From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
Hillary Clinton, buffeted by tough questions for two days about the U.S. influence on Pakistan's military, said today she finds it hard to believe that no one in Pakistan's government knows where al Qaeda is -- and couldn't get them if they wanted to. She added that al Qaeda has had a safe haven in Pakistan for seven years.
The Secretary of State's very undiplomatic response came in a meeting with newspaper editors.
This exchange is not on camera:
Asked why other countries can't be involved in fighting terrorism -- not just Pakistan -- Clinton said: "Al-Qaeda has had safe haven in Pakistan since 2002. I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to. Maybe that's the case; maybe they're not gettable. I don't know.''
But, she said, al Qaeda has launched attacks on Indonesia, Philippines and many other countries.
"So the world has an interest in seeing the capture and killing of the people who are the masterminds of this terrorist syndicate," Clinton said. "As far as we know, they are in Pakistan. I am more than willing to hear every complaint about the United States'' and "both answer, but also to change where we can, so we that we do have better communication and we have better understanding.
"But this is a two-way street. If we are going to have a mature partnership, where we work together," then "there are issues that not just the United States, but others have with your government and with your military security establishment. I don't believe in dancing around difficult issues, because I don't think that benefits anybody.
"I ask in the pursuit of mutual respect that you take seriously our concerns.''
*** UPDATE *** The State Department just announced that Clinton will be heading to Israel this weekend. Here's the release:
STATEMENT BY P.J. Crowley
Secretary Clinton's Travel to the Middle East
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell will hold bilateral meetings this weekend with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas, in the region.
Senator Mitchell traveled to and is currently in the region in advance of Secretary Clinton, who already is traveling through the region. These meetings will build on the intensive work the Administration has engaged in with both sides since the trilateral meeting last month.
As President Obama has said, the Administration is committed to comprehensive peace, including a two-state solution. As Secretary Clinton reported to the President last week, challenges remain as we continue to work with both sides. Her visit reflects the Administration's commitment -- and her personal commitment -- to work through the challenges we face in pursuit of comprehensive Middle East peace.