Secretary of State Clinton says U.S. will consider nuclear response to bioterror

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has struck back at critics of the nation's new nuclear weapons stance, telling CBS' "Face the Nation" that "all bets are off" in the event of a biological attack.

Clinton was joined by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that both Iran and North Korea would be exceptions to the new policy of nuclear response as both nations have defied UN resolutions on their atomic programs.

"If we can prove that a biological attack originated in a country that attacked us, then all bets are off," Clinton said in an interview on "Face the Nation."

Gates, when asked why Iran and North Korea were exceptions to the newly unveiled nuclear policy, added, "They're not in compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. So for them, all bets are off. All the options are on table."

A new arms control deal with Russia, Clinton and Gates said, along with the revised nuclear policy, bolsters the diplomatic leverage held by President Obama in his quest to isolate Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs.

The duo also rejected Republican criticism that the new nuclear policy sent signals of weakness to the world.

"We have still a very powerful nuclear arsenal," Gates told NBC's "Meet the Press."