Hard to tell whether he forgot it momentarily as he was busy trying to formulate the proper spin or whether he “forgot” it because he’s never paid enough attention to F&F to make the particulars stick, but this is a bad moment from a bad briefing. (It’s the RNC that posted the clip, and no wonder.) The big talking point today: Sure, there was gunwalking to Mexican drug cartels, but Eric Holder ended it and that’s what’s important.
CARNEY: It originated in a field office during the previous administration. It was ended under this administration by this attorney general.
TAPPER: It began in fall 2009. The Operation Fast and Furious began –
CARNEY: The tactic began in the previous administration.
TAPPER: OK, but the operation. You keep saying –
CARNEY: The — OK. But this — the tactic began in the previous administration and it was ended under this one when this attorney general discovered it and believed it was a flawed tactic. He then referred it to an inspector general.
The “tactic” in the previous administration involved coordinating with Mexican police, not letting purchasers walk across the border armed without letting anyone know. And Katie Pavlich, who literally wrote the book on this, asks a good question: If Operation Fast and Furious ended in December 2010 and Holder supposedly didn’t know about the program until May 2011, how exactly did he “end it?”
Mediaite has video of Carney getting into it with Ed Henry over what type of documents Obama’s claiming the privilege for. A key quote: “The documents over which executive privilege is being asserted are internal executive branch documents that have to do with response to congressional inquiries, response to media inquiries.” Why should the privilege apply to those? In theory, the privilege is supposed to protect deliberations over Department operations, not strategy sessions on how best to avoid questions from Congress.