Hillary Clinton’s campaign is downplaying hacked audio in which she expressed doubt about whether the United States should go ahead with a $1 trillion plan to modernize its nuclear forces.
The audio — obtained by the Free Beacon, which said it came from a hacked campaign staff member — was later reported by The New York Times. The remarks were made at a fundraiser in February.
“The last thing we need,” she told the audience, “are sophisticated cruise missiles that are nuclear-armed.”
The remarks put her at odds with the Obama administration, which has requested large increases in nuclear weapons programs at the Defense and Energy Departments, according to the Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan group that monitors arms control policies. Three independent estimates put the expected total cost of modernizing the U.S. nuclear forces over the next 30 years at as much as $1 trillion, the association said.
Aides are pointing to recent comments where Clinton has publicly said that she is for re-evaluating nuclear modernization and say that Clinton is in favor of conducting a review of the nation’s nuclear forces to determine the best way forward.
“We’ll make a renewed push to reduce the world’s nuclear weapons, because that does make us all safe,” Clinton said to the American Legion in August. “One of the first things I will do as president is to call for a new nuclear posture review. We have to make sure that America’s arsenal is prepared to meet future threats.”
Clinton also said in January that she may oppose a plan by the Obama administration to update the country’s nuclear forces.
After a rally in Iowa, a journalist asked Clinton, “Do you oppose plans to spend a trillion dollars on an entire new generation of nuclear weapons systems that will enrich the military contractors and set off a new global arms race?”
Clinton responded, “Yeah I’ve heard about that. I’m going to look into that. That doesn’t make sense to me.”