Kerry: Recent Paris attack lacked 'rationale' of Charlie Hebdo strike

Kerry: Recent Paris attack lacked 'rationale' of Charlie Hebdo strike
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryClimate policies propel a growing dysfunction of Western democracies Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change Those on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution MORE suggested on Tuesday there was a "rationale" behind the terrorist strike on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, unlike the recent "indiscriminate" ISIS attacks in Paris.  


Speaking about the Paris attacks to staff and their families at the U.S. embassy in Paris, Kerry said "there's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that." 

"There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they're really angry because of this and that," Kerry said.

"This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn't to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That's not an exaggeration," he said.

Kerry came under immediate criticism on social media for his remarks, which seemed to imply a "legitimacy" to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, where terrorists had gunned down 12 employees of the paper, known for its satirical portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad. 

That attack in January was attributed to radical Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Friday's attacks, which has been linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, killed at least 130 people across Paris and wounded hundreds more. 

Later that night, State Department press secretary retired Adm. John Kirby sought to clarify Kerry's comments. 

".@JohnKerry didn't justify Hebdo attacks, simply explained how terrorists tried to. As he said at time, it was a cowardly & despicable act," Kirby tweeted. 


-- Updated 11/18/15