Press Releases

After visiting the Jordan-Syria Border, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement on the situation in Syria:
 
“It now appears that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons to kill hundreds of Syrian civilians and the world must respond. The overall stability of the Middle East region and the security of our allies – including Turkey, Jordan, and Israel – are of critical importance to the security of the United States. Preventing al Qaeda from establishing a secure base of operations in Syria is vitally important to protecting the United States from terrorist attacks.

“In response, we should expand and accelerate our support for moderate elements of the opposition forces with both military and non-military aid. I also support efforts to help our regional allies cope with the wide range of spillover effects from the Syrian civil war. To be clear, I am not calling for an open-ended commitment to remove the Assad regime, but that does not mean we cannot act in a way that is consistent with our interests and values.

“We should be under no illusion that such aid will significantly influence the outcome of the struggle against Assad. But the Free Syrian Army exists and we must be better positioned to combat extremism. They can help us in the future, but only if we help them first.

“Al Qaeda's presence in Syria is extremely disturbing - a similar presence in Yemen eventually led to attempted attacks on the United States. We must have allies in Syria who can help us prevent a similar occurrence there. Even if the Geneva 2 process succeeds, the collapse of the regime would result in a lengthy period of instability when we would need allies."

“I am still waiting to see what specifically the Administration and other involved partners have to say about a potential military strike, but I am concerned about how effective such an action could be and, above all else, I am worried that such action could drag the United States into a broader direct involvement in the conflict.

“Military action could have significant consequences and there is no guarantee that it would improve the situation or promote a positive outcome. Any potential use of military force will have long-term costs and will put our troops in harm’s way.  Simply lashing out with military force under the banner of “doing something” will not secure our interests in Syria.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement in recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act this Saturday:

“Japanese Internment during World War II is one of the darkest stains on American History. Over 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced out of their homes and communities and placed into internment camps purely based on racial prejudice.  The Civil Liberties Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan 25 years ago, paid necessary reparations to surviving Japanese and Japanese Americans who were unjustly interned during World War II. Many of the Japanese and Japanese Americans interned lost their property, jobs, and their status and reputation in society.  Although long overdue, the Civil Liberties Act acknowledged and apologized for the discriminatory internment of U.S. citizens, provided funds to educate the population in hopes to prevent such prejudice from happening again, and paid surviving Japanese and Japanese Americans for injustices and any personal or community property that was taken or destroyed during the War.  
 
“Because many Japanese  and Japanese Americans were interned in Washington State, the Japanese internment plays an important role in the history of the region. Through museums such as the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, and the many Japanese Americans closely tied to this dark period of our shared history, the people of Washington’s 9th District are both educated and active in sharing the important lessons of Japanese internment.  I am honored to join my constituents and my colleagues in celebrating the 25th Anniversary on the Civil Liberties Act being signed into law.”

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement about Russia’s anti-LGBT laws and their potential impact on the Olympics:

“Russia’s policies to arrest and intimidate LGBT people are appalling.  Recent laws have allowed the Russian government to arrest anyone who is openly gay or anyone who openly supports the equal treatment of LGBT people.  With the 2014 Winter Olympics set to take place in Sochi, Russia in the coming months, I am deeply concerned about the safety and freedom of our athletes and visitors as they attend the games.  If President Putin cannot assure that LGBT athletes and supporters will be free to express themselves without fear of being jailed, then the U.S. needs to consider the implications of participating in the games.  With that said, after speaking with constituents and leaders on this issue, I am confident that we can adequately protect our athletes, and by participating and protesting the oppressive anti-LGBT laws in the spotlight of the Olympics, we can bring greater exposure to the discrimination and persecution of LGBT people in Russia and around the world.  As this issue evolves, I will work with my colleagues to pressure Russia to ensure our athletes and visitors will be protected.”

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Congressman Smith made the following statement on the Bangladesh Government's interference in the affairs of Grameen Bank:

"By providing microfinance programs that offer small loans at extremely low interest rates, Grameen Bank has given millions of women in Bangladesh and across the globe entrepreneurial opportunities to rise out of poverty.  The bank's proven effectiveness and success should be a model for other organizations working to eliminate poverty.  Despite the fact they are a minority owner, the Government of Bangladesh has been interfering in the operations of Grameen Bank by forcing the resignation of founder and Nobel Prize winner Professor Yunus, undercutting the authority of the bank's majority owners—the women borrowers, and appointing an outside commission expected to make further changes.  These changes could thwart Grameen Bank's tremendous progress in uplifting women in Bangladesh and the good work it does around the world.  I urge my colleagues in Congress and the State Department to make clear that America supports Grameen Bank's  goals of empowering women and their desire to operate independently."

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Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement about the NSA Amendments in the Defense Appropriations bill:

“The federal government should never be allowed to access the content of phone calls or internet communications by any U.S. person unless they have a warrant, and I will do all I can to prevent that from happening.  That is why I supported Representative Nugent’s amendment which prohibits the use of funds by the NSA to target the phone calls, emails, and other communications of a U.S. person.  Under this amendment and current law, the NSA cannot see the phone calls Americans are making or track their communications without a court warrant.

“I also believe that it is critical that our intelligence community has resources that can minimize the risk of an attack on the U.S.  The Intelligence reauthorizing bill is the best place to address these issues to ensure we have both the right tools and the right protections for civil liberties. Considering this subject on an appropriations bill prevents us from considering how best to amend the law to ensure we achieve both goals.  That is why I opposed the Amash amendment.  As legislation advances, I will continue to look for ways to improve policies that strike a balance between safeguarding individual rights and liberties, and protecting our nation from threats and terrorism.”
 

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