General John F. Kelly outlined some of his plans to run the Department of Homeland Security during his confirmation hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Kelly, who was introduced by Senator John McCain and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, diverged from President-elect Donald Trump's views on a few key issues.
While Trump has said he would bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse,“ Kelly said he would ”absolutely" follow American laws banning the torture practice. Kelly told senators:
“I don't think we should ever come close to crossing a line that is beyond what we as Americans would expect to follow in terms of interrogation techniques.”
Kelly made clear that his security priority is to stop potential enemies “well before” they reach the United States. However, the former commander of US Southern Command said a border wall won't be the only barrier needed to prevent bad foreign actors from entering the country:
“A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job. It has to be a layered defense.”
In addition, when asked about the surveillance of mosques and a Muslim database or special registration, Kelly said he didn't think it was ever appropriate to focus on religion.
If confirmed, General Kelly will be in charge of nearly 240,000 DHS employees.