Esper says he’s gathering info on Beirut explosion, but most believe it was accident

During a virtual interview at the Aspen Security Forum, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he was “still getting information on what happened” about a massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday but that “most believe it was an accident as reported.”

Video Transcript

- We've had a number of people raise a question about-- I don't know if you're able to speak about it-- what happened in Beirut. Are you able to share anything on that? Or is that something where you're still getting information?

MARK ESPER: Yeah, still getting information on what happened. Most believe that it was an accident, as reported. And beyond that I have nothing further to report on that. It's obviously a tragedy. You know, we mourn for the dozens, if not hundreds, of Lebanese possibly killed, and thousands hurt. And it's just a-- you know, Lebanon's struggling right now in a number of ways. And it's just-- it's a shame to see it happen.

When you see the video, it's just devastating. And you wonder-- I mean, it's really, really bad. It could have been much worse. But we want to help. I spoke to Secretary Pompeo this morning. We're reaching out. The Lebanese government have reached out. We're positioning ourselves to provide them whatever assistance we can, humanitarian aid, medical supplies, you name it, to assist the people of Lebanon. It's just-- again, it's the right thing to do. It's the humanitarian thing to do in the wake of this tragedy.