Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update on Hillary Clinton's Travel

Precious little information leaked out today about her trip, but we do have this from P.J. Crowley at the press briefing today.

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
November 30, 2010
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. The Secretary, as you may know, has arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan and I think, as of this morning, had her town hall event with civil society representatives and also had a meet and greet with women leaders in Kazakhstan prior to starting the formal proceedings of the OSCE.

Well, st least we know she is safely wheels down. Godspeed, Mme. Secretary. (More kissy-mouth from yesterday. Nope, there was no need for the game face!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Video & Transcript: Secretary Clinton's Remarks to the Press on the Release of Confidential Documents

Remarks to the Press on the Release of Confidential Documents

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
November 29, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Do we have enough room in here? I want to take a moment to discuss the recent news reports of classified documents that were illegally provided from United States Government computers. In my conversations with counterparts from around the world over the past few days, and in my meeting earlier today with Foreign Minister Davutoglu of Turkey, I have had very productive discussions on this issue.

The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. This Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.

So let’s be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.

I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority – and we are proud of the progress that they have helped achieve – and they will remain at the center of our efforts.

I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world.

I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information. I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.

Relations between governments aren’t the only concern created by the publication of this material. U.S. diplomats meet with local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside of governments who offer their own candid insights. These conversations also depend on trust and confidence. For example, if an anti-corruption activist shares information about official misconduct, or a social worker passes along documentation of sexual violence, revealing that person’s identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, even death.

So whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.

Now, I am aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so I want to set the record straight: There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends.

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems – to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability. This is the role that America plays in the world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud.

The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans, but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government.

People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern. I know that diplomats around the world share this view – but this is not unique to diplomacy. In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. And so despite some of the rhetoric we’ve heard these past few days, confidential communications do not run counter to the public interest. They are fundamental to our ability to serve the public interest.

In America, we welcome genuine debates about pressing questions of public policy. We have elections about them. That is one of the greatest strengths of our democracy. It is part of who we are and it is a priority for this Administration. But stealing confidential documents and then releasing them without regard for the consequences does not serve the public good, and it is not the way to engage in a healthy debate.

In the past few days, I have spoken with many of my counterparts around the world, and we have all agreed that we will continue to focus on the issues and tasks at hand. In that spirit, President Obama and I remain committed to productive cooperation with our partners as we seek to build a better, more prosperous world for all.

Thank you, and I’d be glad to take a few questions.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll begin with Charlie Wolfson of CBS in his last week here covering the State Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Where are you going, Charlie?

QUESTION: I’ll (inaudible) into the sunset, but let me get to a question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, sir. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you embarrassed by these leaks personally, professionally? And what harm have the leaks done to the U.S. so far that you can determine from talking to your colleagues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, as I said in my statement, and based on the many conversations that I’ve had with my counterparts, I am confident that the partnerships and relationships that we have built in this Administration will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority, a real centerpiece of our foreign policy, and we’re proud of the progress that we have made over the last 22 months.

Every single day, U.S. Government representatives from the entire government, not just from the State Department, engage with hundreds if not thousands of government representatives and members of civil society from around the world. They carry out the goals and the interests and the values of the United States. And it is imperative that we have candid reporting from those who are in the field working with their counterparts in order to inform our decision-making back here in Washington.

I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, “Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.” (Laughter.) So I think that this is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.

MR. CROWLEY: Kim Ghattas of BBC.


QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I was wondering whether you could tell us what you think your upcoming trip is going to look like. Presumably, a lot of the people who have been mentioned in those alleged cables are going to have conversations with you. Do you think it’s going to cause you discomfort over the coming week as you engage in conversations with those leaders?

And I know you don’t want to comment on the particulars of the cables, but one issue that has been brought up into the daylight is the debate about Iran. What do you think the impact is going to be of those documents on the debate about Iran in the coming weeks and months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, you’re right. And I don’t know if you’re going on this trip or not, but we will be seeing dozens of my counterparts in Astana, and then as I go on from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and then ending up in Bahrain for the Manama dialogue. And I will continue the conversations that I have started with some in person and over the phone over the last days, and I will seek out others because I want personally to impress upon them the importance that I place on the kind of open, productive discussions that we have had to date and my intention to continue working closely with them.

Obviously, this is a matter of great concern, because we don’t want anyone in any of the countries that could be affected by these alleged leaks here to have any doubts about our intentions and our about commitments. That’s why I stressed in my remarks that policy is made in Washington. The President and I have been very clear about our goals and objectives in dealing with the full range of global challenges that we face. And we will continue to be so and we will continue to look for every opportunity to work with our friends and partners and allies around the world and to deal in a very clear-eyed way with those with whom we have differences, which of course brings me to Iran.

I think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern not only in the United States, that what comes through in every meeting that I have anywhere in the world is a concern about Iranian actions and intentions. So if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors, and a serious concern far beyond her region.

That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States went out and said, “Please do this for us.” It happened because countries, once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions, reached the same conclusion that the United States reached – that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

So if anyone reading the stories about these alleged cables thinks carefully, what they will conclude is that the concern about Iran is well founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the source of the policy that we pursue with likeminded nations to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve got to let the Secretary get to her airplane and get to her trip. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will leave you in P.J.’s very good hands. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, did you talk to anyone in Pakistan or India?


QUESTION: Thank you, Madam. (Inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: What we’ll do is we’ll take, say, a 30-minute filing break, and then we’ll reconvene in the Briefing Room and continue our discussion

Video: Secretary Clinton's Remarks With Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Before Their Meeting

Remarks With Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
November 29, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am delighted once again to welcome both a colleague and a friend here to the State Department. The foreign minister and I have worked closely together during the last, now, 22 months. And I am very pleased that he can be here once again for us to discuss a range of issues. Turkey and the United States have one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. We are very committed to continuing to strengthen and deepen that relationship. And it is always very constructive for me to meet with the foreign minister because we have so much that needs to be done that only Turkey and the United States can do together.

