Tuesday at the White House, press secretary Jay Carney explained that he could not comment on the latest reports that the Department of Justice grabbed phone records for reporters and editors at the Associated Press. “On the issue of what is a Department of Justice investigation, as I understand it, the president is a strong defender of the First Amendment and a firm believer in the need for the press to be unfettered in its ability to conduct investigative reporting and facilitate the free flow of information. He also, of course, recognizes the need for the Justice Department to investigate alleged criminal activity without undo influence. As I said yesterday, we have no knowledge other than press reports of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone numbers of the Associated Press.”
The Obama administration has blamed a YouTube filmmaker for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi; the filmmaker currently sits in prison. The Obama administration has routinely attempted intimidation tactics against journalists. The Obama IRS is currently under investigation by the Obama Department of Justice for targeting conservative non-profits. The Obama campaign trotted out lists of Romney donors for specific pressure. The Obama administration ripped into the Supreme Court for ruling under the First Amendment that corporations – voluntary associations of people – could spend money on elections. To pretend that this administration is in any way interested in an “unfettered” First Amendment is ludicrous. As ABC’s Jonathan Karl shot back at Carney, “How can it be unfettered if you’re worried about having your phone records seized?”
It is also highly suspect to suggest that the Obama White House had no knowledge other than press reports of the DOJ’s attempts to seek phone records for the Associated Press. Yet that’s precisely what Carney did, throwing the DOJ under the bus: “We are not involved at the White House in any decisions made in connection with ongoing criminal investigations as those matters are handled appropriately by the Justice Department–independently.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).