It took six television interviews but Hillary Clinton was finally asked questions that have remained absent during her book tour to promote Hard Choices.
On Tuesday, Clinton sat down with Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren and for the first time on television was asked about the IRS’ targeting of conservatives, the NSA spying on Americans, and the American Marine held captive in Mexico.
During the interview, Van Susteren asked Clinton: “Madam Secretary, you are a lawyer, President Obama is a lawyer. I'm a lawyer. And NSA spying on Americans violates the Fourth Amendment. Couldn't be plainer. If you want to spy on Americans, you get a warrant. What do you think about that?”
After some back-and-forth on the subject of the NSA, the topic turned to a U.S. Marine being held in a Mexican prison: “Sergeant Tahmooressi he’s a Marine. He is sitting in prison in Mexico since March 31st. And Mexico has not fast tracked the judicial process. He is there after making an accidental turn. What can the United States do or what should the United States be doing to help this marine get fast-tracked through the judicial system because it was an accidental turn into Mexico?”
Finally, the Fox News host asked Ms. Clinton about the controversy surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups: “President Obama has called the IRS scandal a phony scandal is. Is it a phony scandal?...But it's really hard not to say it's deliberate when you have now, we find out that there are two years of pertinent emails missing. It would be almost irrational not to be extremely suspicious.”
As of this week, Ms. Clinton has sat down for two interviews with ABC News, one with Diane Sawyer and another with Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts. In addition, the former Secretary of State was interviewed by NBC’s Cynthia McFadden and CBS’ Jane Pauley. On Tuesday, Clinton also participated in a town hall event hosted by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour.
Let’s see if future interviews with Ms. Clinton will take Fox News’ lead and ask her about these other issues or if they will remain absent from her interview with the rest of the liberal media.
See relevant transcript below.
June 17, 2014
7:08 p.m. Eastern
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Madam Secretary, you are a lawyer, President Obama is a lawyer. I'm a lawyer. And NSA spying on Americans violates the Fourth Amendment. Couldn't be plainer. If you want to spy on Americans, you get a warrant. What do you think about that?
CLINTON: Well, I think that we are finally taking stock of the laws that we passed after 9/11. I voted for some, and I voted against some. And people are saying wait a minute, we did all of this in an emergency in a hurry because we were you know understandably worried and scared, and now, we need to take a step back and figure out how we make sure that the balance between liberty and security is absolutely right for America.
VAN SUSTEREN: Different question. Different question. When you go out and you seize American's stuff, you have to have a warrant.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the NSA seizing America's stuff, no warrant. And there are two options, either amend the Constitution or you get a warrant, that wasn't done. So, what should the American people think?
CLINTON: Well, I think that the laws that were passed, again, post 9/11, gave very broad authority. And that authority was passed by the Congress. It was overseen by the FISA courts, and it was endorsed by executives in two administrations, both Bush and Obama. And I think what has happened is people have said, OK, the emergency is over, and we want to get back to regular order. We want to make sure that we're not being spied on, that our privacy is not being violated. So, we want you to keep us safe. We want you to protect us. But we don't want Americans to be in any way fearful of their own government’s actions.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think any American wants to be unsafe. And I think every American wants to give the authority of the government to seize things constitutionally.
VAN SUSTEREN: The problem is we have this funny little called the Fourth Amendment. And it's actually quite plain. And I know everyone on Capitol Hill is trying to scurry and say that we’ve have got these laws and I hear you, too. But the fact is the Fourth Amendment is plain and says you need a warrant.
CLINTON: Well, I think what you are going to find with the laws being amended and passed, one was just passed in the House. That the Congress is trying to square Americans' constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment, and the necessity for information that can be connected to terrorist activity here at home or abroad. It's a really difficult balancing act. But you are 100 percent right, that we have to make some changes in order to secure that privacy, that constitutional right to privacy that Americans are due.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Sergeant Tahmooressi he’s a Marine. He is sitting in prison in Mexico since March 31st. And Mexico has not fast tracked the judicial process. He is there after making an accidental turn. What can the United States do or what should the United States be doing to help this marine get fast-tracked through the judicial system because it was an accidental turn into Mexico?
CLINTON: We should be doing and I assume we are, you know, I'm not there, so I can't speak directly to it, but we should be doing or I can tell you what I would be doing, burning up the telephone wires, sending, you know, envoys not just our ambassador, but others coming in, talking to the highest level Mexican officials, making it clear that this is really important to us. You know, we work with our counterparts, our friends in Mexico on a lot of issues. Obviously, it's something that is in our interest to do it as it is in theirs. But when this kind of action happens and somebody who as you say made an accidental turn who is serving our country ends up in a prison, that is just unacceptable.
VAN SUSTEREN: Would you expect that if you were still Secretary of State and you made a phone call that they would get on this immediately.
CLINTON: Well, I'm not sure it would be only one phone call. We might have to make a couple of it, and call everybody that we could.
VAN SUSTEREN: But we have enough diplomatic muscle with Mexico that it doesn't need to drag on this long.
CLINTON: Well, again, I don't know the specifics, but I certainly expect that everything is being done that can be done, but maybe we need to raise the decibels a little bit more.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, was very upset that we were bugging her phone. Should would she be?
CLINTON: Yes, she should be. That was absolutely uncalled for. And I’ve said that before. There is work that we need to do with the Germans and inside Germany. I well remember that some of the 9/11 hijackers got some of the training and some of the plotting went on in Hamburg, Germany, and we weren't able to penetrate that, and neither were our allies in the German intelligence service. That has nothing to go with Angela Merkel's cell phone, and that should be off-limits.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. President Obama has called the IRS scandal a phony scandal is. Is it a phony scandal?
CLINTON: Well, I think that any time IRS is involved, for many people, it's a real scandal. And I think though that there are some challenges that rightly need to be made to what is being said and I assume that the inquiry will continue. So, I don't have the details, but I think what President Obama means there is there really wasn't a lot of, you know, evidence that this was deliberate but that's why the investigation needs to continue.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it's really hard not to say it's deliberate when you have now, we find out that there are two years of pertinent emails missing. It would be almost irrational not to be extremely suspicious. You know, I wouldn't say phony. I would say this is real to many Americans.
CLINTON: Well, I think maybe the right thing to say is let's investigate it, but do it as a nonpartisan, as fair-minded, and fair and balanced as we can.
VAN SUSTEREN: I have heard that.
CLINTON: Because we want to know what the facts are.
VAN SUSTEREN: But if you call it phony, you are trying to throw the dog off the scent.
CLINTON: Well, I think not just the president, but anybody who says that is basically saying, you know, the circus around these investigations, and you know that -- you are a long-time observer, are really kind of confusing what is happening. And it's important to get back to very professional inquiries that can't be accused of politicizing because somebody may be worried about the answer they get or they don't get, and let's try to find out, you know, what the facts are.