White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the Obama administration will not be releasing any more information about the controversial use of drones to kill American citizens.
Carney’s remarks, via the White House’s transcript of the off-camera press gaggle:
“This is not an open-ended process. This is a specific and unique accommodation in this circumstance. The fact is, when it comes to public disclosure, we have been — not with the kind of attention that’s been given it this week — but we have been publicly discussing these matters at the highest levels of government for the very reason that I’ve given, which is the President understands that these are core issues about how we conduct ourselves in war, how the President of the United States — any President — balances his constitutional obligation to protect America and American citizens, and his obligation to do so in a manner that is lawful under the Constitution and reflects our values.
“The President takes these issues very seriously, and he believes that the conversation about this is valid and that the questions about it are legitimate. And that’s why he has been leading this process internally to — as has John Brennan, by the way — to provide public information as much as possible, mindful of the fact that we are talking about here very sensitive matters, and that these kinds of things — they’re classification — information is classified for very legitimate reasons that go right to our national security interest.
“But within that, there is an effort underway to provide Congress information — those who have oversight over these matters — classified information as well as unclassified with the white paper and the public information as much as possible.”
Those comments by Carney follow the White House’s Wednesday evening decision to send Congress “classified legal advice” about the rationale for using drones against Americans, reported the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama has directed the Justice Department to give Congress’ intelligence committees access to classified legal advice providing the government’s rationale for drone strikes against American citizens working with al-Qaeda abroad, a senior administration official and Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday.
A drumbeat of demands to see the document has swelled on Capitol Hill in recent days as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to hold a confirmation hearing for John Brennan, who helped manage the drone program, to be CIA director.