Interview With Alison Kosik of CNN
Secretary of State
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton joins me now. Secretary, I want to talk about this threat that came in yesterday. CNN’s reporting that the threat information came from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas. Had the Pakistanis been helping in regards to the threat, either in terms of finding out about it or helping the U.S. track it down?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say there is a specific, credible, but unconfirmed threat report. We take it seriously, as we always do, and particularly because we learned from the raid on bin Ladin’s headquarters and going through all the material that al-Qaida was still determined to attack around anniversaries, and particularly New York and Washington. So we are obviously working with everybody to try to find as much information as possible.
QUESTION: What specifically about this threat, through? Really – you sensed it last night. Officials really took notice.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I can’t go into any of the details of the intelligence. Obviously, I and other top officials were briefed on it yesterday. But it was sufficient to have us have a public statement, obviously, to alert local and state law enforcement. You saw Mayor Bloomberg, Ray Kelly, and others out talking about additional steps to be taken here in New York. We evaluate lots of threats all the time. I mean, one of the great advances since 9/11 is the way our intelligence community is much better integrated.
QUESTION: Secretary, should people here feel safe?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I mean, look, we have lived with this. The reason I’m here on the floor today is because I was senator from New York on 9/11 and I worked with a lot of the people here to help get the city back going and rebuild. You have to go on with your life. I mean, the goal of terrorism is to terrorize. It is to sow intimidation and fear. And the reason that America and this great city have shown such resilience is because we refuse to be intimidated. But that doesn’t mean we’re stupid. We’re going to keep our eyes open. We’re going to be vigilant. Part of the reason to go public with this particular threat information was to tell people, “Go on with your lives. Keep your eyes open. And let us know if you see anything suspicious.” Remember, the Times Square bomber was stopped by a food vendor who saw something suspicious, reported it, and thank goodness.
QUESTION: All right. Switching gears, does the U.S. know where Muammar Qadhafi is right now?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, but we are closing in on his remaining forces. We have a very concerted effort going on with support for the TNC and the rebels, and it’s a matter of time. And the cities that are still held by loyalists will eventually either peacefully transition or be taken over.
QUESTION: All right. Let’s switch to politics for a moment. What’s the likelihood that you’re going to challenge President Obama in the primary? You got Dick Cheney in your court.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yeah. It’s below zero. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: What do you think about what Dick Cheney said, that you would have made a better president than President Obama?
SECRETARY CLINTON: You know what? One of the great things about being Secretary of State – and I am out of politics – I am not interested in being drawn back into it by anybody. I have a big job to do and I’m honored to do it every day representing our country.
QUESTION: Would you ever get back into, as you say, politics again, then, if you leave this position?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think so. I think I’m going to stay focused on doing what I can to make sure that we continue to lead the world. And there’s a lot of tough decisions we have to make at home in order for us to be positioned to demonstrate the kind of leadership that I think is in our best interests.
QUESTION: All right. And a final question: How important is it to come back here, as you did on September 17th and ring this opening bell? Why is it important for you to do this?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, on a personal level, it’s deeply important to me because it was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life to be a senator when we were attacked and then to devote as much time and effort as I could to working with all the people you see here to try to make sure we came back stronger than ever.
But also, it’s a good signal. I mean, it is – let’s not – let’s remember the past because we have to be smart and we have to be vigilant, but let’s look toward the future. Let’s show some confidence and some optimism. Let’s get the bells ringing. Let’s get some activity going. We’re the greatest nation in the world and we need to get up and start acting like it. And so let’s remember this moment and let’s demonstrate, once again, why our resilience and our fortitude is going to keep us moving forward on top.
QUESTION: And what do you think of the energy on the floor?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s always energetic. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: All right. Thanks very much.