Former White House Press Secretary Reveals Obama's Drone Program Secrecy

Owen Poindexter
Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made a startling admission on the secrecy of Obama's drone strike program.

When former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs signed on with MSNBC for a talking head gig, he said, that he would be a political commentator, not an Obama spokesperson. I was skeptical, but on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes, Gibbs made a stunning acknowledgement about what he was not permitted to acknowledge.

"When I want through the process of becoming Press Secretary, I was told, 'you are not even to acknowledge the drone program. You are not even to discuss that it exists.'"

As the Obama Administration's program of using unmanned drones (sometimes called UAVs) for targeted killings came to light, Gibbs' position got increasingly awkward:

"But here's what's inherently crazy about that proposition. You're being asked a question on reporting of a program that exists."

Gibbs takes it one more easy step, to say that the secrecy around the drone program hurt the Obama Administration's credibility:

"I think what the president has seen is, our denial of the existence of the program when it’s obviously happening undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.”

The Obama Administration was right in thinking that the drone program would be a tough sell to the American public, and for good reason: the use of drones is morally dubious, and the strikes are far from surgical, often killing or wounding innocent people. While I'm willing to hear Obama out on the merits of drone strikes, the secrecy is something he specifically campaigned against in 2008, and at this point is only hurting him.