MA Governor Suggests Wiretapping Mosques

Scott Helman, Boston Globe, 9/15/05

WASHINGTON — Governor Mitt Romney raised the prospect of wiretapping mosques and conducting surveillance of foreign students in Massachusetts, as he issued a broad call yesterday for the federal government to devote far more money and attention to domestic intelligence gathering.

In remarks that caused alarm among civil libertarians and advocates for immigrants rights, Romney said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation that the United States needs to radically rethink how it guards itself against terrorism.

”How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states?” he said, referring to foreign students who attend universities in Massachusetts. ”Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them?”

”How about people who are in settings — mosques, for instance — that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror,” Romney continued. ”Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what’s going on?”

As he ponders a potential run for president in 2008, Romney has positioned himself as a homeland security expert: He sits on a federal homeland security advisory council, is active on the issue with the National Governors Association, and repeatedly speaks about the lessons the country has learned from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and, more recently, from Hurricane Katrina.

Romney, who referred to himself yesterday as ”red-state folk,” has also struck more conservative postures on social issues that may alienate voters in Massachusetts but endear him to the Republican electorate nationwide; his tough talk on antiterrorism measures could also earn him support among conservatives. (MORE)

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