May 20th, 2009
01:12 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton says U.S. aid won't fund Pakistani nuclear expansion

Hillary Clinton told lawmakers that new U.S. aid to Pakistan won't fund nuclear development.

Hillary Clinton told lawmakers that new U.S. aid to Pakistan won't fund nuclear development.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday tried to reassure senators that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure and that U.S. aid money won't be diverted to produce even more nuclear weapons.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, raised the issue of Pakistan increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile as he chaired a hearing of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

"Are we just giving them money, which is after all fungible, and is going into not fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda, which are groups that are destabilizing that country more and more all the time, but rather is that money just going into the nuclear program?" Leahy asked.

"I think that there is no basis for believing that any of the money that we are providing will be diverted into the nuclear program," Clinton replied.

Her comments came as Pakistan's information minister denied accusations by the Institute for Science and International Security that his country was expanding its nuclear weapons program.

The non-partisan group, based in Washington, D.C., released a report earlier this week containing satellite images that the institute says shows expansion of "Pakistan's key military and civilian fuel cycle site near Dera Ghazi Khan."

Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said he could not verify any construction at the site.

Clinton told lawmakers on the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee that there had been dramatic changes in Pakistan since she testified in a hearing last month about the the inability or unwillingness of the Pakistani government to take on the Taliban.

"That has turned around," Clinton said. "What we see now is an all-out effort by the Pakistani military to take back territory that had been seized by the Taliban."

As the Taliban advanced, coming within 60 miles of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, global concerns increased that the country's nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands.

Clinton said the United States stands ready to assist Pakistan in protecting its nuclear arsenal.

"We are assured by the Pakistani military and the government that they have control over their nuclear weapons at this time and we have offered and continue to work with them in any way that they deem appropriate to help them assure the safety and security of those weapons. I do not see that as an immediate threat but it is certainly one we take very seriously," Clinton said.

She also reported that the United States was losing the propaganda war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and said the State Department was working up a new communications strategy to counter "a steady diet of the worst kind of disinformation" disseminated by extremists.

"We are being out-communicated by the Taliban and al Qaeda. That is absolutely unacceptable," Clinton said.

And turning to Iran - which successfully tested a longer-range surface-to-surface missile Wednesday - Clinton said that the United States, working alone and with Arab allies, will continue trying to persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear program.

"A nuclear-armed Iran with a deliverable weapons system is going to spark an arms race in the Middle East and the greater region that is not going to be in the interest of Iranian security," Clinton said. "And we believe we have a very strong case to make for that."

She made no reference to the latest Iranian missile launch.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Pakistan • Patrick Leahy
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. SLM

    Is our Government going to over see these funds like they did with AIG? Why are we giving them any money at all? We don't have any money to give, we are borrowing money to give to them, and we the taxpayers are paying for this. Wake up America!

    May 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Jayden,FL

    Keep up the good work Madam Secretary.

    May 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Paul from Phoenix

    And she knows and can guarantee this how?

    May 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Paul from Phoenix

    Oh, i have my answer. She "THINKS" the money being provided will not be diverted. Phew!

    May 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. troubled

    Too bad she isn't our president instead of obammy.

    May 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Greg Hill

    We are a "broke" country living with incredible deficits! How can we promise $100 Million to this country, or any other for that matter. They have no oversight-do not fund any more giveaways of our Money!

    May 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Mississippi Mike

    If you don't want them to expand their nuclear weapons then quit giving them the money to do it. It's pretty simple when you think about it.

    May 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. gabriella styler

    Gingrich also writes. "She's made America less secure by sending a signal to the men and women defending our country that they can't count on their leaders to defend them."

    Ahem ...Ah what was the name of the Republican outted an undercover CIA Agent? Rove...Channey..Bush..How soon we forget.

    May 20, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. cory rabalais

    i think that we should not fund nucliar expansion. i think we should go ahead and end this war. we are spending way to much money over there and we are in a resscion.

    May 20, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. RJN

    As naive as always.
    Remember when you also thought Bill was staying in the White House to work?? But it turned out he was working Monica.

    Same thing we can't go by her basis or feelings they are DEAD WRONG!!!!!

    May 20, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Jimmy the Greek

    Hey Obama/Hillary... NO MONEY = NO DIVERSION to nukes.

    Get it?

    May 20, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Enough

    We are truly a Naive Nation. They hate us and we give them money and we trust them to do the right thing with it. Yeah, that'll work!

    May 20, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Craig from NJ

    How does she know?

    May 20, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. JLS

    Hey Hilary, There is also NO basis for saying that it won't help fund those projects.
    For once in my life, I am actually agreeing with Patrick Leahy. What, did they tell you they won't?? LOL!!!

    May 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Madame Secretary,

    You could not even prove that you were not deeply involved in Whitewater. How are you going to prove OUR money is going to correct sources in Pakistan?

    May 20, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Old Salt

    Once again she leaves me speachless with this kind of statement.
    ha ha ha ha ha ha

    May 20, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Rick

    Secretary Clinton, Don't be naive To hand over such a big lump sum of money to Pakistan gov, they are all bunch of currept thugs. Keep in mind they are milking you, they were not with you to support and they will never be with you to support the cause you are fighting for.

    May 20, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Dallas Independent - thank goodness

    Leahy – shut up!

    May 20, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. LacrosseMom

    There are no guarantees are there? That the money wont be spent on nukes?

    Colin Powell said it best, when he was debating the Bush regime about war with Iraq: "If we break it, we own it!"

    No kidding! THINK about the TRILLIONS Bush wasted in Iraq!

    A needless war!

    May 20, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    what ever Hillary says we need to get behind her and make it happen
    its that easy

    May 20, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. ron

    This story should be banned everywhere because it's so obvious that it's a tactic by the repubkicans to try and throw attention away from Bush and Cheney's torture program but it 's so rtdicolous it only makes the republican party look that much worse. They just don't know when to stop digging.

    May 20, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Mark of Saint Louis

    It has been discovered that financial aid has gone to fund the nuclear program. Wake up, do not trust them. Unfortunately, we will still need to provide support to help defeat the Taliban.

    May 20, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. but

    think of it this way....
    what if they just ciphon off money from their budgetary allocation for economic developement to the nuclear weapon program (which they must be doing since they are broke and still developing nuclear weapons according to this report) and use the money provided by the US to fill that void in developement money. What would you call that secretary Clinton? money used for economic developement or for weapons.

    May 20, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Justin

    Our government borrows $45 on every $100 it spends. We need drastic cut on all domestic and foreign programs.

    May 20, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Rob Kole

    Sorry, we can't keep track of the TARP money we gave American business but Obama has Hillary promising what Pakistan will do with the foreign aid we send them?


    May 20, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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