Kirk said if Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE agrees to slacken the rules of engagement when the State Department reviews America's role in the battle against piracy later this year, she would empower the U.S. to act in the tradition of President Thomas Jefferson, who battled piracy off the coast of Libya in the beginning of the 19th century.

"Of course this would … be in the tradition of the Jefferson administration that so ably handled this threat when it emerged," said Kirk. "In the coming review with Secretary of State Clinton, I hope she adopts a more Jeffersonian policy."

Kirk spoke in response to a successfully military action the U.S. Navy made against pirates over the weekend.

The USS Stephen W. Groves encountered a pirate mother ship, a captured Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Jim Chun Tsai. The pirates aboard exchanged fire with the Groves. Three pirates were killed, and 19 were captured.