Former White House Press Secretary: Treating Drones Like a Secret Is 'Inherently Crazy'

Robert Gibbs was told never to talk about drones, but he now says denying what actually exists undermines confidence in government.

On Sunday's episode of Up With Chris Hayes, one of the few programs on cable news worth watching, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked if Team Obama has been sufficiently forthcoming about the lethal drone program that has targeted and killed thousands.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


"When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, 'You're not even to acknowledge the drone program. You're not even to discuss that it exists,'" he answered, explaining how that made for some awkward interactions with a press corps that knew it was real. "Here's what's inherently crazy about that proposition: You're being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists. So you're the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program -- pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

That's a Wizard of Oz allusion. A federal judge has previously written that Team Obama's secrecy claims remind her of Alice in Wonderland. Gibbs went on to say, "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."

Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Politics

Just In