Sen. Marco Rubio says the Boston bombing attacks shows the United States must be more engaged in shaping world events and that it is "misguided" to limit the tools the government has in its arsenal to fight radical Islamic jihadists.
Mr. Rubio, a likely 2016 White House hopeful, said in an op-ed for National Review that "America has a moral and security responsibility to lead the fight to defeat them," but the Obama administration wants "to declare the war over, the enemy defeated."
In making his case, the Florida Republican zeroed in on government power.
"We should keep in mind that Boston shows that limiting government's authorities, retreating from the world and isolating ourselves will not keep us safe," Mr. Rubio said.
Mr. Rubio's op-ed coincided with a story in The New York Times that said the Obama administration is considering adopting an Federal Bureau of Investigation plan to change the nation's surveillance laws to make it "easier to wiretap people who communicate using the Internet rather than by traditional phone lines."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, also has argued in the wake of the Boston bombing that Congress should revisit the nation's surveillance laws and suggested the FBI may need more power to probe individuals suspected of having terrorist ties.
In his op-ed on Wednesday, Mr. Rubio said the United States has gone from "being a country with a decades-long record of shaping world events, the guarantor of peace and stability, to being, in many cases, a mere bystander to world events, lagging behind others."
He also pushed back against those who "argue that we should hunker down here at home."
"They believe that the government has overreached on national security — that more than a decade after 9/11, we need to focus more on restricting our government than on fighting those who want to kill us and disrupt our way of life," he said.
Mr. Rubio said that many of these issues were aired out during the debate last year over indefinite detention in the National Defense Authorization bill, which passed the Senate in December by a 93 to 7 vote, angering civil libertarians.
Mr. Rubio supported the proposal, while Sen. Rand Paul, another 2016 presidential contender and tea party favorite, opposed it.
"We should, of course, ask questions of our law-enforcement and intelligence agencies about who knew what and when, but we should keep in mind that Boston shows that limiting government's authorities, retreating from the world and isolating ourselves will not keep us safe," Mr. Rubio said.
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