In the minutes before his interview on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke candidly about Israel's assault on Gaza to an aide on the phone, all while his microphone was on and the camera rolling. "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation, it's a hell of a pinpoint operation," he told the aide, frustrated.
(Kerry's comments start at the 11:10 mark.)
He went on: "We've got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think John, we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around."
Naturally, Kerry was questioned by Fox News' Chris Wallace. "While you were on camera and while you were on microphone, you just talked to one of your top aides about the situation in Israel and the fact that 14 Israelis have apparently been shot and killed in an operation," Wallace said.
Wallace goes on to ask, "When you said it's a hell of a pinpoint operation are you upset that the Israelis are going too far?"
Kerry demurred. From the Washington Post:
"It's very difficult in these situations," Kerry said, repeating that the United States supports Israel's right to defend itself. He then explained his comments by saying, "I reacted, obviously, in a way that anybody does in respect to young children and civilians."
The White House has sinced expressed its disapproval of Fox recording a hot mic moment, they insist that Kerry remained on-point. From their statement to the Post:
Given the range of important global events we are not going to spend time litigating whether taping and playing Secretary Kerry's private conversation was consistent with acceptable protocol. Regardless, his private comments were consistent with his publicly stated view on all five shows: Israel has the right to defend itself including against recent tunnel attacks, but he has encouraged them to not only take steps to prevent civilian casualties, but to take steps to de-escalate and we're working together to achieve a ceasefire.
The State Department also announced today that Kerry will travel to Cairo to try and broker a peace deal between Israel and Hamas.