FOREIGN MINISTER DAVUTOGLU: Thank you very much. Again, it’s a great pleasure and honor for me to be in the State Department and having a chance to discuss a variety of agenda items with my colleague and friend, Secretary Clinton.

Turkish-American relations is a relation of (inaudible) partnership and strategic partnership; therefore there’s a huge variety of agenda items today we will be sharing, including the leak documents. And I want – I would like to express our thanks because of the briefing in advance. Our Turkish (inaudible) foreign policy, the principled (inaudible), time-tested transparent foreign policy, including our relations with the U.S. And we will follow the same principled foreign policy to achieve regional and global peace in coordination with the American Administration.

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for November 29, 2010

Public Schedule for November 29, 2010

Washington, DC
November 29, 2010

9:15 a.m.
Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries, at the Department of State.

10:30 a.m.
Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, at the Department of State.

1:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers a statement to the press, at the Department of State.

PM Secretary Clinton departs for foreign travel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bill & Hillary Clinton: # 13 on FP's Top 100 Global Thinkers List

WOO-HOO! After one of the the gloomiest Thanksgiving weekends nationally that I can remember since 1963 after JFK was assassinated and 2001 after 9/11, a bright sun rises with this list of The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. I love it! The two of them together. The power couple, together is the limelight. Just perfect!

See the whole list here>>>>

Win McNamee/Getty Images

13. Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton

for proving that you don't need to be president to act presidential.

Former president | New York

Secretary of State | Washington

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in September, Hillary Rodham Clinton sounded a confident note: "After years of war and uncertainty, people are wondering what the future holds, at home and abroad. So let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century."

Ironically, two of the people most crucial to the new global century are the Clintons themselves: the ex-president and the ex-would-be-president, the power couple now defined by their position just outside the highest reaches of power. Except that, these days, both Clintons are more influential, and more beloved, than ever. Bill's Clinton Global Initiative is starting to feel like a sexier, more effective competitor not just to Davos but to the United Nations itself, bringing world leaders together to commit their resources to fighting poverty with market-based, technocratic solutions. As of this summer, his foundation had contributed $23 million and countless man-hours to the effort to rebuild Haiti. Polls have shown he's a better advocate for Democratic candidates than the actual president, and he spent most of the fall stumping for woebegone Dems from Orlando to Seattle.

Meanwhile, Hillary showed up in one recent poll as the most popular political figure in the United States, an accolade she has earned through a no-drama approach to an array of thankless tasks: brushing off Vladimir Putin's temper tantrum to reach agreement on nuclear disarmament and Iran sanctions, promoting women's rights over the objections of entrenched traditionalists, and launching an innovative effort to bring clean cookstoves to the world's poorest. But what she has mainly stood for is American competence, with her Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review a major, if unglamorous step toward making U.S. statesmanship a more agile beast. If this is what Clinton nostalgia looks like, bring it on.

Upcoming: On Hillary Clinton's Agenda

As already mentioned in an earlier post, Secretary Clinton spent a good deal of her weekend on the phone, first with Asian allies over the situation between North and South Korea, and later with allies all over the world in connection with with anticipated, now actual, Wikileaks release of embassy cables.

Among the reports, and I can no longer locate the story, was a proposed meeting of the Secretary of State and the Japanese, South Korean, and Chinese Foreign Ministers in DC this week. If that meeting is on I see no news of it, and, according to the press release below, it would have to occur on Monday since Mme. Secretary will be traveling again on Tuesday. She is, however, scheduled for a bilateral with Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu. That, we have to guess, will probably be scheduled for Monday for the same reason.

ANKARA — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu starts a four-day visit to the United States Saturday for talks on bilateral ties and regional issues, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Davutoglu was to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, national security advisor Tom Donilon and the head of the Senate foreign relations committee, Senator John Kerry, the statement said.

Read more>>>>>

A press release this evening reports the following travel plans.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Travel to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bahrain

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
November 28, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bahrain November 30 - December 3. In Kazakhstan, she will attend the Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as head of the U.S. delegation. Prior to the Summit, she will host an event for local and international non-governmental organizations, underscoring the importance of a vibrant civil society. She will also meet with Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev and Foreign Minister Saudabayev to discuss various aspects of the U.S.-Kazakhstan strategic partnership.

In the Kyrgyz Republic, Secretary Clinton will meet with President Otunbayeva and other government officials. She will review political developments in the wake of Kyrgyzstan’s historic election, and discuss a range of issues of mutual concern.

In Uzbekistan, Secretary Clinton will meet with President Karimov to discuss a wide range of matters in our bilateral relationship and in regional affairs.

In Bahrain, Secretary Clinton will deliver the keynote address on the role of the United States in regional security at The Manama Dialogue 2010, an annual forum hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in cooperation with the Kingdom of Bahrain.

With her other hand, Mme. Secretary will be juggling the Wikileaks fallout, which, from what I have seen so far, is surprisingly bland. Angela Merkel not creative? To my knowledge, she has not claimed to be Martha Stewart. Putin an alpha dog? Yes, he has probably said that himself. Of course there is more. Much much more. The SOS will deal with it as she wings her way through this next tour.

God Bless you, Mme. Secretary. Godspeed. Have a safe trip!

Wikileaks: Internet Freedom Run Amok

Well here we are at H-Hour-minus-0ne, and I do not know if Wikileaks is still under attack, but I hope they are. Wikileaks and Al Qaeda are, to my mind, simply different aspects of terrorism. Both have charismatic, clever cult leaders, neither has a specific geographical location as a base of operation*, both attack multiple nations, yet neither is a nation or truly affiliated with one.

