Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday rejected claims that the State Department has not offered assistance to the widow of a man allegedly shot down by drug lords while on a jet ski trip on the U.S.-Mexico border.
"We are helping," Clinton said in an interview. "The United States government is supporting local law enforcement, supporting the authorities on the border, doing everything that we know to do to try to assist in helping to find the body and helping to find the perpetrators."
She called the killing a "terrible tragedy" and said, "We are sickened by it."
Clinton's remarks on ABC's "Good Morning America" follow charges that her department has turned away from Tiffany Hartley, whose husband David Hartley was allegedly killed during a trip to the border-straddling Falcon Lake.
U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas told FoxNews.com that Tiffany Hartley has not received help from the U.S. Consulate in Mexico to file a complaint against members of the Zeta drug cartel suspected of shooting her husband several weeks ago.
"There seems to be inefficiency on this issue. She shouldn't have to be filing charges" on her own, Poe said, noting that the Mexican authorities were slow to help Hartley, in part because they said she made no official complaint to the proper authorities.
The State Department has also been "blissfully silent" on efforts to convince the Mexican authorities to let U.S. investigators help search for Hartley's body, Poe told FoxNews.com. The department must convince Mexican officials to let the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency investigators help conduct the search for Hartley's body and for the culprits, he said.
Poe sent a letter Oct. 4 to Clinton saying helping Hartley recover her husband's body is "the least" the State Department can do.
"We followed up yesterday to see when they were going to respond and they could not respond to our response," Poe said, adding that he hopes to have a reply soon from Clinton, who is traveling abroad right now.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made similar claims about the State Department's response, or lack thereof.
But Clinton, granting the interview Thursday from Brussels, said she hopes the administration can help recover the body.
"I hope that we can. I hope that we can. I mean, the beheaded body of the brave Mexican investigator that just showed up shows what we're dealing with," she said, referring to the Mexican officer in the case who was killed. "The absolute barbarity that we're seeing by criminals and terrorists in the world today should shock the conscience and require a concerted effort to defeat these violent, terrible actors that upset lives from Mexico to Africa to Afghanistan and beyond. I see this as one struggle where we have to, as people of conscience standing together, work very hard to defeat these extreme criminals and these extreme terrorists."
As she often does when discussing Mexican drug cartel violence, she suggested the United States shared culpability by providing the weapons and the demand for drugs.
"We have to do more," she said. "But to be fair, we also have to stop the huge demand for drugs that fuels these drug wars and this terrible violen