Monday, February 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Civil Liberties Record

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Brandon Turbeville
February 22, 2016

By now, civil libertarians should be fully aware that, if they are looking for a candidate that reflects their values, the best rule of thumb would be to find Hillary Clinton on the map of the political spectrum and move in the opposite direction.

Perhaps the most obvious bell weather of Clinton’s respect and support for American civil liberties can be seen in her support for the PATRIOT Act.[1] Clinton wholeheartedly supported the passage of the PATRIOT Act in the dark days after 9/11, voting for the act as a member of the US Senate. Five years later, Clinton once again expressed support for the evisceration of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution by voting for the 2006 reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.[2]

In April 2014, Clinton appeared at the University of Connecticut where she suggested that Snowden was guilty of treason and possibly working with the Russians and the Chinese. Although her words were not direct, her position was clear enough. As Emma Roller wrote for the National Journal,

Speaking at the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton made a restrained but nonetheless damning attack against Edward Snowden.

At the event, an interviewer asked Clinton whether she thought the former National Security Agency contractor's disclosures about its domestic spying programs had any positive effects on American security policy or public discourse.

Without ever explicitly mentioning the NSA's spying programs, Clinton justified their utility in protecting the U.S. from another terrorist attack in the wake of 9/11.

"People were desperate to avoid another attack, and I saw enough intelligence as a senator from New York, and then certainly as secretary [of State], that this is a constant—there are people right this minute trying to figure out how to do harm to Americans and to other innocent people," Clinton said. "So it was a debate that needs to happen, so that we make sure that we're not infringing on Americans' privacy, which is a valued, cherished personal belief that we have. But we also had to figure out how to get the right amount of security."

As for Snowden's role in exposing the NSA programs, Clinton insinuated that she found his motives suspicious.

"When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistle-blowers. If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been," she said. "But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia—two countries with which we have very difficult cyberrelationships, to put it mildly."

Let's take a moment to parse Clinton's language here. She didn't call Snowden a traitor, or plainly say that him leaving the country made her suspicious. In American politics, it's never good to come right out and accuse someone of wrongdoing—you can just say you're "confused" or "puzzled" by their actions.

. . . . . .

Clinton stressed the strangeness of Snowden's decision to flee to countries that have perpetrated cyberattacks against the U.S. She noted that when State Department officials would travel to Russia or China on diplomatic business, they would leave their cell phones aboard the plane with their batteries taken out. "It's not like the only government in the world doing anything is the United States," she said.

"I think turning over a lot of that material—intentionally or unintentionally—drained, gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like. So I have a hard time thinking that somebody who is a champion of privacy and liberty has taken refuge in Russia, under Putin's authority."

With sarcasm creeping into her voice, Clinton implied that Snowden acted all too friendly toward Vladimir Putin, whose country has been harboring Snowden since last August.

"And then he calls in to a Putin talk show and says, 'President Putin, do you spy on people?' And President Putin says, 'Well, from one intelligence professional to another, of course not.' 'Oh, thank you so much!' I mean really. I don't know, I have a hard time following it."[3]

Clinton has repeatedly refused to clearly state that spying on American citizens without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment and has dodged any attempt to force her to provide a clear answer as to what her position on NSA overreach might be.

Steven Wishnia of Defending Dissent writes,

Generally, however, Clinton has responded to questions on the issue with bland statements about “a really difficult balancing act.” In February, when tech journalist Kara Swisher asked if she would “throttle back” NSA spying, she answered that “the NSA needs to be more transparent about what it’s doing” and that “people felt betrayed” by the invasion of privacy. But when pressed to give a more specific explanation of what she thought was too much spying power, she said, “I resist saying it has to be this or that.”

. . . . .

