Jay Carney: Government Needs to Have Secrets

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that as a member of the Obama administration, he grew to appreciate the need for government to have its secrets.

Carney made his remarks at a question-and-answer event at Georgetown University, Thursday, with CBS reporter Major Garrett.

“We as a country, and I think reporters also specifically need to decide when they talk about this issue…whether or not it should be against the law to divulge classified information, because if it shouldn’t be, then we shouldn’t have classified information, and we shouldn’t have secrets,” Carney said. “Now think about that and whether it’s even possible for any government to function effectively.”

Garrett asked Carney how he felt about the Justice Department spying on reporters and prosecuting their sources.

Carney deflected the question, pointing out that a number of the investigations were left over from the Bush administration.

Although he was once a reporter for TIME Magazine, Carney admitted that he had become more aware of the damage that occurs as a result of classified information leaks after he joined the Obama administration.

“I think I’ve become more sensitized to the damage that can be done by leaks of classified information,” Carney said, although he admitted that the National Security Agency leaks had prompted an important debate in the United States.

“There is also no questioning the fact that harm has been done to our national security interests and you can’t be dismissive of that, that’s real,” he said.


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