On CNN this morning, Mike Mullen explained why and how Wikileaks endangers individuals and groups, military and otherwise. Essentially, he said that one small item, one little factoid, as Hillary Clinton might call it, could be the missing link that connects two sets of dots and points to people or groups who are serving undercover. Given the heft of this upcoming doc-dump (purportedly seven times the size of the previous one) there is no way that Wikileaks or any government could possibly know exactly what is dangerous within the documents or to whom. If that alone is not a definition of irresponsibility and recklessness, I do not know what is. Yet Wikileaks and Julian Assange persist and in much the same way that Al Qaeda and Bin Laden paint themselves as holy warriors, entitle themselves whistleblowers, a term with a generally positive connotation.

Whistleblowers call attention to violations of law and principles. They serve people who are endangered or violated in some way. Ushahidi , of which Secretary Clinton has spoken, can be used by whistleblowers wanting to report corruption, crime, election fraud, a huge range of possible criminal and unethical behaviors. While it is possible and even probable that some of what Wikileaks has released in the past fits the description above, a good deal goes beyond whistle blowing.

In this country, we have a tradition of respecting military intel. The very first violation of that respect actually provided the name we use for traitors. When we read the history of that transaction and its consequences we learn that Major Andre's executors shed tears for him, but Benedict Arnold survived as does his name in eternal American disgrace.

There is nothing honorable or altruistic in turning over the virtual maps of the West Points of today. I will not speculate as to what this dump contains because it promises to rival The Bible in volume. If some of the material proves embarrassing to our Secretary of State and her Department, I am sure there is enough international embarrassment to go around and neutralize the remarks to some extent. But if, as Admiral Mullen states, lives are endangered, I think our government, led by the Commander in Chief, should call Wikileaks what it is, a terrorist organization holding nations hostage with purloined communications and documents. They are nothing short of that.

Finally, in light of Mme. Secretary's focus on internet freedom: Like all freedoms, freedom of communication carries with it responsibilities. I have the freedom to own a gun provided I fulfill the legal requirements in doing so. That does not imply that I may use that gun to murder.

So it is now H-Hour+seventeen minutes and counting. I hope to God they are still hacked, and I hope our government, perhaps in conjunction with international partners has done it.


*Hosting for Wikileaks is by a Sweden-based company. That is as close to a "base" as one gets. They say they have servers all over the globe in undisclosed locations. This is not dissimilar to Al Qaeda operating along the Af-Pak border with Secretary Clinton expressing certainty that someone somewhere in the Pakistani government knows the whereabouts of Bin Laden.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hillary Clinton's Kissy-Mouth: The Implications and The Slideshow

**Keatsian post alert**

Not that there are no serious stories to follow this weekend, in fact the air is thick with storm clouds that involve our Mme. Secretary one way or another, and certainly if and as events are confirmed, posts will appear on this blog. Meanwhile, the day after Black Friday seems to cry out for lighter fare.

Diane reminded me this morning that I once referred to Hillary Clinton's "kissy-mouth." This is a position her lips take when she is producing any of the back vowels (Ɔ O Ʊ U), the bilabial consonants (b p m), and the glide (w). Most speakers of Standard American English do not articulate these phonemes with quite the care Hillary Clinton is wont to take - especially when she is speaking to audiences that are not native speakers of English or to whom she wants to make her message eminently clear.

Aside from enhancing the comprehensibility of her message, the visual effect of this oral idiosyncrasy, the formation of the "kissy-mouth," (a very handy mouth to be able to make if one is attempting to speak French with any modicum of comprehensibilty) is also disarmingly attractive. Mme. Secretary does not use French, but she has mastered the kissy-mouth and would probably sound quite good in French.

From a purely Keatsian point of view, the kissy-mouth makes for pretty pictures to satisfy the guilty pleasures of Hillary-watchers no matter whether their names have a D, R, or I behind them. To a deeper extent, it is seductive and might actually be hypnotic!

My suggestion for the coming weeks: Mme. Secretary should meet face-to-face, no phone calls, with the Republicans who are showing soft on START. I have faith that the kissy-mouth can help get those 67 votes. (It's worth a try. Smart power. Those Senators have been missing their eye-candy ever since she left for DOS.)

This post is dedicated to Robyn and Diane.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hillary Calling!

The State Department, via spokesman P.J. Crowley, promised updates over the weekend as stories were expected to develop. No updates have been forthcoming from State, but foreign ministries (presumably not in national turkey comas) have provided some insights into the kind of Thanksgiving weekend our lovely and hard-working Mme. Secretary is having.

South Korea says joint military drill to send message

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's foreign ministry said on Thursday a joint military exercise with the United States due later this month will send a clear message to North Korea.

"Over telephone talks with Secretary (of State) Hillary Clinton, we agreed that through the drill, we will be able to ...send a clear message to the North in relation to the recent situation," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Read more>>>>

South Korean, US and Japanese foreign ministers to meet

The Japanese and US top diplomats agreed Thursday to set up a meeting with their South Korean counterpart to coordinate their policies towards North Korea, news reports said. Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed to arrange the meeting for December in Washington, Japan's Kyodo News reported. During their 15-minute phone conversation, Maehara and Clinton confirmed the need to enhance their cooperation in the wake of North Korea's attack on a South Korean island Tuesday, and its uranium enrichment programme, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Read more>>>>>

China holds talks with Clinton on N.Korea: foreign ministry

BEIJING (AFP) – Beijing held phone talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday on the tense situation following North Korea's deadly bombardment of a South Korean island, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Read more>>>>>

Under the surface there is an unrelated story that was probably the one Crowley was expecting to break over the weekend when he spoke to the press on Wednesday. My opinion is that these leaks are dangerous, violate national and international security, and should be stopped. Assange should be in prison for doing this. These are not old, expired communications. They are recent, sensitive, and protected. His actions are criminal. Your freedom of speech ends where it endangers the safety of others. Wikileaks is dangerous.

US rushes to contain new WikiLeaks damage

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States raced Friday to contain the fallout from the looming release of millions of sensitive diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks, warning governments around the world of embarrassing disclosures.

