State Dept. to AP: ‘We can use whatever definition of transparency we want’

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
By Paul Martin

by Michael Dorstewitz
October 22, 2013

Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee repeatedly questioned the administration’s continued lack of transparency at a press briefing Monday, until State Department deputy press secretary Marie Harf finally said, “we can use whatever definition of transparency we want.”

Lee kept hammering Harf on the issue of secrecy, notwithstanding President Obama’s early promise that his would be the most transparent administration in recent history. The reporter even said it was developing a reputation as “an Orwellian Big Brother type outfit,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Each time he did so, Harf nibbled around the edges of his question without really addressing it.

When Harf eventually took issue with Lee’s characterizations, Lee pointed out that she repeatedly refused to confirm or deny reports about the State Department.

“How is that transparent?” he asked.

“Well, I think we can use whatever definition of ‘transparent’ we want,” she answered.

Her reply is reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” during his 1998 grand jury testimony on the Monica Lewinsky affair.

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