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Homeland security
Candidates have proposed different ways to conduct the war on terror, especially in the areas of gathering intelligence to prevent domestic attacks and how to keep terrorists from entering the country. Read the stances of the presidential candidates below. The views of the vice presidential candidates are shown where available.
REPUBLICANS
John McCain
Would revitalize U.S. public diplomacy and work to recreate an independent agency with the sole purpose of getting America's message to the world. Would set up a new civil-military agency patterned after the Office of Strategic Services in World War II. McCain said: "The State Department and other agencies need to enhance their ability to send more experts to rebuild war-torn lands -- or, better still, bolster peaceful development to reduce the chances of war breaking out in the first place." Would create an Army Adviser Corps with 20,000 soldiers who would work with friendly militaries abroad. Would increase the number of personnel in information operations, Special Forces, civil affairs, military policing, military intelligence and other disciplines. Would increase numbers in Army and Marines and spend more on defense budget.

On the Patriot Act:
Voted for the Patriot Act in 2001 and for its reauthorization in 2006.

On the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA:
Did not attend the July 2008 vote to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. Supports FISA and immunity for the telecommunications corporations. Voted for the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 in February 2008.

On Guantanamo Bay:
Would close the controversial prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds hundreds of suspected terrorists and other detainees. Voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which authorized trial by military commissions for detainees at the prison. Opposes the Supreme Court decision granting foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay a right to challenge their detention in civilian courts.  Watch McCain speak about homeland security
DEMOCRATS
Barack Obama
Will implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems. Develop a meaningful critical infrastructure protection plan. Will secure chemical plants and ensure safe, secure disposal of nuclear waste. Will improve U.S. intelligence system by creating a senior position to coordinate domestic intelligence gathering, establish a grant program to support thousands more state and local level intelligence analysts and increase U.S. capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government.

On the Patriot Act:
Voted to reauthorize Patriot Act in 2006, but would revise it.

On the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA:
Voted for legislation overhauling the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, in July 2008. The bill, formally known as the FISA Amendments Act, effectively shields telephone companies from lawsuits for participating in a government eavesdropping program. "I made a judgment that at this point it was important for us to go ahead and get that program in place," Obama said about his vote. "It represents an assessment of a compromise that was the best that could be done right now, and whether it was more important for us to have that program in place." Previously opposed the bill and opposed giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications firms. Did not attend the February 2008 vote on the FISA Amendments Act of 2007.

On Guantanamo Bay:
Would close the controversial prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds hundreds of suspected terrorists and other detainees. Voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which authorized trial by military commissions for detainees at the prison. Supports the Supreme Court decision granting foreign terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay a right to challenge their detention in civilian courts.
 Watch Obama speak about homeland security
Joe Biden
Advocates closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Supported the Supreme Court decision that concluded that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have the right to contest their detention. Regarding the domestic surveillance program, Biden wrote, "the president needs to stop this unconstitutional and, I believe, illegal expansion of executive power. No president is limitless in his power. No president is above the Constitution." Voted for the USA Patriot Act.
Obama and McCain: Key Senate Votes from 2005 through 2008

Wiretapping

July 9, 2008 -- The U.S. Senate passes -- by a vote of 69-28 -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008. The bill includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.

McCain: Did not vote
Obama: Yea

Confirmation of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General

November 8, 2007 -- The U.S. Senate confirms -- by a vote of 53-40 -- Michael Mukasey as U.S. attorney general.

McCain: Did not vote
Obama: Did not vote

Habeas Corpus for Detainees

September 19, 2007 -- The U.S. Senate refuses -- by a vote of 56-43 -- to limit debate on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 that would restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States. The Writ of Habeas Corpus allows people to challenge the grounds of their imprisonment in a court of law.

McCain: Nay
Obama: Yea

Foreign Surveillance Policy

August 3, 2007 -- The U.S. Senate passes -- by a vote of 60-28 -- a bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for obtaining foreign intelligence information. It also allows for the surveillance of communications of suspected terrorists without a court warrant.

McCain: Did not vote
Obama: Nay

Military Tribunals

September 28, 2006 -- The U.S. Senate passes -- by a vote of 65-34 -- the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which establishes rules for the treatment and trial of accused terrorists.

McCain: Yea
Obama: Nay

U.S. Patriot Act

March 2, 2006 -- The U.S. Senate votes 89-10 to reauthorize expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act. The controversial act, passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, enhanced the power of law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism at home and abroad.

McCain: Yea
Obama: Yea

Reauthorization of Expiring provisions of U.S. Patriot Act

December 16, 2005 -- The U.S. Senate rejects -- by a vote of 52-47 -- a motion to limit debate on a bill to extend and modify 16 expiring provisions of the 2001 anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act.

McCain: Yea
Obama: Nay

(Sources: CQ Weekly; U.S. Senate Legislation Database)
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The issues that make up American politics have many voices. Here are a few governmental organizations, interest groups and companies from across the political spectrum that are actors in the security debate. * CNN does not endorse external sites.
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