President seeks better implementation of 'don't ask, don't
December 11, 1999
Web posted at: 5:19 p.m. EST (2219 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton said on Saturday that
he is working with the Pentagon to consider a better way to
implement his administration's don't-ask, don't-tell policy
for gays in the military.
"What I'd like to do is focus on making the policy we
announced back in 1993 work the way it's intended to, because
it's out of whack now, and I don't think any serious person
could say it's not," Clinton said in a CBS Radio interview.
Clinton's comments came after a military jury sentenced an
18-year-old Fort Campbell, Kentucky, soldier to life in
prison with the possibility of parole on Thursday for killing
another soldier, who was rumored to be gay, last July.
Army Pfc. Calvin Glover was convicted Wednesday of
premeditated murder in the bludgeoning death of Pfc. Barry
"I can only hope this last brutal beating death of a gay
soldier will give some sobering impetus to a reexamination
about how this policy is implemented, and whether we can do a
better job of fulfilling its original intent," Clinton said.
Original plan was rejected
He also said he did not implement the policy until the Senate
rejected his original plan to allow gays to serve openly in
The original intent, Clinton said, "was that people would not
be rooted out, that they would not be questioned out, that
this focused on people's conduct, and if they did not violate
the code of conduct, and if they didn't tell their comings
and goings, the mail they got, the associates they had, that
those things would not be sufficient to kick them out of the
military, or certainly subject them to harassment."
'No problem' with Hillary Clinton's comments
Clinton said that he had "no problem" with his wife's
criticism of the policy on Thursday at a press conference in
New York, where she is running for U.S. Senate.
"I don't believe 'don't ask, don't tell' has worked, and I
don't believe it is ultimately the policy we should have in
our military," Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the news
conference. "I believe Americans willing to serve their
country should be allowed to do so.
Responding to her comments, the president said Saturday,
"After all, that's what I said back in '93."