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Newt On Security Clearances

Tuesday, June 21, 2011  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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In last week’s presidential debate, there were a couple of questions and answers that seemed to center on Muslim Americans and whether they ought to be subject to different or higher standards of inquiry prior to government service. I asked Newt Gingrich about that on my show yesterday:

HH: I noticed that. In fact, I was just reading in the chapter [of your new book] on “Faith And Family”, a paragraph that reads, “The Founders’ distinctly Christian faith is well-documented, as is their conviction that government must be infused with Christian principles.” That’s what you wrote, Newt Gingrich. How does that play into the conversation that you and the other candidates had on Monday night about Muslim Americans?

NG: Well, we didn’t have a conversation about Muslim America. We had a conversation about whether or not there were circumstances where somebody of a faith other than Christianity could serve in the government. We’ve had, for example, Jews serve in the government, we’ve had both Protestants and Catholics serve in the government. And my point the other night was that we do have a right to demand that the person who gets a job as a presidential appointee has a commitment to the United States, and is prepared to be a loyal American citizen, and that we have to have security concerns to make sure that’s true, which would be true, by the way, whether you were a scientist from China, or you were somebody from Cuba, or you were a native born American, or you happened to be somebody from a Muslim country. Remember, the leading FBI traitor was a native born American who was in charge of counterintelligence. I mean, he was the guy who was supposed to catch Soviet spies, and it turned out he was a Soviet spy.

HH: And that’s what, that’s what I was making sure that I understood you to agree with. I’ve known you a long time, and you’re a Constitutionalist. You fully ascribe to Article 6, that there shall be no religious test for public office, correct?

NG: Absolutely. But I also believe that there should be a security test.

HH: But that would apply to anyone, regardless of their religious background.

NG: Of course, and I said that that night. I didn’t say anything about specifically targeting Muslims. I stated an example, because it is so ironic of the Pakistani who did the car bomb in Times Square, who laughed at the judge when the judge said but you swore an oath to the Constitution, and he said you’re my enemy. I lied. And that seemed to be an enormous shock to the judge.

HH: And so just to make sure, because I understood it that way, but some people didn’t, you are for the same security tests being applied to every American without a specific, additional enhancement for Muslim Americans?

NG: Absolutely.

The entire transcript is here, and we also discuss Newt’s campaign as well as his forthcoming speech on the Federal Reserve.

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