January 4th, 2010
06:20 PM ET
5 years ago

Clinton says Yemen instability a threat to global security

Secretary Clinton held a press conference at the State Department Monday in Washington.
Secretary Clinton held a press conference at the State Department Monday in Washington.

Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday called the situation in Yemen a possible threat to regional and global security.

"We see global implications from the war in Yemen and the ongoing efforts by al Qaeda in Yemen to use it as a base for terrorist attacks far beyond the region," Clinton said after a meeting with the prime minister of Qatar.

Clinton's comments came as the U.S. Embassy in Yemen remained closed a second day due to what Clinton called "ongoing threats by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

The threats "certainly pre-date this holiday season, and they are aimed at American interests in Yemen," Clinton said, adding a decision on reopening the embassy will be made "when the security conditions permit."

Great Britain also closed its embassy in Yemen, while France, Spain, Japan and Germany made changes to enhance embassy security.

Senior administration officials told CNN on Monday that the U.S. Embassy was closed after a "specific and credible" threat.

One official said the government had information that eight al Qaeda operatives in Yemen were planning an attack on the embassy. Three were killed and a fourth, wearing a suicide vest, was wounded in a recent air strike by Yemeni authorities, but the other four were believed to still be at large, prompting the embassy's closing, the official said.

Clinton commended Yemen for taking action against al Qaeda networks and added: "We are reiterating our commitment to assist in those efforts."

Last year, Yemen received U.S. development and security assistance totaling $40.3 million. For the current fiscal year, the appropriation for total direct assistance to Yemen is $52.5 million.

In addition, Yemen could receive additional U.S. funding dedicated to counterterrorism efforts.

On another issue, Clinton said Monday that the State Department "fully complied" with existing requirements for screening potential terror threats in the failed Christmas Day bomb attempt on a U.S. airliner.

The suspect, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, had a multiple-entry U.S. visa. His father, a leading banker in Nigeria, warned U.S. authorities before the attack that his son might be involved with Islamic extremists, but the information failed to prompt a response such as canceling the visa.

Clinton acknowledged her team was examining whether its procedures should change as part of a government-wide review ordered by President Barack Obama.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • State Department • Terrorism
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Yemen "a threat to global security?" Oh, come on! The place has barely the population of Texas and barely the economy of Vermont–what possible realistic threat could the country be?

    And here I thought the neo-cons were the party of the paranoiac foreign policy...

    January 4, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. Jim

    Revoke all Visas for Nationals from Yemen. Security would be greatly enhanced with that alone. Airlines should isolate extremist countries by pulling service.

    January 4, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. valwayne

    If Yemen is such a threat why did we give the Underwear bomber who trained there to blow up that flight his Miranda rights and an attorney so he could clam up tight. Shouldn't a terrorist who is a part of a vast Islamic conspiracy currently in a full scale war with the USA, trying to kill every living American, be treated as an enemy combatant and interrogated for any information that might save more American lives? Has Obama and his entire administration lost their collective minds?

    January 4, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  4. joe kiloz

    oh,,,,,,,,,,,,my,,,,,,,,,god,,,,,,,,,what,,,,,,,,,,a,,,,,,,,,,,revelation

    January 4, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  5. obama the liar

    at least she is smarter than the clueless-in-chief

    January 4, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  6. jr

    are we gonna go to war with everybody?

    January 4, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. jane

    Sec. Clinton is probably the wisest and most intellectual person in this administration, and we should listen to what she says.

    January 4, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. Skeptical Hippo

    If its all that you say, then why are send Gitmo detainees to add to the "firestorm" called Yemen?

    January 4, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. ILoveCNN

    The Obama administration keeps Mrs. Clinton under a pretty tight lid on high-profile issues, and only lets her talk after the fact. That's the one thing Mrs. Clinton is exceptionally good at – talk after the fact.

    January 4, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  10. Fire Napolitano

    Please. Soon.

    January 4, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  11. MatthewDetroit

    Wow Hillary...maybe your president should not be sending prisoners and dissidents there..

    Maybe keeping gitmo open, prosecuting these zealots in military courts, and profiling hostile muslims, are all pretty good ideas...

    This White House has made the hole world a more dangerous place.
    This White House placates the arab countries.
    This White House is a bunch of naive children when dealing with international matters.
    This White House beats down the CIA and FBI.
    This is a bad White House.

    January 4, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  12. not alone

    no more wars please we can't afford the two we already have going.

    January 4, 2010 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. jules sand-perkins

    Reconsidering the Secretary of State's concerns from President Obama's point of view, one might conclude that the cited events in Yemen merely represent an extremely rare series of isolated events by mentally unstable individuals acting alone.
    Perhaps the President has chosen the right course in focusing on health-care reform and other "right-thinking" domestic social programs that show concern for all the people in the country, not just tax breaks for the rich.
    Surely the Secretary of State's thinking on the daily activity in Yemen must be in error.
    We should extend a hand of friendship to our Yemeni brothers and sisters, without discrimination, so that they can respond.

    January 4, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
1 2