The following is an excerpt from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s media briefing earlier today, where he was dogged by questions about President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege in the Fast and Furious case:
Q: Jay, you said to an earlier question that there was no White House cover-up involved in these documents that the President had declared privilege on. And you also said that, just again, that the President is just trying to protect the constitutionally enshrined power of the executive power to make decisions independently. In the documents in question is there any information that if put on the public record would jeopardize national security interest or embarrass the White House?
MR. CARNEY: Well, those are — (audience laughter) — I’m not going to give you a readout of documents that are under question here and relate to the assertion of privilege. What I can tell you is that there is nothing in these documents that pertains to the Fast and Furious operation. And I would simply note and have you ponder the fact that the Attorney General referred this to the Inspector General for investigation, and the Inspector General has access to all documentation as a member of the executive branch.
Q I guess the question is are you declaring it mostly on principle to ensure the separation of power or is there an issue of national security –
MR. CARNEY: Thank you for phrasing that. This is entirely about principle. It has nothing to do — (audience laughter) — no, no, this has nothing to do — we have been absolutely clear about the fact that this operation used a tactic that originated in a field office that was flawed, that was wrong, and that had terrible consequences for the Terry family, and should not have been employed. And this Attorney General, when he learned about it, put an end to it and referred it for investigation.
There was a time when the Briefing Room media wouldn’t have laid a finger on the president over something like this. Now they’re laughing in his Press Secretary’s face.
Probably not a bad time to update that resume, Jay. And Barack, you might want to have a spare handy too.