("Quid coniuratio est?")
BILL CLINTON ON 60 MINUTES
President Clinton was interviewed on the CBS program, 60 Minutes, on April 23, 1995. Following is my summary. My comments are indented and in brackets.
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Mr. President, you have some personal history, yourself, with right-wing, paramilitary groups. When you were Governor of Arkansas, you considered proposing a law that would have outlawed paramilitary operations. Do you still feel that way? And what, if anything, should be done? Do we have the "tools"? What should be done to counteract this threat?
Well let me say, first of all, what I have done today. I've renewed my call to Congress to pass the "anti-terrorism legislation" that's up there, that I've sent. I have determined to send some more legislation to the [Capitol] Hill that will strengthen the hand of the FBI and other law enforcement officers in cracking terrorist networks, both domestic and foreign...
[CN -- Question to Bill Clinton or to any of his army of spies that may be monitoring this: can you, through any of your channels, please clarify this statement, i.e., exactly what "domestic terrorist networks" is President Clinton referring to?]
When I was Governor of Arkansas (this was over 10 years ago now), we became sort of a "campground" for some people who had pretty extreme views [CN -- like Oliver North, for example?] One of them was a tax resister who had killed people in another state, who subsequently killed a sheriff who was a friend of mine, and who was himself killed. One was the man, Mr. Snell, who was just executed a couple of days ago (who killed a state trooper in cold blood who was a friend of mine and a servant of our state), and got the death penalty when I was Governor. One was a group of people who had, among them, women and children, but also two men wanted on murder warrants. And thank God, we were able to quarantine their compound, and that was all resolved peacefully.
But I have dealt with this extensively, and I know the potential problems that are there. I don't want to interfere with anybody's Constitutional rights. But people do not have a right to violate the law and do not have a right to encourage people to kill law enforcement officials, and do not have the right to take the position that if a law enforcement officer simply tries to see them about whether they violated a law or not, they can blow him to Kingdom Come. That is wrong.
[CN -- Certainly no one should be killing anyone in cold blood. But who, exactly, has advocated this? Clinton has set up a straw man and then knocked it down. Individuals have the God-given right to defend themselves, but Clinton has twisted this around to something else, something that no one, to my knowledge, is advocating.]
I do want to say to the American people, though, we should all be careful about the kind of language we use and the kind of incendiary talk we have. We never know who's listening, or what impact it might have. So we need to show some restraint and discipline here because of all the people in this country that might be on edge, and might be capable of doing something like this horrible thing in Oklahoma City.
[CN -- So is Clinton saying that he wants me to shut down Conspiracy Nation? It's not clear to me what he's saying. I operate under the assumption that there is still a first amendment in this country. If this is not so, then Clinton should stop beating around the bush. What do you mean, Mr. President? Your message is vague. Are you "testing the waters"?]
...We have been working hard to try to get the legal support we need to move against terrorism, to try to make sure that we can find out who's doing these kind of things before they strike. But I do think that there's some other things that we can do...
CBS News had a report late this afternoon (and I don't know whether you're familiar with it) about a man by the name of Mark Koernke, from the Michigan militia, who apparently sent a fax, a memo, to congressman Steve Stockman of Texas, who held onto it for awhile and finally sent it to the NRA. And then the NRA held it -- and it was important information, apparently! -- held it for 24 hours, before they sent it on to the FBI. Can you shed any light on that?
No, I can't shed any light on that. I don't want to do, or say, anything that would impair our investigation in this case...
The other thing I think we can do... is to ask the American people who are out there just tryin' to keep everybody torn up and upset all the time, purveying hate, and implying at least with words, that "violence is all right", to consider the implications of their words, and to call them on it. We do have free speech in this country. And we have very broad free speech and I support that. But I think free speech runs two ways. And when people are irresponsible with their liberties, they ought to be "called up short", and they ought to be talked down by other Americans. And we need to "expose" these people for what they're doing. This is wrong. This is wrong. You never know whether there's some fragile person out there who's about to "tip over the edge", thinking they can make some statement against the system. And all of a sudden, there's a bunch of innocent babies in a daycare center, dead.
But it's not just the movies showing violence. It's the words, spouting violence, giving sanction to violence, telling people how to practice violence, that are sweeping all across the country. People should examine the consequences of what they say and the kind of emotions they're trying to inflame.
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This has been, from his own mouth, on 60 Minutes, Bill Clinton, President of the United States of America.
I encourage distribution of "Conspiracy Nation."
Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"