White House Does Not Think Pictures of Sailors on Their Knees are Embarrassing

January 15, 2016

White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked by Fox News' Doug McKelway at Friday's press briefing whether the White House was embarrassed by the pictures that came out of Iran of the 10 U.S. sailors on their knees with their hands behind their heads.

Earnest said that the White House was not and that the primary concern was that the sailors were unharmed.

"I don't think that there is any reason for anybody to be embarrassed. I think there is reason for us to be certainly relieved that our service men and women who are protecting America in a very dangerous part of the world were released pretty shortly after they were taken into custody," Earnest said.

Earnest said that the series of events that led those 10 sailors to drift into Iranian waters and to be taken into custody was under investigation with the Department of Defense. The sailors are being interviewed by senior officials to be able to piece together the events that transpired.

McKelway said a senior Pentagon official told him that the Obama administration is blocking the facts from getting out.

"That's not true. I think we have been pretty transparent about the fact that if we followed the advice of some Republican critics of the administration that we would probably be in a bloody war with Iran right now over our sailors," Earnest said.

Earnest said that he was uncertain how the safety of the nation or our men and women in uniform would be advanced by starting a war with Iran and its advanced military.

McKelway said that the sailors were a part of the 5th Fleet and wanted to know if their orders were to do nothing. Earnest said that he would have to ask the 5th Fleet but assured him that the sailors did not stand by and do nothing.