February 5th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton names biggest threats to U.S.

(CNN) - The biggest threats to America's national security come not from Iran or North Korea, but from trans-national non-state actors, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN's Candy Crowley in an exclusive interview to air Sunday.

"Most of us believe the greater threats are the trans-national non-state networks, primarily the extremists – the fundamentalist Islamic extremists who are connected to al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula," Clinton said. "Or al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

"They continue to try to increase the sophistication of their capacity," the nation's top diplomat added. "The attacks that they're going to make and the…biggest nightmare that any of us have is that one of these terrorist member organizations within this syndicate of terror will get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction."

In the wide-ranging interview that will air on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," Clinton also said Iran's latest behavior is a clear indication the country has nuclear ambitions.

"It's like an old saying that if you see a turtle on a fence post in the middle of the woods, he didn't get there by accident, right? Somebody's put him there. And so you draw conclusions from what you see Iran doing," she said.

Clinton specifically pointed to Iran's rejection late last month of a proposal by the International Atomic Energy Agency calling for the country give up a significant portion of its low-enriched uranium in exchange for fuel for Tehran's research reactor. Iran has maintained its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

The full interview will air Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Did Obama make the list Hillary?

    February 5, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    I agree – and partly what makes these trans-national non-state networks groups so hard to combat is they are funded from a variety of sources and/or countries.

    These groups recruit from those who feel disenfranchised and isolate. One of the best ways to combat this is by providing education and infrastructure, creating real opportunities for people to better their lives.

    Personally, I think the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries need to do a lot more in this regard.

    February 5, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Ryan

    The biggest threat to the U.S. is the Republican Party honestly.... they abuse the power of a filibuster on every issue while the people in their home states and districts suffer from unemployment and sky rocketing insurance costs and limited government assistance.

    It's not a coincidence that the hardest hit states... are the red states.

    February 5, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Mrs. S Callahan

    Pray God gets His hands on them before they attempt that.......well said SOS Clinton!

    February 5, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Duck Fallas

    I believe the greatest threat to the US is the republican party.

    February 5, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. notfooledbydistractions

    The number one threat? The republican party.

    February 5, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Wisconsonite

    "Did Obama make the list Hillary?"

    Shut up, Matt. You're an a$$.

    February 5, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    How about we add #4: The GOP. When W seized office he and his power-hungry moronic cronies ushered in an era that wound up weakening our economy to a very dangerous point.

    Talk about a threat to national security.

    And, how about #5: The GOP, AKA "The Party of No."

    Thanks, George, Dick, John et. al. We couldn't have done it without you!

    February 5, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Duck Fallas

    Tancredo sounds like Hitler.

    February 5, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I have to agree, the biggest threat is the republican Taliban. They are hell bent on destroying America.

    February 5, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. sensible Cape coral FL

    Hey Matt

    Ever try getting a life?

    February 5, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I forgot to include the anti American foreign billionaire who runs Fox who also wants the country destroyed.

    February 5, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Why are there ANY threats?
    Since Obama has arrived doesn't the World just love us.
    Or was that the Obama cartoon version of the world?

    February 5, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Did Cheney see his shadow on ground hog day and predict 6 more years of terror, and run back to his bunker, because he was afraid?

    February 5, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Dizizcamron


    Just say terrorists for god's sake. Semantics count for essentially nothing, and while I generally support this administration, their inexplicable reluctance to describe some things in simple terms is really annoying, and gives peopel easy room to criticise.

    February 5, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Gary

    The 3 Big Threats:

    1. AL Queada and other Muslim extremist organizations ( I agree Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen are hot beds now but there are others too including Somolia, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Iraq etc).

    2. Our own crazy deficit spending (both parties are doing this!)

    3. The unwillingness of half of America to work! (people want to work less hours or not at all. They want to live until age 90 but retire at 65. They don't want to do difficult jobs, they don't take pride in their work, they want their unions to fight for higher pay than their work is worth at the market. Every little injury triggers a desire to get "disability" so that they don't have to work. Every accident is someone else's fault and a lawsuit could give them cash so they don't have to work. We'll never be successful as a country unless everyone works and everyone pays some taxes!!!)

    February 5, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Rob

    Let's not forget the fact that China owns most of our debt. Our relationship with them is rocky at best, but symbiatic nonetheless. We need them to finance our debt and they need us to buy their goods. I'm just saying, what if they decide to recall our loans? We need to gain control of and own our debts. It'll hurt, but I see no other way out. And China continues to hack our military computers and spy on us.

    Oh, and if it were up to me, Israel would be on their own. No more support for them. They aren't interested in peace anymore than the Palestinians.

    February 5, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Pelosi is a see-you-en-tea

    Was this list created so that lawyers know where to start "ambulance chasing" for potential custormers (cause the current administration beleives that terrorists have rights too!)?

    February 5, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. John

    The Hitler references are my favorite. It demonstrates how little real world context people apply to their arguments.

    Remember when we could agree that enemies of the state were to be rallied around. Now you get people here to spit vitriol against the President instead. But that is the priority according to Fox/Conservative talking points.

    February 5, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Pelosi is a see-you-en-tea

    You beat me to the best comment of the day, Matt :^ )

    February 5, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Duck Fallas

    I said TANCREDO sounds like Hitler... it's OK if "we" do it.

    Palin is a moron.

    February 5, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Mark

    The number 1 threat to America....

    The progressives in the white house

    February 5, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Dennis

    The #1 threat is the Obama Administration. There will be nothing left by the time he leaves office 1-20-13.

    February 5, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Sam


    Transnational non-state actors aren't just terrorists. They're smugglers, pirates and weapons dealers too. She knows what she's talking about.

    February 5, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |

    Matt –

    Clearly you should be on the list!! No worries ...I'll speak to Hillary on your behalf.

    Agreed! The repugs should be on the list too.

    February 5, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5