Press Conference on IRS, AP & Benghazi



cartoon photo of Jay Carney

This is a running stream of comments so please be patient with the quality of writing! Video will be published later.

Jay Carney said the president found out about the IRS targeting and the AP story from the news reports Friday and yesterday respectively. They know nothing! Later, however, he admitted that they knew a few weeks ago in a broad way.

Carney said “if” the IRS targeting happened it is inappropriate. [We know it did happen because the IRS said it happened.]

Carney refused to comment further on the ongoing investigations concerning the IRS or the AP.

Carney said Benghazi is being politicized to score points.

Sean Smith’s mother, Patricia Smith, begs to differ:

Carney’s interaction with one reporter who questioned him about the IRS targeting was contentious. He said the administration never claimed the IRS targeting was limited to one office. [The IRS, an arm of the Executive Branch, said it was limited to Cincinnati. We now know that it took place in DC and California offices in addition to Cincinnati.}

Carney said the administration learned about the IRS targeting very broadly a few weeks ago [though the president and Carney said the president found out Friday.]

Carney continually evaded the difficult questions by saying he could not comment on ongoing investigations.

Carney said the president is a strong 1st Amendment supporter and is troubled by the IRS targeting and the covert wiretapping of the AP.

Carney fell back on his spiel about the worst depression since the great recession. He said jobs are growing and the government needs to continue investing in the future. Then he said we need comprehensive immigration reform. [None of this had anything to do with the three major constitutional issues arising this past week.]

Carney said Benghazi Talking Points discussions are an obsession, a sideshow, a political diversion.

Carney said the administration cannot comment on the AP story because it is an investigation. They are not involved in any of that. Imagine the story on Fox if they did, he said. [nasty dig at Fox]

He would not comment on the AP story because it’s an ongoing story. Wendell Goler attempted to get him to comment since we all know it happened but Carney did not bite. Carney said he wants the media to pursue truth in an unfettered way. He added that it is important to protect our national security and classified info.

Chuck Todd wanted to know why the White House did not support a bill that would protect the press by allowing a third party – the courts – to review cases like the AP case [press shield law]. Todd did not get a clear and direct answer.

Chuck Todd asked how it is possible that the IRS story never reached the White House. Carney said he was unaware of any activity until a few weeks ago.

Todd asked about the cash payments to Karzai. He said Sen. Corker sent letters without response. Carney was unaware of the letters.

Carney iterated need to protect national security when asked about the need for reporters to be “unfettered” to use Carney’s word. Carney said he can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

Carney said he has no reason to believe the White House team knew about the IRS targeting. He said the counsel’s office found out about it, not the president or himself. [Someone must have been speaking into his earpiece]

One reporter said that twice as many leakers have been prosecuted than all other administrations combined and how does that reflect balance? Carney said the president supports the 1st Amendment and he must protect the nation. Carney then said the president supports a press shield law.

Eric Holder then spoke about the AP records grab. He said he doesn’t know anything personally.  He supports a reporter shield law and he can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.

Holder recused himself from the AP investigation which he ordered. Holder is confidant that the Justice Department followed the rules but he knew nothing about it because he recused himself a long time ago.

Holder said the IRS targeting is unacceptable and might have crossed over a criminal boundary.


The White House knows nothing and can say nothing!

If true, the White House knowing nothing about what goes on in other areas of the Executive Branch is troubling.