US diplomats headed to foreign ministries in hopes of staving off anger if the whistleblower website puts out the leaked cables, which are internal messages that lack the niceties that diplomats generally voice in public.

The documents, the third tranche since WikiLeaks published 77,000 classified US files on the Afghan conflict in July, could affect some of the most sensitive US relationships including with Russia, Israel and Turkey.

Read more >>>>>
So it appears that Mme. Secretary's holiday weekend is not free of work or concerns. She is spending portions of it on the phone, but we hope that she is making the calls from the comfort of home and otherwise enjoying some downtime with her family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Madame Secretary!

Dear Madame Secretary,

I wish you a warm, peaceful, restful, and Happy Thanksgiving with your loving family. We are lucky to have you at the helm of State, and that is something for which I am thankful every day of the year. Your hard work is much appreciated. That you go about your business with such humility and good cheer sets a wonderful example for all Americans as well as for people the world over.

Your admirers are equally grateful to your family for so generously sharing you with us and with the world. Your mother has given us an American treasure.

I say this every year, and I shall once again: I am grateful that I have the chance to be on earth at the same time as you are. The accident of birth can separate us by centuries from people in history that we might have wanted to know. That I have the chance to watch you making history in real time is a privilege. Thank you for all you do and have a wonderful holiday.



Readers might like to have a glimpse into some of Mme. Secretary's activities for the next few days. This comes, not from some social calendar, though. It is from P.J. Crowley's press briefing today.

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
November 24, 2010

MR. CROWLEY: First of all, happy Wednesday and, one day early, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Just to kind of set expectations, under current thinking, we will not brief on Friday. We will, through the next four days, keep you updated through various forums, including Twitter. We would expect the Secretary to have a series of calls in the coming days with her counterparts, expect, for the most part, with counterparts discussing the situation in North Korea. I think Mark flagged for you yesterday that we have calls pending with her counterparts from Japan and Korea. I wouldn’t rule out other discussions as well.

We’re mindful that Friday is the anniversary of the attack in Mumbai. I would expect that we’ll have a statement to put out. Maybe we’ll try to put that out sometime tomorrow so that it can be reported for Friday in India. But – not that there’s anything coming up this weekend, but we will be available to you during the weekend as we anticipate an emerging story, shall we say.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Public Schedule for November 24, 2010

Public Schedule for November 24, 2010

Washington, DC
November 24, 2010


Secretary Clinton has no public appointments.

Good for her! I hope this really means that she has managed to go home and get some rest and recreation. Happy Thanksgiving, Mme. Secretary. I am thankful that we have you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hillary Clinton Pic of the Day

Literally only one and falls under the rubric of "something is better than nothing." I could not find any more. This was at the White House photo stream. It was the meeting this afternoon of the National Security team. We can only see the back of her head, but I am looking forward to seeing, at some point in the future, better shots of this jacket. It is a royal blue tweed (she had on a green tweed in Lisbon last weekend). Looks like she is going for some interesting tweeds in jewel colors. I like!

Here is a cropped version.


Public Schedule November 23, 2010

Washington, DC
November 23, 2010


12:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, at the White House.

4:45 p.m.
Secretary Clinton attends a meeting at the White House.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Secretary Clinton's Interview With David Gregory of NBC Meet the Press

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Interview With David Gregory of NBC Meet the Press

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Lisbon, Portugal
November 21, 2010

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, welcome back to the program.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, David.

QUESTION: I want to talk about this showdown between the President and Senate Republicans over the START Treaty. The President, in his comments to reporters, made it very clear he thinks politics is being played here, saying to reporters, “Nobody’s going to score any political points to 2012.”

Is that the President’s belief here about what’s standing in the way? And in your view, is this really a litmus test of whether there can be bipartisanship in Washington after the election?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the President believes strongly, and I agree with him, that this treaty is in the national security interests of the United States. And it’s not only Americans who believe that. I’m very impressed by the number of leaders at the NATO-Lisbon summit who voluntarily told their own press or American press – they were chasing down reporters to say this is so much in the interests of Europe and others.

So the President sees this very clearly, but I don’t think he considers this a political issue. It’s a question of whether we have the time and whether we can make the case, in the limited time that the lame duck provides, to satisfy the concerns of two-thirds of the Senate. I think we can. I think that everyone has operated in good faith. We have looked hard at this. When it came out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it came out with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, 14-4.

I think that the questions are being – that are being asked by Republicans deserve thoughtful answers, and everyone in the Administration stands ready, from Bob Gates to Jim Clapper, the head of – the Director of National Intelligence, because we all see it in the same way. And we’re in the tradition of both Republican and Democratic presidents, going back to Ronald Reagan, who famously said, “Trust, but verify.”

We have no verification without a treaty about what’s going on in Russia’s nuclear program. So I think whether you’re already convinced or can be convinced, I think we want to get our inspectors back on the ground, and the only way to do that is by ratifying this treaty.

QUESTION: Is there an issue, though, of America prestige? The President was dealt a setback on fair trade when he was in Seoul. There was a feeling when it comes to whether it’s trade or economic policy, that America can’t always get what it wants. Is this going to potentially be a problem with the President not being able to get what he wants on the world stage because of Republicans?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I think that the President didn’t agree to a trade deal in Seoul because he didn’t feel like it was enough in America’s interests. That’s what a president is supposed to do. Obviously, he’s still working to get one finalized that is. And in respect to START, which concerns not just trade but life or death, because we’re talking about thousands of nuclear warheads that are still pointed at the United States.

