The Uninformed Administration

White House Claims Obama Learned About The VA Scandal From News Reports

It's clear the Obama administration has a problem remaining informed on current events.

White House press secretary Jay Carney denied reports that the White House were aware of problems at several VA hospitals around the country before CNN broke the story last week.

CNN's Jim Acosta asked Carney when President Obama and top White House officials were made aware of the scandal.

Carney responded that they were first made known of it last week.

However, the Washington Times contradicts the White House as they report the Obama Administration received information about the scandal as early as 2008, following the presidential election.

The report notes "Veterans Affairs officials warned the Obama-Biden transition team in the weeks after the 2008 presidential election that the department shouldn’t trust the wait times that its facilities were reporting."

Officials informed the president "This is not only a data integrity issue in which [Veterans Health Administration] reports unreliable performance data; it affects quality of care by delaying — and potentially denying — deserving veterans timely care."

Carney has previously used this excuse, as reported by the Free Beacon.

The Obama administration has used this excuse five times previously, according to the NRCC:

  • Associated Press: Obama Learned Of IRS Targeting From News Reports: Aide
  • Real Clear Politics: Carney: Obama Didn’t Know About Fast & Furious Until He Saw It In Media
  • USA Today: NSA Denies Obama Knew Of Spying On German Leader
  • CNN: HHS Chief: President Didn’t Know Of Obamacare Website Woes Beforehand
  • Business Insider: The White House Says It Had No Idea The DOJ Seized The AP’s Phone Records

The full exchange is available below:

Q: And just to follow up on that, when was the president first made aware of these problems, of these fraudulent lists that were being kept to hide the wait times? When was he first made aware of those problems? And when did other White House officials, top White House officials become aware of these problems?

MR. CARNEY: When you say "these problems," the fact that there have been bureaucracy --

Q: The delays have been known for some time, but the fraudulent --

MR. CARNEY: If you mean the specific allegations that I think were reported first by your network out of Phoenix, I believe we learned about them through the reports. I will double-check if that's not the case. But that's when we learned about them, and that's when, as I understand it, Secretary Shinseki learned about them and immediately took the action that he has taken, including instigating his own review -- or initiating his own review, but also requesting that the inspector general investigate. And I think, again, I would point you to his testimony as well as the inspector general's testimony last week.