government gets time to respond and i get a call from an attorney. they were thinking about the case and they needed time to decide. i did not believe it. i thought that she was stalling serious and she had health issues and i was worried and wanted to make sure that she would be alive and healthy enough to enjoy it. that weighed on me and i told the government to forget it. >> she is interviewed. watch all weekend and every weekend. >> peter cook briefed reporters about operations with isis and a russian fighter jet.