The Washington Post

Loop Quote of the Week Winner: Pentagon spox

Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, at a media briefing in April. (Paul J. Richards /AFP/Getty Images)

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, jousted with reporters at a  briefing Tuesday after The Washington Post broke the story of the capture of one of the suspected ringleaders of the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

“I’m not going to get into the details,” he said.

“Why can’t you do that?” a reporter asked, setting off lots of chatter. Someone noted that President Obama, “at West Point said the Pentagon would be more transparent about counterterrorism operations, this is one example.”

[“We must be more transparent about both the basis of our counterterrorism actions and the manner in which they are carried out," Obama said, according to a transcript. “We have to be able to explain them publicly, whether it is drone strikes or training partners. I will increasingly turn to our military to take the lead and provide information to the public about our efforts."  In fairness, that speech is nearly a month old, so the policy may now be inoperative.]

“I have to tell you,” Kirby said, “I don’t think you’re going to find a federal agency that is more transparent and open than the military, than the Pentagon. I know you don’t like that, and I know you don’t agree with it. But I can tell you it’s true. I mean, we’re as transparent as we can be.”

Interior and Education are more secretive than Defense? The Small Business Administration?

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.



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