Hillary Clinton questioned whether the U.S. should move forward with a trillion-dollar modernization of its nuclear forces and warned she would be tougher on nations that commit cyberattacks, according to leaked audio reported by The New York Times.
At a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia in February, Clinton was asked about the modernization plan and whether she would eliminate the cruise missile the Pentagon has been working on.
“I certainly would be inclined to do that,” she said, according to the Times. “The last thing we need are sophisticated cruise missiles that are nuclear-armed.”
The audio was posted by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet.
She suggested she would take action if nation-states launch cyberattacks against the U.S., the report said. At the event, she brought up the hack of the Office of Personnel Management and said the theft was a “gold mine for Chinese intelligence.”
“They are at it all the time,” she said about Chinese hackers, and then opined that the U.S. needs to respond offensively.
“They have physical assets that are also connected on the internet,” she said. “So they have to know we would retaliate. So that provides a certain level of deterrence.”
A former Defense Department official, Andrew C. Weber, confirmed to the Times that the audio was real and suggested it was part of a hack that involved the Democratic National Committee.
The Clinton campaign has not commented on the report, but In her speech to the American Legion on Aug 31, Clinton she called for a “new nuclear posture review.”
“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,” she said. “We’ll invest in the next frontier of military engagement – protecting U.S. interests in outer space and cyberspace. You’ve seen reports Russia has hacked into a lot of things. China has hacked into a lot of things. Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee, maybe even some state election systems.”
CBS News’ Hannah Fraser-Chanpong contributed to this report.