Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tammy Baldwin on Drones

Have you been in conversation with your representative about the drones problem? Most of our Wisconsin members of Congress are on Twitter -- though to date we have not found them responsive about drones.

Below is a letter we received from U.S Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin ( @tammybaldwinwi ) of Wisconsin.

July 27, 2012

Mr. David A. Soumis
3588 Carncross Dr
Mc Farland, Wisconsin 53558

Dear Mr. Soumis:

Thank you for contacting me about drone missile strikes and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is good to hear from you and I apologize for the delay in my response.

As you are aware, many al Qaeda and Taliban forces have fled across the Afghanistan border to Pakistan, including most of al Qaeda's remaining senior leadership. Others have fled to countries such as Yemen where they find safe haven to recruit, organize, plot and train terrorists. Other smaller al Qaeda "cells" exist in many countries, including Western Europe and the United States. Our military engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq must not prevent us from focusing on al Qaeda's activities in other areas of the world.

Given the scope of al Qaeda's activities, I believe our success in keeping America safe and secure against terrorist threats also depends in large part upon the success of our foreign intelligence gathering. I understand your concern about the increased use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, often referred to as "drones." Drones are armed with Hellfire missiles, capable of firing and killing identified targets, but also innocent civilians. While the missile capability of drones is concerning, drones have been particularly useful for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, keeping our troops out of harms way.

Our intelligence services have undergone much scrutiny since 9/11. They have been publicly faulted both for missing too much and for going too far. I support increased Congressional and Executive branch oversight of our foreign and domestic intelligence gathering, as well as increased supervision of drone missile strikes. We cannot allow the fundamental ideals of our democracy to be comprised for military expediency. Further, we must ensure that our intelligence gathering activities are adequately resourced, while also insisting upon greater accountability.

I believe that aggressive diplomatic efforts in the region are now more critical than ever and we must shift the priorities of our foreign relations policy from defense to diplomacy. Throughout my congressional career, I have worked with my colleagues to increase U.S. government support for initiatives that contribute to global stability through development assistance and diplomatic efforts. By reducing poverty in the region and improving peoples' health and well-being, we can move closer to securing a lasting peace. Rest assured I will keep your thoughts about drones and oversight in mind as legislation comes before me in Congress.

Again, thank you for sharing your views. Your opinion matters to me. If I can be of service to you in any other way, please do not hesitate to let me know. As a security precaution, all mail sent to Congress is first irradiated. This process causes significant delays. To ensure the fastest response, I encourage all constituents who have access to the internet to contact me through my website at


Tammy Baldwin
Member of Congress

P.S. I regularly send out email updates on federal issues and opportunities. These reports sometimes include surveys through which you can express your opinion. If you would like to receive these email updates, you may sign up by visiting my website at:

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