National Security

State Department Continues Gitmo Hypocrisy

When State Department Deputy Press Marie Harf was questioned about the administrations continued promise to close Guantanamo Bay Tuesday, she tried to change the narrative by saying, "he (President Obama) would work to close Guantanamo."

This led Associated Press reporter Matt Lee to call out Harf on this inaccuracy, pointing out that the President actually said "he would close Guantanamo."

Below is a transcript of the exchange:

Q: All right. OK. Hold on a second. I just — one more thing. You said that the president, on his second day in office, came in and —

MS. HARF: Mmm hmm, second full day.

Q: Second full day, whatever, and said that — were there any secret prisons actually open at that time?

MS. HARF: I don't know.

Q: There were not, I believe. So he did not close them; they were closed already. Second thing is that he didn't say he would – he didn't —

MS. HARF: Mmm, but let me double-check on that, Matt. Let me double-check on that.

Q: OK. He didn't say he would work to close Guantanamo. He said he would close Guantanamo.

MS. HARF: And we're still committed to that.

Q: But you said he would — you said that he said he would work to close Guantanamo. He actually said that he would close Guantanamo, and it hasn't been closed.

MS. HARF: And we're still committed to closing it. Our policy hasn't changed.

Q: All right, but — (chuckles) — you're — everything that you're basing your response to this — to these reports today is – almost everything is a five-month-old speech that the president gave before these reports were — you know —

MS. HARF: A speech about operations that the reports reference, and a speech, quite frankly, that has gone farther and been more forward-leaning than anything we've ever heard out of this government on the use of drones, period.

Q: So you're comfortable using five — his words from five months ago as a response to a report that came out today.

MS. HARF: Absolutely.

Q: All right.

Q: Not to belabor the issue, Marie —

MS. HARF: And if we have more of a response as we take a look them, we're happy to provide it as well.