Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ABC's Tapper asks Fast and Furious questions

The ATF scandal came up in today's late afternoon White House briefing.

ABC's Jake Tapper put some questions to Press Secretary Jay Carney.

No ground is broken here. But it's good to have stuff like this on the record.
The White House still sticks to the story the president found out about Fast and Furious through news reports.

From the official White House transcript:

 Q    About the Fast and Furious program -- I know that there’s this investigation going on internally -- weapons from the Fast and Furious program are now showing up in the United States attached to criminal transactions.  The ABC station in Phoenix last week reported on several of these weapons from Fast and Furious turning up.  How come we know so little -- the public knows so little about this program?  And what is the administration doing to get to the bottom of these weapons, which are now showing up in crimes in the United States? 
 MR. CARNEY:  Well, I think there’s an investigation going on precisely to get to the bottom of this.  And I can’t comment further on it, because there is an investigation going on.
 Q    Can the acting head of the BATF be permitted to go to Capitol Hill to testify?  My understanding  is that the -- that he has not been allowed by the administration to go there and explain what’s going on.
            MR. CARNEY:  I’ll have to refer you to Justice on that.  I don’t have any information 
            on that.  
  Q    Is this not something that you guys are worried about and incensed  about?  This is something --
 MR. CARNEY:  Well, Jake, I think it’s being investigated for a reason.  And obviously it’s a matter of concern and that’s why there’s an investigation.  But it would be a mistake for me to comment further on -- or to characterize further what happened or how to rate our unhappiness about it from here.  So I think that I have to refer you to the Justice Department for that.
 Q    Lastly, I mean, we have heard at times when the President was upset about something -- “plug the damn hole,” is one such anecdote that was shared exclusively with every single person in this room by the White House.  Do you -- is the President upset about this?  I mean, this is a government operation where now weapons -- I mean, the Mexicans are upset that guns are now turning up in --
 MR. CARNEY:  I think you could assume that the President takes this very seriously.
Q    No one has lost their job.  We don’t -- 
MR. CARNEY:  And there’s an investigation going on, so to comment on people’s jobs and that sort of thing is inappropriate.  But the President takes it very seriously.  I think he made clear when the -- during the Mexican state visit and the press conference he had then that he found out about this through news reports.  And he takes it very seriously.

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