This is a question about the authenticity of a recording and of its associated reporting.

This source (New York Observer in 2016) reported Hillary Clinton as saying on September 5, 2006, to Eli Chomsky of Jewish Press:

I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.

That statement is said to have been recorded on an analog cassette player and not released or used by the journalist for 10 years. A ("cleaned up") version of the recording is available at youtube.

There are some circumstances that make me hesitate about the authenticity of the reporting and the extent of its bias.

  • The info was held back by the journalist for 10 years - he says.
  • The info was weaponized in the 2016 presidential campaign (between Clinton and Trump).
  • The info was eventually published by a newspaper owned by Trump's family.
  • Context from 2006 appears lost and "context" from 2016 added. It's unclear what she was responding to.
  • I can't find any version of the full 45-minute tape online that would be digitized but untruncated and undoctored. I don't know whether the tape was ever released in full and what the context of the quote was.
  • I can't readily find any evidence of Clinton commenting on her quoted statement after it was released in 2016. She surely would have been confronted at the time?

Is the quote authentic? What was the context (on the tape)?

  • 2
    "did something to determine who was going to win" could have been any number of things. See what the other Clinton did in relation to elections in Serbia. skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/53150/…
    – Fizz
    Oct 13 at 14:29
  • 1
    And Bush "did something" but it was a bit belated and played into the hands of Hamas theguardian.com/world/2008/mar/04/usa.israelandthepalestinians
    – Fizz
    Oct 13 at 14:36
  • I don't see anything about rigging an election – only about knowing who was likely to win (intel). But the quote is difficult to parse: Clinton first says is was a mistake to push for an election, and then what if they had pushed. It doesn't make sense to me. Oct 13 at 16:06
  • 1
    Several comments are right in bringing up a considerable semantic tension between the body and the title of my question and providing some interesting references (thanks). That title is also intentionally vague regarding who would be the party not doing whatever. I chose that title as a simplification of the question body in the spirit of the tone of the NYO article - while adding a question mark. Oct 13 at 19:00
  • 1
    ... or how (US Congress praised) elections work in Jordan brookings.edu/articles/…
    – Fizz
    Oct 23 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


Not a full verification of the quote, but:

  • Another recording of this is played on this segment of The Real News Network, a non-profit, online, Baltimore-based news/commentary outlet. The TRNN anchor says the segment was spoken in a conversation with editorial board of The Jewish Press.
  • The Jewish Press website does have that story with a much longer Q&A exchange, so they stand by it. OTOH, the story says it's been "restored from archive" and it says that the text is "highlights" from the discussion, not the absolute full thing.

You could contact the site about this and report back...

  • 1
    The Jewish Press website answers all parts of my question. The journalist's question was about Hezbollah. The Clinton quote was truncated by NYO mid sentence, omitting the focus of the sentence. TRNN uses the same truncation; now that I'm aware, I am even able to hear that the final full stop character given in the circulated transcriptions is actually a "comma" in the circulated recordings. I recognize that I can't get the absolute analog full thing and all circulating audio versions appear to have been intentionally truncated for effect. Other than that, the quote is authentic. Oct 14 at 20:35

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