Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson revealed this week that the White House has refused to answer one basic question for over two years — where was President Obama and what was he doing on the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, when the U.S. foreign service office at Benghazi, Libya was under attack?
Attkisson appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” Tuesday and said it began with a simple, routine request for the official White House photographs taken while the facility was being overrun by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
The photo office originally told her she’d receive them by the end of the day. Before that time arrived, however, she was told she’s have to seek approval from current Chief White House spokesman Josh Earnest. At the time, he was serving as Deputy Press Secretary.
That was when Earnest began the process that “the most transparent White House in history” is best known for — stonewalling reporters and congressional investigators.
“If you know how the White House works, a photographer is omnipresent,” Attkisson said. “He would have been there taking photographs in the Situation Room. He would have been taking photographs of the president that night.
So we asked for the photos, which in my view, are public information. They are paid for with tax dollars, and they release them when they want them released and they are positive. The photo office indicated initially, this was probably in October or November 2012, that we could have the photos at the end of the day and that never materialized.
They suddenly started referring us a White House deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, who is now press secretary. And they said Josh would have to approve it, and he would never return a call or e-mail. We would try to maintain communication with him or try to make communication with him over a long period of time, and he wouldn’t even answer.
We would go to the press, photographer’s office and say you have given us an impossible task, you have told us to talk to someone who will not talk to us. You need to give us another route to follow to try and get these photos, and they would say no, you have to talk to Josh Earnest.
So that just went down a dead-end road.
I think that is entirely unacceptable. The press offices work for the public. They are publicly paid to be responsive to the press and the public . Those White House photos belong to the public, in my view, to the extent that they would not reveal national secrets. To this day, they remain secret.”
Watch the video, via C-SPAN: