John Kerry with other State Dept. staff (file)
John Kerry with other State Dept. staff (file)Reuters

US State Department spokesman John Kirby was visibly flustered and ended up cutting off a reporter on Thursday, when asked what the administration's position is on a report by a leading general regarding the Russian threat.

The interaction came hours after Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr., said in his Joint Chiefs of Staff nomination hearing that Russia is the greatest threat to American security.

A reporter asked Kirby if the State Department holds the same view as General Dunford and other top military officials who agree with him.

"I think everybody in the United States government shares the same sense of concern over the security challenges that Russia is representing, particularly on the European concerns,” Kirby said.

The reporter pressed the spokesperson, noting, "they didn’t call it a threat, a challenge. They said the greatest (threat). Isn’t it confusing that from this podium you say one thing and the top military officials say something else?"

A visibly flustered Kirby continued to dodge directly agreeing with or rejecting the general's assessment, and then claimed he had already answered the question while ignoring the reporter's continued queries and calling on another journalist to ask a question.

Dunford's assessment came after Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL), a member of the House Committee on Armed Services and chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces, said Wednesday that the Obama administration is "ignoring" Russia, which is currently the greatest threat it has been since the Soviet Union collapsed.