State Dept Walks Back Kerry Comments On Bombers

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry was speaking with reporters in Brussels, and he said Tamerlan went to Chechnya and, quote, “learned something” and, quote, “came back with a willingness to kill people.” What did he mean when he said that, and what did he mean he learned when he was in Chechnya?
MR. VENTRELL: Well, again, first of all, as I’ve said repeatedly here, there’s an ongoing FBI investigation. The Secretary was simply expressing broad concern about radicalism and not necessarily offering any more specific information about this case. But the context of how that came up was really – radicalism broadly, I understand, is how the question came up. But this isn’t about any new information or conclusion about law enforcement details of this case.
QUESTION: Let me just – because I want to be clear on this point. From reading the transcript – no U.S. press were present, so we are reading the transcript – it seems that Kerry is suggesting that Tamerlan was radicalized during his time in Russia. You’re saying that that is not what he meant to say and that he was speaking more broadly about radicalization.
MR. VENTRELL: Right. I’m clarifying his remarks and saying that he was simply expressing broad concern about radicalism. This isn’t about new details about the ongoing investigation.
QUESTION: So when he learned something, it was about radicalism, but he learned about radicalism; he wasn’t radicalized? That doesn’t make too much sense to me.
MR. VENTRELL: Again, my understanding of this informal press availability is that there was a question broadly about terrorism and foreign fighters, and it was in that context that he was saying that people can be radicalized by extremism. But this isn’t about drawing any conclusions about the specific law enforcement investigation.
QUESTION: So what did he learn? He learned something.
MR. VENTRELL: Again, we’re not getting into any more details about the --
QUESTION: Right. But you put out a statement and the clarification doesn’t clarify anything. So did he learn – was he radicalized in Russia?
MR. VENTRELL: Again, I’m not in a position to say one way or another on that. I really refer you to the law enforcement authorities investigating this.

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