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. Jay

    Al Qaeda is small potatoes compared to the very real and much more costly threat of the Republican party

    February 5, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Olaf Big

    Good to see that common sense prevails! It is ridiculous to build missile defense to protect against mythical threat from Iran or North Korea. Neither will have a missile capable of reaching U.S.targets with a nuclear payload in the foreseeable future. More to the point, launching a missile attack against the U.S. would be suicidal. Contrary to the common delusion, most dictators are not raving maniacs, They are ruthlless and unscrupulous, but pragmatic people, whose main motivation is to maintain their grip on power, which would be obviously impossible after U.S. retaliation. That's by the way why Saddam really got rid of the weapons of mass destruction hoping that it will prevent U.S. from attacking Iraq and throwing him out of power.

    February 5, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Kerzell

    America's bigges threat is and has always been the GOP!!

    What's a shame is, I once voted for and believed these guys!!

    February 5, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. rrock

    The biggest threat is the collapse of our economy because of the massive amount of red ink we are spilling in part to support a trillion a year military.

    February 5, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. JonDie

    Ms. Clinton is WRONG. The biggest threats to the existence of the United States are the Tea Party-Republican Party, which in tandem are promoting anarchism, which will then result in a corporate fascist state that is not accountable to anyone coming to power. After that the United States will be just like communist China (which is really a corporate fascist state), where a mass of enslaved people are ruled by a small elite. In fact, that why "free traders" (most of whom are Republicans) have encouraged the US to indebt us to communist China while shipping all our jobs to communist China.

    February 5, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. ddey

    I'm glad you're here to tell us these things! Chewie, take the professor in the back and plug her into the hyperdrive

    February 5, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. Tom

    What brilliant analysis! Most junior high students would come to the same conclusion.

    February 5, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    The current administration

    February 5, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Mike in MN

    The posts from those representing the Donkey Party leave little to doubt as to how the party got that name.
    Apparently they think the whole opposition to Obama is lead by Beck, Hannity, Rush, Palin, Rove and Fox News. I'm sure they would all be pleased to learn that over 50% of America was listening to only them, which is the percentage of voters who disapprove of Obama and most of his major policies. I'm sure they will feel under paid if that is true. Unfortunataly for them their ratings are really no where that high.
    If the Donkey Party people could pull their eyes off of MSNBC for a while and check out the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, Denver Post, Forbes, or even the N.Y Times or Los Angles Times they would find that Fox News is not the only place where oppostion to Obama's agenda can be found.
    The truth is Obama and the Democrats are in a world of hurt and their problem is not Fox News or the Tea Parties, it is themselves.

    February 5, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Ray in Nashville

    Clark, the only reason we are mired in Iraq is that George W. Bush wished to erase the biggest blot on his daddies name, that he didn't remove Saddam from power during the first Gulf War. There is no other valid reason, unless allowing Dick Cheney's cronies to make un-godly amounts of money is considered valid. We went from fighting an organization that had attacked our country and had a small backing in the Arab world to invading a Muslim country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack, in the process opening up ourselves to much criticism from the rest of the Muslim world. In addition, we created an unbalanced situation in an area where two insane regimes kept each other occupied and minimized their effects on the rest of the region.

    There is nothing liberal or isolationist in my view, just truth.

    February 5, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. Bea


    You think that you're being funny? Your comments come off as sexist and ill informed. Both Clintons do more in one week to help others than you will probably do in your lifetime.


    February 5, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. Tim

    Example: the liberals believe we shouldn't be in Iraq and Afghanistan
    Not true. We believe we shouldn't be anywhere for any unnecessary cost (human and otherwise) for any unnecessary time period. We believe war should not be fought primarily to help the military-industrial complex become any richer than it already has. I suppose that never occurred to you.

    February 5, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. polly

    There are many threats to our country, but also consider those from our own who knowingly or not-knowingly participate or neglect to report suspicious activity which has cost us already. Perhaps if all Americans participated in defending their own territory less harm would have and could be avoided.

    February 5, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. LacrosseSon

    Wow, Hillary looks like she's aged 20 years since she ran for the democratic nomination, huh mom!

    February 5, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. annie against biased news

    The biggest threat to our national security is the so-called president, his administration and the congress.

    February 5, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. Angie in PA

    Yes Madame Secetary but there is a new Domestic threat to the U.S. Its called the TEA PARTY!!! The new domestic political terriost! these people are dangerous!!

    February 5, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. paul

    I thought the biggest threat was for Bill to pull a John Edwards on her!!!!! Oh wait you said threat to the country!

    February 5, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    @Donkey Party et al:

    The idiocy of liberal parasites like you is beyond belief! First of
    all, based on your spelling, you're probably in the fifth grade or too hopped up on crack to make any sense! Go ahead and spew your "poor pitiful me" hatred little man. People like you are so inept and confused it is quite simple to understand why you need Big Government to take care of you! Soooo pathetic!

    February 5, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. chris

    Sarah Parker: Modern day cultist.

    February 5, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  20. Orange Curtain, CA

    Yes and it is getting more and more expensive to devote so many resources to this. We should now be more concerned about the Republican Taliban and their uneducated, ignorant followers.

    February 5, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. Mike

    Biggest threat is uhbozo. Hands down.

    February 5, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  22. chris

    Palin: modern day cultist.

    February 5, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. Fitz in Texas

    Actually, the biggest threat to this country is Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of Obama's administration. God help us because we need all the help we need until these people get out of our lives.

    February 5, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Hugo

    Newsflash Hillary: The biggest threat to America is the out of control Spending and borrowing from China. I would rather fight a foreign enemy than succumb to a third world economic lifestyle for me and my family. Oh, but you elitists won't be subject to that now, will you?

    February 5, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. bamboozer

    Nothing new actually, forty years ago it was predicted the next use of nuke's would be by a terrorist group. Truth is the technology is 75 years old, it's the delivery that poses the problem. The real fear is that a bomb could be assembled from components within a city.

    February 5, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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