Clinton said she voted to authorize the war in Iraq because she believed Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. She also said that it was a mistake.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Were you smart about Iraq; endorsing the president’s position on Iraq? Did you believe ever that Saddam Hussein…when you had to cast that vote to authorize the war in Iraq did you ever believe that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons?
HILLARY CLINTON: I did.
MATTHEWS: Who told you?
CLINTON: Well, I know at the end of the Clinton administration there was a very strong sense that he was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program. And I like to remind people that at the end of the 90’s there was a census congress passed that my opponent Bernie Sanders voted for basically talking about regime change in Iraq because of the threat of potentially nuclear, biological…
MATTHEWS: That was NeoCon stuff.
CLINTON: Well, Bernie Sanders voted for it so…
MATTHEWS: I know but I don’t know why he did.
CLINTON: Well Chris, I’m just telling you that that was the prevailing opinion and what…look, I’ve said it was a mistake because…
MATTHEWS: I want to know about the facts because if you were told by somebody that he had nuclear weapons they weren’t telling the truth. Because Mike Morrell who’s the chief CIA briefer on the subject told me on my show that they never told anybody because he said we had no evidence that they had nuclear weapons. So who, if it wasn’t the CIA, told you they had nuclear weapons?
CLINTON: Well what was going on was a continuing intensive inspection program. Hans Blix, remember Hans Blix? Hans Blix and his team of inspectors were trying to get to the bottom of this. Now here’s what was misleading, is that Saddam Hussein could have ended it immediately. He could have said “come anywhere, look anywhere, we have nothing” but he didn’t choose to do that. And so the inspectors were racing to get to all the sights that they were worried because remember at the end of the first gulf war we did find evidence of a nuclear weapons program. Then we had a number of years where we were flying a no-fly zone over Iraq and where we saw him diverting a lot of money into not just building palaces but building, we thought, programs.