UNION LEADER: Christie recalls 9/11, endorses Patriot Act at Politics & Eggs breakfast As originally appearing in The Union Leader
BY CASSIDY SWANSON
GOFFSTOWN — At a Politics & Eggs breakfast event Tuesday morning at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie took time to remind the crowd gathered that he has seen his state through some of its toughest times — qualities he believes would make him a strong candidate for President, should he choose to run.
“I could talk about taxes and the economy and entitlement reform, other issues — but all those issues were secondary on Sept. 12, 2001,” Christie told the crowd.
Christie, accompanied at the event by wife Mary Pat, spoke about his appointment by President George W. Bush to the office of United States Attorney for his state on Sept. 10, 2001.
“I took the next day off from work and contemplated what the next steps of my life would be,” he said. At the time, Christie’s wife and brother were both working in lower Manhattan. Mary Pat’s office was two blocks from the World Trade Center.
“My life and our lives did change, but not in the way that I anticipated,” Christie said. New Jersey lost the second-highest number of its citizens in the 9/11 terrorist attacks behind New York, he said.
“I think that in this country, unfortunately, over the last 13 years of relative tranquility on the homefront, that some people in America have begun to have amnesia — amnesia about how we felt that day, and the days after Sept. 11,” he said. “…Unfortunately, I fear that some of our leaders have forgotten.”
Christie criticized Congress, including members of his own party, for weakening the Patriot Act in recent weeks, calling it “a national disgrace.”
“Of all the candidates that will come to Politics & Eggs — all of them — you’re looking at the only one who has used these tools, the only one who’s had to review applications under the Patriot Act and sign off on them, the only one that’s prosecuted terrorists and sent them to prison,” Christie said. Among these was an Indian-born British citizen who had attempted to sell shoulder-fired missiles to what he believed to be a Yemeni terrorist group with plans to shoot commercial airliners at Newark International Airport.
Christie told the crowd they could be sure he would speak in defense of the Patriot Act and other tools used by U.S. intelligence at all turns.
He also slammed the New York Times for running editorials by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, whom he referred to as “a treasonous criminal who also weakened America.”
“If this were a movie, you’d shake your head that American leaders were responding to a traitor who turned tail and ran from this country, and that the only people who would accept him were the dictatorial regime in Russia,” Christie said of Snowden. “It is an astonishing time, and those of us that aspire to leadership need to speak out.”
Following the event, Christie told reporters he will make a decision about running this month.
“I’m not a wallflower,” he said, adding that he’s still busy with his “day job” governing the Garden State. “People will know what I think once I make my mind up.”