The President believes that it does go beyond politics. You can argue about a trade deal, but what the tradition has been in the Senate going back to the 1980s with President Reagan, is that once people have had a chance to carefully consider these arms control treaties, they have been passed overwhelmingly. We’ve seen it with the Reagan and the Bush Administrations, the Clinton Administration. Now, of course, we are in the Obama Administration. And in this one area, this goes beyond politics. This should be nonpartisan, not just bipartisan.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, let me get to a few other areas, including the war in Afghanistan. Listening to the President, listening and following the events that have happened at the NATO summit, I wonder whether the Washington clock for the war has change, that Americans should expect that by next July there’s a token number of U.S. forces that are withdrawn, and that really the war doesn’t end for America until 2014.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, David, I think that we’ve been very clear about this, that the transition to Afghan security lead begins next year in 2011. It is conditions-based. So where it can happen, at what pace it can happen, how many troops can be substituted for, that is what General Petraeus and the military leaders are going to be working on to recommend to the President and the leaders of other countries.

QUESTION: Well, let me get it on a key point, that is it possible then, even in 2014 when you envision and you hope that a transition is complete, might the United States have a long-term presence there, say, in the form of permanent air bases to maintain a presence in the country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re intent upon reaching the goal of transition to Afghan security in 2014. But both the United States and NATO ISAF partners have said that, of course, we’d be willing to continue to help train and equip the Afghan military, what we do with countries around the world. There could be other missions that other countries would take on in terms of civilian aid and supporting the government. So the security lead, the fight, if you will, does transition to the Afghans. Support for that fight will continue to be provided by not just the United States but others.

QUESTION: What about permanent bases?

SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s been no decision whatsoever about any of that.

QUESTION: But is that possible? Is that something that the U.S. is considering?

SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s no consideration. It’s just not on the table at this point.

QUESTION: Let me ask you about – as Secretary of State, you don’t have to deal with airport security, but so many Americans do, especially coming up in this Thanksgiving week.


QUESTION: There’s obviously a security threat out there, a terror threat, which is why you have this advanced technology and why you have these rather invasive pat-downs that we’re seeing throughout airports around the country. Is this excessive, or is this the right response to the kind of threat environment that Americans face?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the people responsible for our security, such as Secretary Napolitano, obviously believe that this is necessary, and I’m not going to comment or certainly second-guess their considered opinions. At the same time, I think everyone, including our security experts, are looking for ways to diminish the impact on the traveling public. I mean, obviously, the vast, vast majority of people getting on these planes are law-abiding citizens who are just trying to get from one place to another. But let’s not kid ourselves: The terrorists are adaptable; they start doing whatever they can to try to cause harm; and when you have people who are willing to die in order to kill Americans and others, you’ve got folks putting explosives in their underwear. Who would have thought that?

So striking the right balance is what this is about, and I am absolutely confident that our security experts are going to keep trying to get it better and less intrusive and more precise. But at the same time, we want people to travel safely.

QUESTION: And to follow up on terrorism, the Ahmed Ghailani case that was concluded this week with a conviction has raised new questions about whether it’s wise to put these terror suspects in civilian courts. As Secretary of State, why is it important to the rest of the world that these hardened terror suspects go in U.S. civilian courts to be tried?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s important, first and foremost, to Americans, which is my highest priority. What is best for the United States and for our own citizens? The civilian courts, known as Article III courts under the Constitution, have a good track record of convicting terrorists. And in fact, if you look at the comparison between terrorists who are now serving time in our maximum security prisons compared to what military commissions have been able to do, there’s no comparison. We get convictions, we send people away in our civilian courts at a much more regularized and predictable way than yet we’ve been able to figure out how in the military commissions.

Secondly, I think there’s a misconception in our own country about what’s admissible in terms of evidence in a civilian court versus a military commission. They don’t have the same rules, but the rules are close enough in terms of what can or can’t be admitted into evidence. So there’s a very strong argument that what the judge in the Ghailani case said could not be admitted would not have been admissible in a military commission.

QUESTION: Well, right. And that is a very narrow issue. But the real issue is there’s a lot of uncertainty in the criminal justice system, as you well know as a lawyer, in a civilian case. But my question is: Are we committed with these terror suspects that if they are acquitted in civilian courts they should be released?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, no, and don’t forget we’re not going --

QUESTION: Well, then why hold up the American system as the right route if you’re not going to release them? That’s what the American system says you have to do.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But, David, first of all, our system is the best system in the world. We all know that. It is good enough and strong enough to either convict and sentence the guilty, or even execute where appropriate, and where you can’t convince an American jury, which is certainly obsessed with terrorism, maybe there’s a question about the strength of the case.

And I think what we are trying to do is get the best result consistent with our laws and constitution. And under our laws, military commissions are legal for certain cases, but it should be the primary decision to use our civilian courts whenever and wherever possible. So I think that this has become a kind of strange argument. On the one hand, people say we want to convict these people. The civilian courts have a better record of actually convicting and imprisoning than we do yet have in the military commission. But we also don’t want to have security problems or publicity problems for particularly dangerous leading terrorists, so we should look at the military commission. So I think that this is a difficult issue, but I really hope that everyone can look at it carefully and consider all of the facts concerning this.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, before I let you go, I have to ask you this just as a political observer. What do you make of what happened on election day? And all this talk about Sarah Palin – when I interviewed you a while back, you said you’d be willing to sit down and have coffee with her. She may be someone who is in a position to try to equal what you accomplished in the political arena. What advice might you give her and what do you make of what’s happened politically?

SECRETARY CLINTON: You know, David, the best thing about being of Secretary of State is representing the United States around the world, but the second best thing is I’m out of politics. So with all due respect, I am not going to comment on the political scene right now other than to say that I’m focused on making the case to 67-plus senators in the Senate to pass the START treaty because that, to me, is the most important task facing the Senate and it goes way beyond politics.

QUESTION: And here I thought I’d lulled you into a moment of candor. (Laughter.) Secretary Clinton, thank you very much, as always.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, David.

Secretary Clinton's Interview With Bob Schieffer of CBS Face the Nation

If/when the video is available, I will post it here. Transcript, as released by DOS. Short excerpts.

This one is too cute.

Interview With Bob Schieffer of CBS Face the Nation

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Lisbon, Portugal
November 21, 2010

QUESTION: And the Secretary of State is speaking to us from Lisbon, Portugal. Madam Secretary, thank you.

