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"Do you think you'd have become Secretary of State had you not been Mrs Clinton?": Jeremy Paxman interviews Hillary Clinton

The Newsnight presenter grilled Hillary Clinton in an interview shown on last night's programme about Iraq, Russia, her husband, Scottish independence, and returning to the White House.

Jeremy Paxman interviewed Hillary Clinton for last night's Newsnight, asking the former secretary of state if she would have ever risen to the position had she not been "Mrs Clinton", once the first lady.

"Absolutely", she snapped back in a reply listing the political achievements she's had since becoming a New York senator.

Watch the full interview here:

Some other notable parts of the BBC interview include:

Intervening in Iraq:

"Not at this time no I agree with White House’s objection and reluctance to do the kind of military activities that the Maliki government is requesting, namely fighter aircraft to provide close support for army and to go after targets. That is not a role for the US. There needs to be a number of steps that Maliki and his government must take to demonstrate he is committed to an inclusive Iraq, something he has not done up to date. The army which has not been able to hold territory has to have an injection of discipline and professionalism something the US has been trying to help with and Maliki has to be willing to demonstrate unequivocally that he is a leader for all Iraqis’ not just for a Sectarian slice of the country."

But the Whitehouse is saying that No Option is ruled out? "That’s what they should say."

But you think they should rule some things out? "At this time I said, at this time, yes because the conditions precedent have not been accepted or set by Maliki and what the Whitehouse is doing is making it very clear to him that they would provide the sort of support that they think is appropriate… It would be inappropriate to send in ground forces of any kind in any foreseeable future."

Syria? "I did advocate for limited but focused action in Syria…"

And you were overruled by the president? "And I was overruled by the president, in part because of Iraq, its hard to get a little bit pregnant in these situations, but I did think there was a role. And as I say what was a wicked problem has become even wickeder."



Do you think Putin’s a dangerous man? "He can be – he can be."

Man who exploits weakness? "I think he acts out of his perceived weakness of Russia. I believe his goal is to reassert Russian power. He’d be perfectly happy if the Soviet union could be reconstituted but he’s enough of a realist to know that’s not going to happen. But he wants to control former republics in central asia. Like any person with a view that that’s what power should be used for if he sees weakness or if he sees disorder. I think he was as affected by what he perceived as disorder in Ukraine as what he saw as weakness. He acted in large measure because of what was happening in Maidan square."


Britain in Europe:

"Europe needs Britain, in my opinion. I think Britain brings a perspective and an experience that is very important to Europe especially post economic crisis. So Britain will have to decide if they agree with that."


Scottish independence:

"I would hate to have you lose Scotland… I hope it doesn’t happen but I don’t have a vote in Scotland."


Running for president:

"There are a number of factors… personally I’m about to be a grandmother… and I want to be right in the middle of it, and a presidential campaign is all over-consuming and 24/7 and I’m not ready for that. But the most important thing is not the question will you run and can you win but what’s your vision for America and can you lead it there? I have a pretty good idea that this a contact sport as they say – politics in the US at this point in our history is very rough and tumble because there are big stakes and people unfortunately sometimes engage in unsavoury negative name calling and the like and that’s part of it – I understand that and if you are not tough enough to get into that arena then truly you should not even put your toe in because truly you should not even out your toe in because it is quite a gauntlet."


I'm a mole, innit.

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The problems with ending encryption to fight terrorism

Forcing tech firms to create a "backdoor" to access messages would be a gift to cyber-hackers.

The UK has endured its worst terrorist atrocity since 7 July 2005 and the threat level has been raised to "critical" for the first time in a decade. Though election campaigning has been suspended, the debate over potential new powers has already begun.

Today's Sun reports that the Conservatives will seek to force technology companies to hand over encrypted messages to the police and security services. The new Technical Capability Notices were proposed by Amber Rudd following the Westminster terrorist attack and a month-long consultation closed last week. A Tory minister told the Sun: "We will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of threat clearly proves there is no more time to waste now. The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long."

Put that way, the plan sounds reasonable (orders would be approved by the home secretary and a senior judge). But there are irrefutable problems. Encryption means tech firms such as WhatsApp and Apple can't simply "hand over" suspect messages - they can't access them at all. The technology is designed precisely so that conversations are genuinely private (unless a suspect's device is obtained or hacked into). Were companies to create an encryption "backdoor", as the government proposes, they would also create new opportunities for criminals and cyberhackers (as in the case of the recent NHS attack).

Ian Levy, the technical director of the National Cyber Security, told the New Statesman's Will Dunn earlier this year: "Nobody in this organisation or our parent organisation will ever ask for a 'back door' in a large-scale encryption system, because it's dumb."

But there is a more profound problem: once created, a technology cannot be uninvented. Should large tech firms end encryption, terrorists will merely turn to other, lesser-known platforms. The only means of barring UK citizens from using the service would be a Chinese-style "great firewall", cutting Britain off from the rest of the internet. In 2015, before entering the cabinet, Brexit Secretary David Davis warned of ending encryption: "Such a move would have had devastating consequences for all financial transactions and online commerce, not to mention the security of all personal data. Its consequences for the City do not bear thinking about."

Labour's manifesto pledged to "provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe." But added: "We will also ensure that such powers do not weaken our individual rights or civil liberties". The Liberal Democrats have vowed to "oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption."

But with a large Conservative majority inevitable, according to polls, ministers will be confident of winning parliamentary support for the plan. Only a rebellion led by Davis-esque liberals is likely to stop them.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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