- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday is once again scheduled to be in the early presidential state of New Hampshire, where he will call for a robust U.S. military and defend government surveillance efforts in his third major policy speech in the Granite State in recent weeks.

In excerpts of prepared remarks he is to deliver in Portsmouth Monday, Mr. Christie is calling for active duty forces to be at 500,000 Army soldiers and 185,000 Marines. He also says the U.S. Navy should have more ships and that the country needs a larger Air Force.

Mr. Christie, who is laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential run, recently outlined plans for the country’s entitlement programs and the economy during addresses in New Hampshire.

He also plans to mount a defense of U.S. intelligence efforts in the Monday address.

“Too often, the loudest voices in the debate about how to keep our country safe are driven by some purist, theoretical vision of how we should manage our intelligence efforts,” Mr. Christie is expected to say.

“When Edward Snowden revealed our intelligence secrets to the world in 2013, civil liberties extremists seized that moment to advance their own narrow agenda,” he will say. “They want you to think that there’s a government spook listening in every time you pick up the phone or Skype with your grandkids. They want you to think of our intelligence community as the bad guys, straight out of the ‘Bourne Identity’ or a Hollywood thriller. And they want you to think that if we weakened our capabilities, the rest of the world would love us more.”

“Let me be clear — all these fears are baloney,” he says in the remarks, going on to say that when it comes to fighting terrorism, the U.S. government is not the enemy and that the country should not be listening to people like Mr. Snowden, the former NSA contractor who revealed significant information about the agency’s phone-snooping program that is now the subject of intense debate on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Christie is also expected to say that President Obama is “ready to accept a bad deal” on Iran’s nuclear program and said the country should come up with a coherent strategy to deal with Iran with Sunni partners.

“In August, the president announced a campaign to degrade and destroy ISIS,” he also says in prepared remarks. “But right now, they seem to be getting stronger every day, and we’ve just witnessed ISIS taking full control of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province. So right now, our piecemeal strategy to deal with ISIS doesn’t inspire confidence.”

“When allies lose confidence in us, they take matters into their own hands,” he is to say. “I think it’s better for America to extend a helping hand — and help manage events.”

Mr. Christie is also scheduled to hold a town hall at a Hudson VFW post later on Monday.

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