You and the President met with President Karzai of Afghanistan while you were there. Is he still wanting to reduce the American presence in Afghanistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bob, first, I think that what happened in Lisbon by the NATO ISAF alliance was extremely important. It was basically a resounding vote of confidence in President Obama's strategy, which, by all accounts, is making progress.

As part of that strategy, we are trying to balance two imperatives: on the one hand, going after, killing, and capturing the Taliban; on the other hand, maintaining the support of the Afghan people. And I think what President Karzai has raised with me and others is that we constantly have to be asking ourselves, "Are we getting that balance right?"

He is fully in support of the strategy. He is fully in support of the fact that it is making progress. But he is very sensitive, as you would expect the president of any country to be, as to whether or not, when we engage in night raids or other offensive actions, we are actually getting the bad guys, and not conducting actions that result in a lot of civilian casualties.

And so, General Petraeus understands that, and they are working closely together to make sure that they stay in sync.

QUESTION: Well, that doesn't sound exactly like what he told the Washington Post just a week ago, when he said U.S. forces were becoming too intrusive in Afghan life, he wanted to stop the nighttime raids, which is kind of the heart of General Petraeus's strategy. Are you telling me he has changed on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. What he has said to me and to others is if you have a night raid that kills a Taliban leader, he is all for it. If you have a night raid that kills five or six innocent civilians and maybe some really low-ranking 19-year-old kid who joined the Taliban, he is asking us to evaluate whether or not that is an appropriate balance.

So I think sometimes the very legitimate questions he is raising get blown out of proportion. And I think what we do, in talking with him -- and I do it on a regular basis -- is to make sure we listen well, and we understand exactly what the root of his concerns are. So we just -- I met with him twice, and President Obama met with him, and we have had very in-depth conversations about the way forward. And what I described to you as the example that he gave is exactly what I think he means.

QUESTION: Well, let me ask you. What do you say to the parents of an American 19-year-old, the parents who have lost a 19-year-old in Afghanistan, when they hear that the President of Afghanistan says we're being intrusive there? What do you say to those people?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we say it -- and the President, of course, signs a letter to everyone -- every family that loses someone in Afghanistan -- we say, "We are making progress in the ground." That is indisputable. It's not only something we believe; the Afghans believe it, and all of our NATO ISAF allies believe it.

Number two, because this is a war against an enemy that doesn't fight fairly, that is picking off civilians, using IEDs going after our troops, we have to be always as clear as we can that we are going after the real enemy, and not just making an offensive move that doesn't have a positive military reason behind it.

But that 19-year-old who is out on an outpost in Afghanistan is standing up for American national security interests. And maybe there is always a question when you are trying to win the hearts and minds of a population while killing an enemy that lives and hides amidst that population, how best to do it. But I think our young men and women on the ground understand that better than perhaps those who are far from the fight. So this is something we always are asking ourselves, "How can we do it better? How do we protect our people? How do we protect the innocent Afghans? And how do we keep doing what we are doing successfully," which is degrading and reversing the momentum of the Taliban?

QUESTION: All right. Well, let's talk about this START Treaty. You know, Madam Secretary, on the President's recent trip to Asia, he was totally blind-sided when he thought he was going to get a trade agreement in South Korea and the thing fell apart. Now he is saying that getting this START Treaty ratified by the Senate is -- he is putting the highest priority on getting that done in this lame duck session in the Congress.

How -- isn't he risking another serious embarrassment? Because, frankly, he doesn't have the votes to get it ratified in the Senate right now. Why has he said this is the highest priority right now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bob, first, I don't think those are two analogous situations. I mean the President didn't finalize a deal in Korea because he was not satisfied that the deal was in the best interests of America. And that's what a President is supposed to do. And so he did the right thing. Obviously, he is continuing to negotiate to get a deal that is in the interests of the United States.

With respect to START, there is no doubt that the START Treaty is in the interest of the United States. Don't just take it from me or from the President. Look at what Europeans, people like Angela Merkel or the foreign minister of Poland or the presidents of any of the Baltic countries or so many others are saying. They live next door to Russia. They know that this is in their interests. And they also know that, because we have no treaty, there is no inspection going on, there is no verification going on --

QUESTION: But, Madam Secretary, he doesn't have the votes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but it's always difficult to get these treaties through. It always takes a lot of presidential effort. And we are making the case that, number one, this is in America's national interests. Our friends and allies around the world support it. We need to get inspectors back on the ground. Remember what Ronald Reagan said when he was passing an arms control treaty with Russia? "Trust, but verify." Right now we cannot verify. And this is the kind of important national security agreement that the Senate needs to be encouraged to stop and really study and focus on.

And, to be fair, Bob, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted it out on a big bipartisan vote. It couldn't get the attention it needed before the election. The President is saying, "This needs to be dealt with in the lame duck session." Senator Lugar, who knows more about arms control treaties than anybody else, I would argue, in our country probably at this point has said very passionately, "This must be done for the United States."

QUESTION: But do you think you can get the votes? I guess that's the question I have.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but that's what politics is about. And I have to say I am proud of the President for making this a priority, because he is putting it above politics, which is exactly where it needs to be. He believes so strongly that this is an important treaty to get done this year, that he is putting his enormous office efforts behind it. And, obviously, we are all doing everything we can.

Now, at the end of the day, the senators have to decide. But I would hope that this treaty would be treated as others -- whether it was a Democratic or a Republican president -- saw their treaties in arms control with the Russians treated, and that is this is beyond politics. Let's pass it by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

QUESTION: All right, but let me ask you quickly about this terror trials. We saw one of these people from Guantanamo. He almost walked out of a courtroom here, someone who was charged with blowing up our embassies in Kenya and another place in Africa. And he was acquitted of 284 criminal counts, convicted on only one. Now, mind you, I know he is going to pay some prison time.