That kind of bland expression of concern masking either reluctance to challenge established power or support for destructive policies is a political hallmark of the Clintons.[4]

Clinton is most certainly not opposed to dragnet spying either on American citizens or individuals abroad as her support for the PATRIOT Act should attest to. Yet, it was revealed by Wikileaks cables released in 2010 that, in 2009, Clinton personally ordered surveillance of a number of UN officials including Ban Ki-Moon during her tenure as Secretary of State. According to the released cables, Clinton wanted everything from the official’s online passwords to their DNA. Another cable released by Wikileaks revealed that the US State Department was aware and supportive of pressuring Spain to stop an independent Spanish judge from indicting six members of the Bush administration for torturing Spanish citizens at Guantanamo Bay.[5]

After those cables were released online and made public by Wikileaks, Clinton’s State Department ordered employees not to view or read the documents despite the fact that the documents were public access, declassified, and freely available. The State Department even threatened graduate students who were possibly considering applying for a job with the department that, if they accessed the documents, it “would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information.”[6]

Even on the issue of flag burning – an issue that is clearly protected under the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression – Clinton has come down on the side of totalitarianism. Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning laws violated free speech, Clinton not only supported but introduced legislation to Congress in 2005 that would have made flag burning a federal crime.[7]

That same year, Clinton also launched an attack on video games, attempting to pass the Family Entertainment Protection Act, which would have criminalized the sale of video games rated “M” or “Mature” to minors.[8] [9]

"We need to treat violent video games the way we treat tobacco, alcohol, and pornography," Clinton said. “If you put it just really simply, these violent video games are stealing the innocence of our children -- and it is certainly making the job of being a parent even more difficult.”[10]

Also in 2005, Clinton called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” as a result of the “hot coffee mod,” a mini-game with sexually explicit content contained within the game. Clinton’s whining and grandstanding resulted in the rating being changed to “Adults only” and ultimately the game was removed from store shelves.[11]

In 2007, Clinton introduced similar legislation while gearing up her Presidential campaign. [12]

While violence in media – particularly in television, movies, and video games – is undoubtedly a sign of the degradation of American culture and plays a major role in the further degradation of the culture, cutting the throat of free speech is in no way a legitimate answer to the problem. Coming from a woman who has supported every war and exercise of killing, murder, assassination, and destruction of individuals, nations, and culture she has been faced with in her entire career, her concern over video game violence should fall on deaf ears.

Brandon Turbeville’s new book, The Difference It Makes: 36 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President is available in three different formats: Hardcopy (available here), Amazon Kindle for only .99 (available here), and a Free PDF Format (accessible free from his website,

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[1] Kristian, Bonnie. “Where Do The 2016 Candidates Stand On The Patriot Act And Mass Surveillance?” Rare. June 1, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[2] “H.R. 3199 (109th): USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005.” Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[3] Roller, Emma. “Hillary Clinton: Edward Snowden’s Leaks Helped Terrorists.” National Journal. April 25, 2014. Accessed September 7, 2015.

[4] Wishnia, Steve. “Hillary Clinton’s Weak Civil Liberties Record.” Dissent News Wire. Defending Dissent Foundation. April 12, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[5] Wishnia, Steve. “Hillary Clinton’s Weak Civil Liberties Record.” Dissent News Wire. Defending Dissent Foundation. April 12, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[6] Wishnia, Steve. “Hillary Clinton’s Weak Civil Liberties Record.” Dissent News Wire. Defending Dissent Foundation. April 12, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.


[8] “Hillary Clinton Promotes Law To Ban Violent Video Games.” CBC. December 1, 2005. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[9] Peterson, Andrea. “Hillary Clinton’s History With Video Games And The Rise Of Political Geek Cred.” Washington Post. April 21, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[10] “Hillary Clinton Promotes Law To Ban Violent Video Games.” CBC. December 1, 2005. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[11] Mulkerin, Joseph. “Five Reasons No Progressive Should Support Hillary Clinton.” Truthout. February 13, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[12] “Hillary Clinton Tells Common Sense Media She Would Support Video Game Legislation.” Game Politics. December 21, 2007. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST atUCYTV. His website is He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

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