Fox News Channel "On the Record" - Transcript
Fox News Channel "On The Record" Interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Interviewer: Greta Van Susteren
Subject: Mexico Border Violence; Korean Nuclear Threat
Copyright ©2009 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500, 1000 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC 20005 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service at www.fednews.com, please email Carina Nyberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-202-216-2706.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: The viciousness here is not just a Mexican problem. We're getting hit with it. Mexican drug cartel violence is getting exported to the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent the past two days here in Mexico meeting with citizens and government officials, working on how to stop this dangerous drug problem from crossing our border. Moments ago, Secretary Clinton went "On the Record."
(Begin videotaped interview.)
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: Madame Secretary, nice to see you.
SEC. CLINTON: Great to see you, Greta.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: Now, I understand why everything is going on in Mexico, especially with this drug war, is so important to the people of Mexico and to the 60 million people you were talking about in the borders of the United States and Mexico. But how do you tell the people, for instance in your home state of Illinois or mine, Wisconsin, that this really matters, that this is the border? Why should it matter to them?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, for three reasons. I mean, first of all, these drug gangs have penetrated into America. You know, just a few weeks ago, hundreds of associates of these Mexican drug cartels were picked up from Atlanta to Seattle. They were everywhere in America. These are vicious criminals who know that they can make billions of dollars getting American young people primarily addicted to illegal drugs. And so Wisconsin, Illinois, no place is immune from their ruthless effort to try to dominate the drug trade.
Secondly, you know, if we have an unstable, insecure border between the United States and Mexico, we have a lot of resources that will be necessarily shifted down. Because you're right, we have 60 million people who live in states along these borders, and we're starting to see kidnappings go up in Phoenix, we're starting to see, you know, murders across the border in towns in Texas. So we've got to recognize that unless it's stable and peaceful, we're going to spend money, we're going to spend money with more personnel, more technology along our border.
And finally, the more unstable and insecure Mexico is, the more people will leave. And they'll come to every place in America. And what we want to do is try to help the Mexicans defeat these drug cartels, help them stabilize their security so that they can work with us on, you know, increasing development and economic growth right in Mexico so people will actually be able to, you know, avoid migrating. They'll be able to stay right in Mexico and develop themselves.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it almost seems, and we've only been here a short time, a little bit hopeless when you look at their police force and they tell us, the police chiefs, that they have corruption. And when I talk about corruption, they've got, you know, police officers on the payroll of these cartels. If a police officer makes an arrest, who is not on the take, a week later, the police officer gets executed on the street. We talked to one police chief who had a 30-year-old SWAT team member, a woman, who made an arrest, and a week later she had 100 bullets into her body, all around her face, dead. I mean, it's so lawless.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, it is. But you know, we've lived through lawless periods in our own country. I remember, you know, going back years when there would be, you know, mafia family feuds that would result in innocent people being killed as they fought it out. I remember very well the efforts we undertook in the '90s to control and decrease crime in our big cities. So you have to have good policing. And earlier today, I was at a state-of-the-art base where the federal police force is getting trained so that they can come in and basically both support and supplant local police forces that are not able to do the job. The military is being very active. They're moving into cities. They're taking them over by force and driving out the drug dealers and the kingpins. So you know, corruption in police is a global phenomenon. It's something, you know, every nation unfortunately is familiar with. But you've got to get it down, you've got to fight back on it.
So I think that under President Calderon they have begun to reform their police systems, their judicial systems. They've put the military in the lead on this fight. So they're doing what we as Americans have learned in both police work and counterinsurgency work as what you've got to do in order to be effective.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: When you were in the United States the other day, you said something about the co-responsibility. It's rubbed some people the wrong way as though that's a blame. I take it, having known you for years, that what you're sort of doing when you talk about the drugs are here in Mexico, the market is in the United States with the money and then the guns come back across the border, that it wasn't necessarily a blame but rather to sort of identify the different parameters so we know how to deal with the problem. Is that --
SEC. CLINTON: That's exactly right. I mean, I think it would inaccurate to absolve ourselves of responsibility or to absolve the Mexicans of responsibility. This is a shared responsibility. We share the border. And as you rightly said, the demand for illegal drugs is what keeps these guys in business. And it's, you know, a multi-billion-dollar, 25-plus-billion-dollar industry. The guns that are sold in the United States, which are illegal in Mexico, get smuggled and shipped across our border and arm these terrible drug- dealing criminals so that they can outgun these poor police officers along the border and elsewhere in Mexico. So we've got to help out here. We can't stand by and say, well, you know, you guys just do the best you can when we unfortunately are the market for drugs, when a lot of the money is laundered in the United States back into the hands of the drug kingpins and when the weapons have come from our country. So I think recognizing the co-responsibility is just stating the obvious.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the issue with the weapons, some people have thought, you know, is that sort of a hidden agenda, sort of like on gun control. I'll tell you one thing. We looked into it. We talked to some ATF sources, and they are hardly, you know, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. And they desperately need more funding. They have some presence here in Mexico under the agreement. And every time that there is a bust here of huge weapons, they track down where these weapons are from. They go in there with the cooperation of Mexico. And the ATF has told us these weapons, these automatic weapons that go right through these police officers here, are coming from the United States.
