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Tag Archives: Jay Carney

How Can We Trust Obama on Iran When He Was So Wrong About Syria?

Just a few years ago, President Obama said the time for talking was done, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go.

The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.

Several months later, Obama’s then-Press Secretary, the Prince of Prescience Jay Carney, said Assad was finished – through, done, I tell ya.

The fact of the matter is that the pressure on Assad continues to intensify. He’s been — he has dwindling financial resources. He has dwindling access to what he needs to continue to govern. His regime has lost control of parts of the country. There are a number of indications of the desire to depart from the regime by senior Syrian government and military officials. These are telltale signs that Assad’s future is very limited at best.

And we continue to work with the international community to do everything we can to enhance the pressure on him, to make it clear to everyone that they should not want to place a bet on the Assad regime because that is a losing bet — and it is a losing bet in pure realpolitik terms, but it’s also a losing bet, obviously, in terms of being on the right side of the people of Syria.

Well that was three years ago. If you bet on Assad, you won.

Now, Secretary of State John Kerry wants to negotiate.

But how can you negotiate with someone who isn’t there? Oh, wait, he is still there.

Now the same people who brought you the demise of Assad are bringing you the fully verifiable deal that will keep Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.

Place your bets! Except this time, your gambling with your life.

White House Stands By Earlier Criticism of Charlie Hebdo

The White House Monday refused to back away from its pre-Paris-attack criticism of the magazine Charlie Hebdo’s exercise of free speech, claiming it was meant as some kind of defense of our troops.

The criticism came from former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who on September 19, 2014, accused Charlie Hebdo of lacking “judgment.”

That puts the White House among the many in the Je suis Charlie Hebdo crowd who failed to stand up for free speech until the magazine’s cartoonists died for it.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Monday piously explained that Carney – who spoke in September 2012 after the attacks on U.S. embassies that were being blamed on an anti-Muslim video – was objecting to speech that could cause harm to American servicemen and women:

It would not be the first time that there has been a discussion in this country about the kinds of responsibilities that go along with exercising the right to freedom of speech. And in the scenario — or in the circumstances in which my predecessor was talking about this issue, there was a genuine concern that the publication of some of those materials could put Americans abroad at risk, including American soldiers at risk.

And that is something that the Commander-in-Chief takes very seriously. And the President and his spokesman was not then and will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform.

Well, the problem is, Carney never mentioned American troops. Carney did say the cartoons could provoke “violence against Americans and our diplomatic missions overseas,” but if he were so concerned about the troops, why didn’t he mention them?

The other problem is, if Carney was really referencing the troops, why did he bash the magazine’s “judgment.” How could a French satirical magazine possibly be taking into account the possible effect of its cartoons on U.S. troops?

No, this was an attempt to squelch free speech out of fear people might be insulted, and that they might get riled up. Not an effort to protect the troops.

Even taking Earnest at his word, this is dangerous talk. I have as great a concern as anyone for the safety and well being of our troops and diplomats. But are we now to be careful about what we say because some lunatics might react and try to attack Americans? Would our brave troops even want that?

What if I decided that Islamists smell like pigs who haven’t been hosed down for a month? Am I to blame if that makes them angry. Should I politely suggest a deodorant so as not to upset anyone?

As has been said many times, the very speech that is meant to be protected by the First Amendment is that which provokes and upsets.

But what Carney was talking about, and what Earnest backed up, was an effort to undermine Freedom of the Press. And critics of the Je suis Charlie Hebdo movement are correct to judge the hypocrisy of some of the marchers, who weren’t there for Charlie Hebdo before the attack and will return to political correctness and appeasement once the memory of the killings fades.

Here are Carney’s remarks, complete with derrière-covering tributes to free speech, even as he seeks to limit it. Judge for yourself.

Well, we are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Muhammad, and obviously, we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. But we’ve spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.

In other words, we don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Now, it has to be said, and I’ll say it again, that no matter how offensive something like this is, it is not in any way justification for violence — not in any way justification for violence. Now, we have been staying in close touch with the French government as well as other governments around the world, and we appreciate the statements of support by French government officials over the past week, denouncing the violence against Americans and our diplomatic missions overseas.

Report Indicates White House Misled Press on Prostitution Scandal

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney misled reporters in 2012 when he told them there were no specific allegations of wrongdoing against any White House staffer in the April 2012 Colombia prostitution scandal, a new report in the Washington Post suggests.

Carney East Room 3The growing recognition that the American public is routinely exposed to false and misleading statements from the White House, whether by the president or his aides, has recently prompted even mainstream journalists, among others, to question White House credibility.

According to the Post, the Secret Service told the White House specifically on Friday, April 20 that one of its staffers, a volunteer named Jonathan Dach, may have escorted a prostitute back to his hotel room in Colombia. Dach, whose father is a prominent Democratic donor, to this day denies the charge.

