News broke Monday that President Barack Obama did not know that the National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and 35 other foreign leaders.
“These decisions are made at NSA,” an unnamed U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal. “The president doesn’t sign off on this stuff.”
This is not the first time the administration has said the president was cut out of the loop on developing scandals.
Just last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Obama was blindsided about the “glitches” with the Obamacare marketplace website Healthcare.gov.
According to CNN:
“Before it even launched, red flags went up about the Obamacare website. Health insurance companies complained about it, and the site crashed during a test run. But nobody told the President of any of it, the nation’s health chief told CNN.
Kathleen Sebelius said President Barack Obama didn’t hear that there may be problems with the sign-up portal for his signature health care law until it went live on October 1. That’s when the site nosedived into a technical abyss.”
Obama also claimed he did not know the IRS was targeting conservative groups until he read about it in the newspaper. An inspector general report revealed in May that the tax agency targeted groups with “tea party” in their names, delaying their applications for nonprofit status for years.
“I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press,” Obama said when asked about the scandal.
3. AP Phone Records Scandal
The White House said it had no idea that the Justice Department seized phone records from Associated Press reporters earlier this year.
“Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in May.
Attorney General Eric Holder also said he did not make the decision to seize two months worth of reporters’ phone records for an investigation into a national security leak.
4. Fast and Furious
Carney denied that Obama knew his Justice Department was running guns into Mexico in the Alcohol, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sting operation “Fast and Furious.”
“[E]veryone knows the President did not know about this tactic until he heard about it through the media,” Carney said in June 2012.
5. Petraus Investigation
In November 2012, Obama claimed he was also not told about the investigation into the emails of former CIA Director David Petraeus, which ultimately led to his resignation.
“[I]t is also possible that had we been told, then you’d be sitting here asking a question about why were you interfering in a criminal investigation,” Obama told Chuck Todd, of NBC News.
At the time, Jeffrey Anderson of the Weekly Standard wondered, “Why is this president so regularly cut out of the loop?”
“It seems highly unlikely that Attorney General Eric Holder, a cabinet officer in Obama’s own administration, didn’t tell the president that Petraeus was under investigation, so it will be interesting to see whether Obama’s words come back to haunt him. And if he really didn’t know what was going on, then that begs this question: Why is this president so regularly cut out of the loop? Why, as with Benghazi, does he so often claim that he didn’t know what was happening — until he later claims that he did?