In an interview conducted Tuesday by Fox News correspondent James Rosen, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about efforts he’s spearheading since taking over the post from Hillary Clinton. In the interview, Kerry became the first U.S. official to confirm on the record that the U.S. is training military forces off-site in the Syria conflict. He also disclosed on the record for the first time his visit to a Benghazi survivor at Walter Reed, saying he doesn’t know why survivors haven’t yet been heard from.
ROSEN: Two quick questions on Benghazi, sir, if you would. First: Why have we not heard from any of the Benghazi survivors?
KERRY: [Pause] Well, I – I mean, I can’t tell you the answer to that. I can tell you that I have visited with one of the survivors at Bethesda hospital, who is a remarkably courageous person, who is doing very, very well. And I’ve called his wife and talked to her.
ROSEN: Will we hear from them?
KERRY: I can’t tell you – I don’t know what the circumstances are of any requests to talk to them or not. But let me just say about Benghazi: Benghazi was a tragedy that I felt as a senator and I feel even more now as secretary. And I’m just finish –
ROSEN: They’re already wrapping me here, so I’ve got to be very quick; I’m so sorry.
KERRY: Oh, I’m sorry. But let me just say: the key here is that we are implementing the lessons that we learned from Benghazi, and that’s the key.
ROSEN: President Obama vowed that the perpetrators of those attacks would be brought to justice. As you know, any law enforcement or counter-terrorism officer would tell you: the longer the passage of time after the given event, the less likely it is that you will bring the perpetrators to justice. It’s been six months. Will we see justice brought to those perpetrators, and isn’t the passage of time making that more and more unlikely?
KERRY: James, I hope we will. And I know the president is committed to try to do so. And I have personally talked to the FBI director to get a brief on exactly where we stand in that process.
ROSEN: What did he tell you?
KERRY: He told me – literally on the eve of his departure to go to Tripoli, in order to talk with people – that they are doing everything they can within the FBI to conduct their investigation and to lay the groundwork in order to be able to bring justice. That effort continues –
ROSEN: We’re six months – we’re six months out.
KERRY: Justice sometimes takes a while when you operate by high standards and when you need the levels of evidence that we do. But we are working at it and we will continue to work at it.