Is it time, Madam Secretary, to start rethinking whether we ought to put these people in these civilian court rooms, and think about putting them before a military tribunal?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bob, I don't believe so, and here is why. The terrorists who are serving time in our maximum security prisons are there because of civilian courts, what are called Article III courts. Our Article III courts have a much better record of trying and convicting terrorists than military commissions do. And, in fact, this defendant, having been convicted, will be spending somewhere between 20 years and life.

And some of the evidence that was presented could not be used. But the rules of the military commission -- which, remember, operates under military law -- similarly would be disqualifying certain evidence. I believe that the vast majority of the defendants can be tried in Article III courts. But there are some who should not be. And they should be reserved for military commissions, for a variety of reasons. But I think that --

QUESTION: What about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Do you think he ought to be tried in a civilian court?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that that is a case that is a very difficult one, because of all of the security issues and the other problems. There will be a recommendation made by the attorney general. But if you look at the case that was finished last week, a lot of the counts were related to evidence that, because it was connected in some way to the use of inappropriate interrogation methods, could not be used. And, as experts in military law have pointed out, that would also be a problem in a military commission.

So, I have no difficulty with people looking at this, expressing their concerns, expressing their opinions. But I would like to see us get a common basis of understanding of the facts as to what can and already has happened -- and you can go and look at the roster of maximum security prisons in this country and see a lot of people who are there because of terrorism, compared to what hasn't yet been proven to be possible within the military commission.

QUESTION: Let me ask you one final question. There is a big uproar in this country now about these new pat-downs that are going on as people try to get on airplanes. Now, do you think that this is necessary in the war against terrorism, or should we take another look at this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bob, I think that we have to be constantly asking ourselves, "How do we calculate the risk?" And sometimes we don't calculate it correctly; we either overstate it or understate it. Clearly, as Secretary Napolitano has said, we are doing this because the terrorists keep getting more creative about what they do to hide explosives, and crazy things like underwear. So, clearly, there is a need.

Now, if there is a way to limit the number of people who are going to be put through surveillance, that is something that I am sure can be considered. But everybody is trying to do the right thing.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And I understand how difficult it is, and how offensive it must be for the people who are going through it.

QUESTION: Final question. My time is up. But would you submit to one of these pat-downs?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not if I could avoid it, no. I mean, who would?

QUESTION: All right. Thank you very much.

Secretary Clinton's Interview With Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday

My quick take: It was clear that Chris Wallace was not a veteran of interviewing Hillary Clinton since he wasted air time on that 2012 question. Everyone else knows better than to use that question. I expected this to be a tougher interview, but his inexperience with this formidable figure was obvious.

Disclaimer: The transcript was released by DOS, not by Fox News.

Interview With Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Lisbon, Portugal
November 21, 2010

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Chris. Good to talk to you.

QUESTION: NATO has now agreed to a goal of 2014 for turning over security responsibility to the Afghans. Does that mean that the U.S. will have combat troops there for the next four years and possibly beyond?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Chris, I think what happened today was a real vote of confidence in the strategy that is being pursued by the NATO ISAF coalition. We are following the lead of President Karzai and the Afghans, who have set 2014 as the year during which security will be transitioned to the Afghans. There was discussion today and an agreement by the NATO and ISAF partners that there will be a continuing effort to train and equip and support the Afghans. But the point of the declaration by the NATO ISAF partners is that the transition to lead Afghan security will occur during 2014.

QUESTION: But that means U.S. combat troops will be there for four more years and, as I understand it, possibly beyond.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know quite what you mean by that because, for example, if you are going to continue in a supportive role, whether it’s American troops or one of our other contributing nations, you’re not there for the primary duty of security or combat, you’re there to support the Afghans. But does that mean you’re going to defend yourself? Does that mean you’ll come to the aid of one of your Afghan colleagues in trouble? Of course. But that is not the primary goal. The goal is to transition the security to an Afghan lead.

And what we heard at the ISAF meeting was the contributions from contributing nations to increase the number of trainers and mentors so that we could accelerate the training of the Afghan security forces. So all around, this was a great vote of confidence in President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan.

QUESTION: You met with Afghan President Karzai the other day. Last week, he said that the U.S. must reduce its military operations, especially its night raids, which are the very tactics that seem to be working. I know you met with him, as I say, a couple of days ago. Did you get him onboard the new aggressive U.S. battle plan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Chris, I think I just want to somewhat take issue with your characterization – a new aggressive American battle plan. I think what you will hear from General Petraeus, President Obama, President Karzai, and all of us is that we now have all of the components of the strategy that President Obama directed a year ago. And we believe it’s working, and not only do we in the American Government believe it’s working; what was particularly reassuring is that the expressions of support that came from the NATO ISAF partner countries also recognized that we are making progress on the ground.

Now, when you are engaged in both trying to kill and capture the enemy and get support from the local population, you have to be always asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing keeping that balance?” General Petraeus understands that probably better than anyone. In my conversation with President Karzai, in the meeting that I just came from that President Obama had with President Karzai, we were very clear in saying we have to continue to do what is working, but we cannot do it to the extent that it turns people against the very strategy that’s working.

QUESTION: And did President --

SECRETARY CLINTON: This is a constant evaluation, and I think it shows the level of real dialogue that’s going on between us.

QUESTION: And did President Karzai agree to that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. He is expressing legitimate concerns that come to him from the Afghan people. I mean, if you have a night raid and you take out a Taliban leader, he’s all for that. If you have a night raid and four or five other people who have nothing to do with the Taliban are collateral damage, that’s a problem. Everybody understands that. So what we’re trying to do, and I think we are succeeding through a lot of hard work by our military and civilian leadership on the ground, is to constantly try to get that balance right.

