Former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, who after having served two decades in the Congress, joined the Atlanta office of the global law firm DLA Piper LLP in January. But his concern for the economic future of the country and its security is undiminished.

During a luncheon address to the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta Feb. 24, Mr. Chambliss said that he wanted to have “a life after the Senate,” and that he wished to see his 10th grader grandson play baseball, an opportunity he was never able to take advantage of while in office.

Watching politics being played out from the sidelines has provided him with a sense of deja vu, particularly when he considers the controversy over the Homeland Security fund, which he is following closely as former chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommitee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

“In December a year ago we were in the same situation with the omnibus (appropriations) bill and Obamacare,” he recalled. Today the Homeland Security bill is tied to immigration reform much in the way that Obamacare was part of the appropriations bill.

House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama joined forces to push their respective party members to provide 219 votes–one more than was needed–to ensure passage of the bill that permitted the administration to spend money implementing Obamacare and Mr. Obama’s actions to provide amnesty to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.

Mr. Chambliss said that the discussions in the Senate’s Mansfield room were heated not just between Republicans and Democrats but among members of the same parties as well.

Acknowledging that Mr. Obama has a difficult job, he went so far to say that Mr. Boehner has an even more difficult one trying to get a spending bill passed.

Although he was critical of Mr. Obama’s handling of foreign affairs, he said that the president still had an opportunity to claim a positive legacy if he manages to push through tax reform.

As a senator, Mr. Saxby co-chaired the Gang of Six committee, composed of three Republicans and three Democrats, to identify ways of reducing the federal deficit. “We need to reduce spending, reform entitlements and provide tax reform,” he said, “(in order) to do what we need to do.”

In a question and answer period following his address, he affirmed his support for the “fair tax” movement that wants to eliminate all federal taxes and replace them with a broad-based consumption tax.

He was most critical of the administration on foreign policy, reminiscing about a visit to Brussels on NATO affairs. Even though the U.S. pays 27 percent of all NATO costs, he said that allies such as Spain, Italy and Portugal with financial problems at home questioned whether they should each continue to put in 7 percent of the costs in view of the U.S.’s ambivalence about continuing to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Are we going to be in there with them in that fight?” he said. “That’s what we heard.”

As vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Chambliss was kept closely informed about the terrorist threats facing the country. He was most dismissive of the administration in this regard, saying that “We don’t have a plan in place.”

He underscored the dangers involved by recollecting that in 2001 at the time of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York that there were less than 1,000 members of Al Qaeda.

More recently, he claimed, there were 5,000 recruits a month in June and July of last year joining terrorist groups. “The numbers are overwhelming,” he added. “They are well-funded, well-trained and committed.”

Without going into detail, he called for “boots on the ground” by U.S. allies among the Arab states while thanking those that have shown a willingness to do so.

“Others would join with the right leadership,” he said.

He was equally adamant concerning cybersecurity citing specifically the attacks on Sony Pictures and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. as indications of the scope of the threat faced.

These cases differed from usual hacking attacks, he said, because instead of withdrawing ithe computer information, they sought to destroy the information.

The attacks in these cases also most likely originated in North Korea and Iran, two enemies of the U.S. of which he is particularly opposed and even fears that they might collaborate on advancing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

He also said that he favors Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s hostility to Iran’s nuclear program and the administration’s current negotiations with the Iranians and that he looks forward to the prime minister’s speech to the Congress on March 3.

DLA Piper has 4,200 lawyers located in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

For more information about Mr. Chambliss’ move to DLA Piper, click here.

For a Global Atlanta article about former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell‘s role at DLA Piper, click here.