Flashback September 2001: Hillary Refuses to Rule Out Profiling as Security Measure

In an that aired on the Sept. 16, 2001 broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” just days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), now a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, was asked by the then-show host Sam Donaldson about how thing changed after those terrorist attacks.

Clinton argued that there was now a need for tighter security, which includes doing “whatever it takes.”  She went to refuse to rule out “profiling” when asked by Donaldson in a follow-up question.

Partial transcript as follows:

DONALDSON: It’s terrible. Let’s talk about American life now, though. What happens in the future from the standpoint of the question of security vs. relaxation, or giving up some of the freedoms we’ve enjoyed in this–in this country? How far do we go, for instance, on air–airline security?

CLINTON: Well, I think everyone recognizes we have to tighten security. We have to do whatever it takes to keep our people safe. That’s…

DONALDSON: Including profiling, Senator?

CLINTON: Well, I think we have to do whatever it takes, Sam, and I believe that, you know, Tuesday changed everything. Tuesday was a day that America has never, ever had to experience. And I hope to heaven that we never have to again. But we are in a war situation and we’re going to have to do things that people do in times of war. I just heard your interview with the mayor and I think he’s right to look at examples in history like the Battle of Britain. Many of us have been studying what others did to carry on. And we know that we have to make tradeoffs in convenience, in our freedom of movement, without undercutting or losing our way of life and our values, which are really what make–make America special and great. And we can’t ever let anyone undermine that.

DONALDSON: Do we get on airplanes now, and if there are people of Middle East origin–American citizens, for all we know–on that airplane, do we have a problem?

CLINTON: You know, Sam, yesterday at the Armory when I was talking with the relief workers and the families of missing people, I saw every kind of American. You know, one family came up, you know, holding the pictures of having lost both a son and a daughter-in-law. They were Muslim-Americans. Other families were telling me the story of, you know, their daughter who had just gotten married and would never, they thought, be with them again. Every shade of skin color, every kind of background. This was a blow at New York and at America and all we are, and we–we cannot…

DONALDSON: That–that’s why I ask you, Senator about profiling…

CLINTON: Well, we–we can’t–well…

DONALDSON: …because you say it take–do everything it takes.

CLINTON: That’s right.

DONALDSON: Does it take profiling?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I think that’s going to be up to the law enforcement experts. And I think we have to be cautious, we have to be careful. But let’s not go overboard and start, you know, pointing fingers at Arab-Americans, at Muslim-Americans who are just as devoted Americans as you or I are. We have to find the terrorists, no matter where they are, here at home or abroad, and we have to strike at their sources of funding and support. But we have to do so with the full knowledge that we cannot let anyone anywhere change the character of America. So, yes, we’re going to take every precaution, every security measure that is required. But we’re not going to let anyone undermine our way of life. And we’re certainly not going to let law-abiding, decent, patriotic Americans, no matter what their religion or their background, be in some way pointed out or harassed.

(h/t Weekly Standard)

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