QUESTION: The Obama Administration is pushing for a vote this year on the New START Treaty agreement with the Russians, but the lead Republican John Kyl says that there’s not enough time in this session, this lame duck session before the end of the year. And the fact is you only have one of the nine Republican votes you need. Aren’t you taking a big chance pushing for a vote this year and running the risk of suffering a major, embarrassing defeat on the world stage?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Chris, I have a great deal of respect for all of my colleagues, Democratic and Republican, in the Senate. And I think that everyone is trying to figure out how to do the right thing on this important treaty. I would just make three quick points.

One, this is in the national security interest of the United States. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, what I was heartened by and even a little surprised by at the NATO meeting was the number of people, like Chancellor Merkel of Germany, like foreign ministers and prime ministers and presidents from the Baltic countries, from Central and Eastern Europe, like the editorial that was written by the foreign minister of Poland – people who are on the ground in Europe, nearby Russia, many of whom were part of the former Soviet Union, who are saying: Please ratify this treaty now, United States Senate.

Now, why are they saying that? Not because they have a dog in the hunt between Republicans and Democrats in our country. It’s because they know that this would be an important treaty for the continuing cooperation between Russia and the United States.

Secondly, we do not have any inspectors verifying what Russia is doing with their nuclear stockpile or anything else that is going on in their sites. We’ve lost that capacity. If you talk to any of our intelligence experts, like General Jim Clapper, the new director of the National Intelligence Agency, they will tell you we cannot go much longer without that capacity restored.

And finally, this is in the tradition of not just bipartisan but nonpartisan action on behalf of arms control treaties, going back to President Reagan, who famously said, “Trust, but verify.” Well, right now, we have no verification. So what we are arguing is that we’ll find the time in the lame duck. I understand the legitimate concern that there might not be enough time to debate, to make sure that everybody is well-informed. But as Senator Lugar, who is one of the leading experts in the world on the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, on the necessity of having more insight into what Russia is doing, he said we cannot wait. I agree with him.

And so we’re continuing to work with all of our Democratic and Republican senators to try to get to a point where we can hold that vote this year.

QUESTION: We got a verdict this week in the big – let me start again. We got a verdict this week in the first big civilian file of a terror detainee who had been held in a CIA secret prison and then transferred to Guantanamo, Ahmed Ghailani, who was convicted on one count but acquitted on 284 other counts, all the other counts. This was supposed to be the easiest trial to conduct.

So I guess the question is, do you have any choice now expect to hold all of these terror detainees at Gitmo and either give them military trials or just hold them indefinitely?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Chris, I think that the verdict needs to be put into a larger context. The sentence for what he was convicted of is 20 years to life. Now, that is a significant sentence.

Secondly, some of the challenges in the courtroom would be the very same challenges before a military commission about whether or not certain evidence could be used.

Thirdly, we do believe that what are called Article III trials, in other words, in our civilian courts, are appropriate for the vast majority of detainees. There are some for whom it is not appropriate. You will get no argument from this Administration on that point.

But when you look at the success record in civilian courts of convicting, sentencing, detaining in maximum security prisons by the civilian courts, it surpasses what yet has been accomplished in the military commissions. So I’m well aware, as a former senator from New York on 9/11, how important it is to get this right. I want to see these guys behind prison or executed, whatever is appropriate in the individual cases.

Now, we are moving to try to do that in the way that maximizes the outcome that is in the best interest of the security of the American people. So I don’t think you can, as a rule, say oh, no more civilian trials or no more military commissions. President Obama’s theory of this is that most should be in Article III courts, some should be confined to military commissions. But as things stand right now, we have actually gotten more convictions, and more people, more terrorists, are serving time in prison right now, because of Article III courts than military commissions.

QUESTION: Secretary, one final question. You made some news recently in Australia when you ruled out running again for office in 2012 and 2016. (Laughter.) Why?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I love what I’m doing. I can’t tell you what it’s like, Chris, to every day get to represent the United States. And it’s why I feel so strongly about every issue from START to Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Are you categorically saying that you are done with political office, elective office?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have said it over and over again and I’m happy to say it on your show as well: I am committed to doing what I can to advance the security, the interests, and the values of the United States of America. I believe that what I’m doing right now is in furtherance of that, and I’m very proud and grateful to be doing it.

QUESTION: So you’re done with elective office?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I am. I am very happy doing what I’m doing, and I am not in any way interested in or pursuing anything in elective office.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, we want to thank you so much. Thank you for talking with us, and safe travels home.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks a lot, Chris. Good to talk to you.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heads Up for a Hillary Kind of Sunday **Reminder**

Hillary Clinton is on a mission, or two, or four. On her agenda, of course, is quick Senate ratification of START. She is also in the process of unveiling her QDDR, and then there is Afghanistan and the international support she is always trying to secure there. Not to be forgotten, the plight of women and girls. Seems she will be at no loss whatsoever for topics to discuss on Sunday Morning TV!

Sunday guest list: Rep. John Mica on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’; Hillary Clinton visits three shows

Sunday morning: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday.”

Read more>>>>

Hillary Clinton at NATO Lisbon: Saturday Wrap and Slideshow

I had hoped that in the course of the day I could embed some of these images in remarks from her bilaterals. Since remarks have not been posted, I will go ahead and share the pictures at least. We see her with Spain's new Minister of Foreign Affairs Trinidad Jimenez (replacing Angel Moratinos) as well as with the new French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie (replacing Bernard Kouchner). Compared to last December's NATO Summit in Brussels, we see differences.

Last year, resplendent in red, she was the center of attention and flirty in the male milieu. This year, donning a flattering navy outfit, she appears as a more experienced senior member of the club. Her photos with Jimenez and Alliot-Marie reveal the face of a sort of "big sister" welcoming them and ready to share and support. As the face of European diplomacy changes, so changes "smart power" ... now the power of sisterhood!

She is not the only girl in the class anymore, and her flirting-foil, David, has been replaced by the Bill who shares not only two names with her Bill, but also, evidently, a rather grown-up friendship with both Clintons. No, NATO is not the same as last year, and neither is Mme. Secretary. As always, she changes, develops, gains experience, transforms, and fascinates!