Kirby: Kerry absolutely correct about ISIS being desperate

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 30, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST: Secretary of State John Kerry taking some heat after saying this:


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It has been more than one year since Da'esh has actually launched a full-scale military offensive. And that's because our coalition is moving forward relentlessly on every front.

Now, yes, you can bomb an airport, you can blow yourself up, and if you're desperate, and if you know you're losing and you know you want to give up your life, then, obviously, you can do some harm.


REGAN: And critics say ISIS appears to be getting bolder. ISIS isn't desperate, they say.

John Kirby is we State Department spokesman and joins me now.

John, he's taking a lot of criticism for these comments, because people feel like the administration is out of touch with what is really happening.  Your reaction.

JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, I think that criticism is absolutely false.

And the secretary is absolutely correct in terms of talking about the pressure that we continue to put Da'esh under in Iraq and Syrian. But the secretary also said that we recognize that, as they face this pressure in Iraq and Syria, that they were going revert and adapt to more conventional terrorist attacks and terrorist tactics, which they have done.

And it's not as if we haven't adapted as well, Trish. We have moved forward, know that they were going to do this as they face more pressure.  We have worked slowly with our allies and partners in the region and in Europe. Interpol has gotten involved. More than 30 nations have adopted administrative and legal procedures to try to stem to the flow of foreign fighters.

Look, we all recognize that this is still a dangerous group. Nobody is taking that for granted. And we all recognize that they're still capable and intend to lash out at Western targets and soft targets, such as what we have seen in recent days.

But that doesn't mean that we're our eye off this threat or that we're going to stop putting pressure on them in Iraq and Syria, or that we're going to stop working with our allies and partners to get at terrorist attacks.

REGAN: But, then, John, why do we keep seeing these terror attacks happened, Paris, Brussels, Turkey, Orlando, San Bernardino?

KIRBY: Right.

REGAN: I mean, there has just been so many over the last year, year-and-a- half.

KIRBY: Right.

REGAN: And people feel like this administration is asleep at the switch, effectively, allowing this terror group to continue, effectively unchecked.

KIRBY: Nobody is allowing this terrorist group to continue unchecked at all.

As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why we're seeing these kinds of attacks is because we have -- not just the United States, but the coalition of 66 nations has put so immense pressure on them in Iraq and Syria.

Again, we -- we knew that they were going to try to attack Western targets.  They made no bones about the fact that they were going to try to attack Western targets. They only have to be right once. This is what the secretary was referring to.

REGAN: Right.

KIRBY: We have to be right 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And it's difficult.

But I can tell you, there have been numerous attacks that have been thwarted by terrific cooperation with law enforcement, intelligence agencies and our allies and partners around the world. Doesn't mean we are always going to be able to stop every one of them. We're mindful of that threat.

REGAN: Right.

KIRBY: But I can tell you, we're very, very focused on it.

REGAN: What do we know right now about the suicide bombers? We know that there were three of them, that they spoke Russian.

KIRBY: Right.

REGAN: What else can you tell us?

KIRBY: Well, again, I don't want to step on Turkish authorities as they investigate this.

I seen the comments that they have made today about their nationalities and about the fact -- the language that they were speaking. We also don't have a firm idea of claim or responsibility right now, although, as they have said and as we have said, it certainly bears all the hallmarks of a Da'esh attack.

But we're looking at this closely. Obviously, we're going to stay in touch with Turkish authorities as they move forward. But, again, the threat by this group of foreign fighters remains real. They still have the capable to attract recruits to their effort.

And, as a matter of fact, we believe that in part some of the reasons why they do these attacks like this is to advance their ideology and to try to attract additional recruits to their effort, recruits...

REGAN: John...

KIRBY: Go ahead.

REGAN: ... a number of people have made the point that Turkey, in some people's view, really hasn't stepped up enough to fight ISIS.

We have recently been able to work with them a little bit better on the front.

KIRBY: Sure.

REGAN: Is -- is this incident something that is going to cause them to really embrace this war against ISIS more closely with us now?

KIRBY: I don't think the Turks need any reminders of the threat that Da'esh poses or that terrorism poses inside their borders and against their citizens.

And this is a country that -- the fight against Da'esh is not some theoretical exercise for the Turks. They have a long border with Syria, a border that has remained challenged and that they're trying to help seal.  They are a NATO ally and have contributed assistance and support to the effort against Da'esh, including the use of the Incirlik Air Base.

So, look, Turkey is in the middle of this. Now, obviously, they have concerns about certain groups in Syria. We're working our way through those concerns with them. We understand their concerns, but they have...


KIRBY: ... contributor to this effort.

REGAN: Can they really continue to take these refugees in? I mean, 2.7 million refugees coming into Syria -- or -- forgive me -- coming into Turkey from Syria.

KIRBY: Right.

REGAN: And I'm sure a lot of people are looking around and questioning whether that was a move that they should have done, in light of these security concerns.

KIRBY: Well, we're grateful to them. You're right. They have got hundreds of thousands, more than a couple of million refugees on their side of the border that they're taking care of.

And we commend them for that effort. We're grateful for that. And they continue to do a good job trying to help deal with that flow. What really needs to happen here is, we need to get Syria back to being united and whole and pluralistic, and not under the thumb of Bashar al-Assad, so those refugees can go home.


Very, very quickly, before I let you go...


REGAN: ... tell us, where are you on the James Rosen investigation?

KIRBY: The James Rosen -- oh, at the...

REGAN: And forgive me. I seemed to have lost my audio here.


KIRBY: Are we still on? Hello?

I'm sorry. I thought -- I thought we were having technical difficulties.

Look, the -- we're still looking into the circumstances surrounding that missing portion of video. And we don't have any updates right now, but I can tell you, again, the secretary takes this seriously, and we're looking at it.

REGAN: All right.

Thank you so much. John Kirby, good to see you.

KIRBY: My pleasure.

Sorry about the technical difficulties.


REGAN: We got it.

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