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney falsely told reporters April 23, three days later, that there had not been any “specific allegations” against White House staffers:

There are no, to my knowledge, and have been no credible or specific allegations of misconduct by any member of the White House advance team or White House staff.

Carney repeatedly told reporters April 23 that an internal White House investigation of its staffers’ behavior in Colombia was not conducted in response to any allegation. That assertion also appears to be false, since the internal investigation was conducted the weekend of April 21-22, according to the Post, immediately after the Secret Service informed the White House of the allegations against Dach.

But Carney said on April 23:

The decision to conduct a review here, internally, was simply done out of due diligence. There are no, to my knowledge, and have been no credible or specific allegations of misconduct by any member of the White House advance team or White House staff.  But out of due diligence this review was conducted, and there is no indication of any misconduct by members of the White House advance team or staff.

Carney at another point in the April 23 briefing used more careful phrasing to describe potential allegations of inappropriate behavior by White House staff, saying there had been “no specific, credible allegations of misconduct.” This would be misleading but technically correct, since White House attorneys had supposedly come to the conclusion over the weekend that the charge against Dach was not “credible.”

But Carney later used the term quoted above, denying a “specific OR credible” charge. But the allegation was certainly specific, according to the Post:

The Secret Service first provided evidence pointing to Dach’s potential involvement in the scandal . . .  on April 20.

The information, which then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan gave to Ruemmler, was not detailed. It said Secret Service investigators had evidence indicating Dach registered a prostitute into his room at the Hilton Cartagena Hotel shortly after midnight on April 4. He also conveyed that Secret Service agents on the ground had information suggesting the same.

I guess it all depends on what the meaning of “or” is.

Carney’s statements may have been part of a White House attempt to cover up the possible involvement of a White House staffer in order to avoid any taint for the president during a reelection year.

The lead investigator on a separate Department of Homeland Security inspector general probe into the matter said superiors urged him to alter and delay the report because of political considerations, according to the Post:

The lead investigator later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence — and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.

“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement.

Nieland later told Senate staffers that his superiors demanded that he remove from an official report references to the evidence pointing to the White House team member.

Nieland added that his superiors told him “to withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

The White House denies it attempted to influence the investigation.

House Oversight Committee member Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has requested documents from the White House to determine how it reached its conclusion that the charges against Dach were not credible.

Carney Ripped Apart by McCain

Starting his gig as a CNN commentator, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Wednesday ran up against something he’s not used to – an aggressive challenge, free of the protocols of a White House briefing, in which a knowledgable adversary tolerates none of his spin. Carney, who hasn’t figured out yet that he has to… Continue Reading

Carney Exits

After more than three years, White House Press Secretary Carney’s term as press secretary ends COB today. How you rate him as press secretary depends on your perspective. If you are a partisan Obama supporter, then Carney did a pretty good job. He made few mistakes, aggressively and eloquently promoted the president’s agenda, and largely… Continue Reading

Video || Koffler Quizzes Carney on Bergdahl-for-Taliban Deal

I thought you might want to see this video of me tangling with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Monday. Jay had been repeating his prepared talking points that the threat to national security of having five nasty Taliban leaders out of Guantanamo Bay had been sufficiently “mitigated.” I thought this was strikingly casual and provided precious little… Continue Reading

Carney in 2013: WH Will Consult with Congress on Gitmo Transfer

Just under a year ago, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney promised that any decision with respect to the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for kidnapped Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would be made in consultation with Congress. CARNEY: With regard to the transfer of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, we have made — the… Continue Reading

Jay Carney to Step Down as White House Press Secretary

President Obama announced today that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has resigned. Obama, who interrupted the White House briefing as Carney was taking questions, said Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest will take his place. Carney seemed surprised by the interruption. Carney said he will step down soon, probably the second or third week… Continue Reading

Video || Carney Caught Trying to Have it Both Ways

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was called out Monday for, on the one hand, asserting that the “investigation” at the Veterans Affairs Department must continue – a key defense for not firing Secretary Shinseki – and on the other suggesting that the resignation of VA Undersecretary Robert Petzel was related to the scandal. Carney… Continue Reading

McCain: Carney has “Destroyed his Own Reputation”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday night that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has “destroyed his own reputation” with the fatuous claim that the White House email prepping Susan Rice for her post-Benghazi appearance on the Sunday talk shows had nothing to do with Benghazi. McCain seems a little shocked at the behavior of… Continue Reading

White House Suggests it Won’t Cooperate with Benghazi Panel

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today indicated the White House will refuse to cooperate with a new House committee tasked with investigating Benghazi. “We have always cooperated with legitimate oversight,” Carney said this afternoon during the daily White House briefing. Asked whether the panel qualified as “legitimate,” he said: “I think if you look at… Continue Reading

Carney: Email Was Not About Benghazi

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today sought to justify the White House decision to withhold an email describing goals for prepping then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for the Sunday talk shows after Benghazi, saying the email actually wasn’t about Benghazi. Carney said: It was explicitly not about Benghazi. It was about the overall situation in the… Continue Reading