Hagel: Boston Terrorism 'A Societal Issue'

By Susan Jones | April 22, 2013 | 10:17 AM EDT

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel looks at pictures of Jews killed in the Holocaust during a visit to the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem's Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo//Baz Ratner, Pool)

(CNSNews.com) - Speaking to reporters Saturday on his way to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called it "appropriate" that the U.S. is focused on the recent events in Boston.

"And I want to acknowledge that at the beginning of our conversation, because when an event like this occurs in a country, it is a societal issue. Yes, it's -- it's criminal, and we don't have all the facts yet.  People were tragically murdered."

Hagel did not use the word terrorism, nor did he mention religion.

The defense secretary said what happened in Boston is a reminder that "every region" of the world is "not safe" from "these terrible acts."

"And if nothing else, it reminds us, again, that all seven billion of us are -- are global citizens, and many of us are confronted with the same kind of threats and insecurities.  And if there's any one thing that should draw us together as a world, it is an event like this.  And we're not the only country that obviously has had this happen, and there's terrible tragedies going on tonight everywhere."

He repeated that what's happening in the Middle East "does connect with the human tragedy of these deeds" in Boston.

Hagel noted that "all the facts are not in," but so far, "I have not seen any intelligence" that would link the suspects to any militant or terrorist group.