huffingtonpost.com / By Michael Calderone / February 24, 2013
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that he was told not to “acknowledge” or “discuss” the secret drone program when becoming the government’s top spokesman.
Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “Up,” played a video clip of Gibbs and current press secretary Jay Carney dodging questions about drones in the White House briefing room before asking if the Obama administration has been sufficiently forthcoming about the controversial targeted killing program. Gibbs, who recently became an MSNBC contributor, recalled the instructions he was given upon taking the job.
“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary,” Gibbs said, “one of the things, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists.’”
The national media was slow covering the secret drone war in Pakistan and Yemen during Obama’s first term, which has been difficult to track given both the government’s secrecy and that strikes often take place in remote areas. But the drone media debate has gained steam early in Obama’s second term, alongside questions for top counter-terror official John Brennan upon his nomination to become CIA director.