SEC. CLINTON: There's no doubt about it. And you know, Greta, I remember 15 years ago the reason the assault weapons ban was passed is because police chiefs in America begged for it. They said, I'm sending my guys out onto the street, they're being outgunned. The criminals, the gang members, they have automatic weapons, military assault rifles. Get them off the streets, give our guys a fighting chance.
And there's no doubt in my mind that the 10 years we had an assault weapons ban in America was one of the tools that helped to drive down the crime rate. And we've been really fortunate. We changed our policing techniques which we're sharing with the Mexicans. We've put in more technology which we're advising the Mexicans about. But getting those assault weapons off the streets was really helpful. We also began to better arm our own police. But if Americans will just think back, those of us old enough to remember what it was like 15, 20 years ago when our own police were facing those assault weapons, and now unfortunately the Mexican police are. So we have to take our share of the responsibility because they're bought by straw purchasers, they are smuggled across the border, and then they are used to, as you point out, you know, kill a brave policewoman who was doing her job.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: And it's the ATF here who told us, we need help. You know, it's not the Mexicans, it was our people here in Mexico that told us.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, and the ATF guys are doing everything they can do, but we want to give them some more authority.
You know, they need some help tracking down the illegal guns and where they came from. And we've got to give them, you know, more authority. You know, if you're the strongest pro-gun person in America, you have to stop and ask yourself, okay, we want those guns in our country, but another country just across our border has different laws. So why should we be the source of their problems? If we want to have them in our country, fine, that's for us to decide. But the Mexican police and people have decided they don't want them in their country, and we're facilitating by our inability to stop the illegal sale and smuggling of these guns.
(Pause videotaped interview.)
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: Nations are on edge. The communist country of North Korea is preparing to launch a rocket. Now, North Korea claims it is preparing to launch a satellite into orbit next month for peaceful purposes. But the United States and other nations believe the launch will be used to test technology for a long-range missile. We continue now with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
(Resume videotaped interview.)
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: Back home, headlines now about North Korea, and so I'm going to try to pry some answers out of you on North Korea. What are we going to do about North Korea?
SEC. CLINTON: Well, you and I were just talking before the cameras started rolling because you're one of the few people I know that have actually been there and who understand that it is, you know, it's a different environment. You've got to figure out how to convince them to act in what we consider to be, you know, the interests of the people of North Korea but also the interests of the rest of the world. I have been very clear, President Obama has been very clear, we would like to get back to the kind of talks that led to the initial steps in their denuclearization. The six-party framework, that involves all the neighbors, each of whom have a stake in what happens in North Korea. We have offered that. I sent word that we would like to have our special envoy for North Korean policy go to Pyongyang. They didn't want him to come. So we're working hard. And if they're watching you, I'm sure that since you were there, you made a big impression, went to a karaoke bar in Pyongyang, they probably still remember you. If they're watching, if anybody from North Korea is watching this program with you, Greta --
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: (Laughs.) I do a mean Elvis karaoke.
SEC. CLINTON: I bet! You know, we'd love for them to begin to talk about what we can do together to fulfill the framework of the six-party talks.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: But we've drawn a line in the sand saying, if you launch that missile, there will be consequences. But I'm not sure what consequences because they don't have anything at this point. It's already been cut off. They're already hermetically sealed from the world. I mean, what kind of consequences short of military consequences?
SEC. CLINTON: No, I don't -- I mean, we're certainly not talking about that. What we are saying is that we believe that a launch would violate the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718. That would, you know, in our view, trigger certain actions by the United Nations. They have sought help for fuel and food. It would be difficult to provide those necessities. So you know, we don't want to get there. The problem with their missile launch is that these provisions of 1718 don't distinguish between a missile with a satellite and a missile with a warhead. We think it covers any kind of missile launch. And we would hope that the North Koreans would take a deep breath here and, you know, begin to reconnect and start working with us.
MS. VAN SUSTEREN: It's nice to see, Madame Secretary. Thank you very much.
SEC. CLINTON: Glad to see you, Greta.
(End videotaped interview.)