Fact Check: Posts Claim Hillary Clinton Said 'We Created Al-Qaeda' in 2011. Here Are the Facts

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Hillary Clinton said "We created al-Qaeda" in 2011.


Rating: False
Rating: False

On March 24, 2024, X (formerly Twitter) user @ShaykhSulaiman posted that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2011 that "we created Al-Qaeda" (archived here).

The post included a video alongside the claim that showed the former first lady discussing the U.S. military's historical actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

That post had been seen more than 700,000 times, as of this writing. Similar posts were shared by other users on the social media platform, gaining tens of thousands of additional views.

However, the original video showed Clinton speaking in 2009, rather than in 2011, and at no point did she specifically state "We created Al-Qaeda," which is why we rate this claim "False."

In the footage, Clinton said:

We also have a history of, kind of, moving in and out of Pakistan. I mean, let's remember here, the people we are fighting today, we funded 20 years ago. And we did it because we were locked in this struggle with the Soviet Union. They invaded Afghanistan and we did not want to see them control Central Asia. And we went to work.

And it was President Reagan in partnership with the Congress led by Democrats who said: "You know what? Sounds like a pretty good idea. Let's deal with the ISI and the Pakistani military and let's go recruit these mujahedeen. And that's great. Let's get some to come from Saudi Arabia and other places importing their Wahhabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union."

And guess what? They retreated. They lost billions of dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. So there is a very strong argument which is it wasn't a bad investment to end the Soviet Union, but let's be careful what we sow because we will harvest.

So we then left Pakistan. We said, "OK, fine. You deal with the stingers we've left all over your country. You deal with the mines that are along the border. And, by the way, we don't want to have anything to do with you. In fact, we're sanctioning you." So we stopped dealing with the Pakistani military and with ISI, and we now are making up for a lot of lost time.

News outlet CNN uploaded a version of the video to YouTube on April 23, 2009, along with a transcript of an April 24, 2009, transmission of one of its news shows, "American Morning", that covered Clinton's remarks. Pakistan's English-language Dawn newspaper also reported her comments on April 25, 2009.

The transcript showed the secretary of state discussing how the U.S. once funded fighters opposed to the Soviet Union during the 1979-89 Soviet-Afghan War.

Clinton did not directly state the U.S. created al-Qaida. In fact, she was discussing the Taliban and mujahedeen, which are separate entities. However, her words could justifiably be interpreted as meaning that the actions of the U.S. helped to create an environment in which the likes of al-Qaida were born.

The caption of a similar video uploaded to YouTube by the U.S. Department of State on April 28, 2009, shows that Clinton was testifying before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on April 23, 2009.


Clinton on Pakistani Military. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5c4QmCnXkM. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

CNN.Com - Transcripts. http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0904/24/ltm.01.html. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

Milestones: 1977–1980 - Office of the Historian. https://history.state.gov/milestones/1977-1980/soviet-invasion-afghanistan. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

National Security Through Diplomacy. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F97Il-FWfGI. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

'---'. U.S. Department of State, //2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2009a/04/122098.htm. Accessed 25 Mar. 2024.

'US Created Taliban and Abandoned Pakistan, Says Hillary'. DAWN.COM, 25 Apr. 2009, http://beta.dawn.com/news/847153/us-created-taliban-and-abandoned-pakistan-says-hillary.