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Kerry: Obama 'Will Go Down in History' for 'Highest Standards of Transparency and Accountability'

8:21 AM, May 23, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
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And President Obama has ordered a process of accountability and transparency, and has been willing to lay it out for the world to see and understand that process of accountability. He gave a speech recently in which he set up new standards by which he believed the United States ought to behave, and I will tell you, because I was the author in the United States Senate with Senator John McCain of privacy with respect to the Internet and other uses, that we both believe very, very powerfully in the right of people to privacy (inaudible). 

Now at the same time, the President of the United States has a fundamental responsibility to protect our people and to help protect people in the rest of the world who are potentially targeted by vicious extremists, terrorists in various parts of the world. The fact is that we have, because of our capable intelligence-gathering, been able to thwart many plots which would’ve resulted in the loss of civilian lives in one attack or another. There’s a delicate balance, and President Obama has worked very, very hard to achieve that balance. No President, I think, in our history has laid open as willingly for everybody to judge what we are doing as a guideline or as a standard by which we are going to try to balance this equity between security and protection and prevention versus privacy and respect for the rights of all of our citizens. And I think the President will actually be measured as having taken the most extraordinary steps of any president in our history in order to try to put that relationship back in balance.

Now, with respect to the relationship with President Pena Nieto and Mexico, I am convinced that our relationship is as strong and as vital as it has been. It is as productive on cross-border issues, on immigration issues, extradition issues, deportation issues; on our mutual interests in the economy; on our mutual interests of innovation, research, education that we’ve just been talking about – I don’t think we’ve ever had as in-depth and as repeated a series of meetings in an effort to make sure we’re on track. Now, does everything change overnight? No. I wish it did in lots of respects. But we are on track, with the agenda that we have set and the relationship that has been created, to deal with any bumps in the road, to work through difficulties of border police or policing or military, other kinds of things. 

We’re working cooperatively. That’s what’s important. And we have made tremendous gains in the actual cooperation day to day in those endeavors. So I think the people of the United States and the people of Mexico should be pleased with the direction that we’re moving in. It’s open, it’s transparent, it’s accountable, and it’s productive. And I think we’re headed in the right direction. 

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