The State Department acknowledged Thursday that Secretary of State John Kerry brought up the case of a jailed ex-Marine during his visit to Mexico this week, Fox News reports.
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton called that a significant step, saying that it moves the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi to "an entirely different, and much more appropriate, level."
"If [Kerry] thought it was important enough to raise, it certainly implies he thinks it's illegal or unfair what they're doing to Tahmooressi," Bolton said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a press briefing Thursday that U.S. consular officials have visited Tahmooressi 11 times.
Tahmooressi has been jailed
since April 1, when he said he accidentally made a turn toward the Mexican border and was unable to make a U-turn back to the United States before driving onto Mexican soil. He said he told border authorities he had made a mistake and told them about three guns he had in his vehicle.
The guns are legal in the United States, but illegal in Mexico. Tahmooressi was taken into custody and has been imprisoned since.
The main purpose of the State Department is to protect U.S. citizens in foreign countries, Bolton said.
"Here, you've got a government that is obviously handling this for political reasons, whatever Mexico has in mind," he told Van Susteren.
The United States has leverage, Bolton said, noting that Mexico gets lots of tourist dollars from the U.S. A State Department travel advisory about the danger of landing in Mexican jail would have a serious impact on tourism, he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida agreed, telling Van Susteren, "We should use our diplomatic influence to ensure that they know this matters to us, and I hope the White House will do that."
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