If the Obama White House thought they could avoid questions on Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker) and the ensuing scandal, they were sadly mistaken. Chip Reid of CBS News was the first to ask the question of the new White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. You can see video of the exchange here.
Q. CBS has been pursuing a story over the past week or so about gunrunning in Mexico — hundreds and hundreds of guns going into Mexico, with the knowledge of ATF. They had hoped it would lead them to the big fish, but it didn’t work. And there are two developments on that today. There’s an IG investigation been ordered at Justice. And Mexico has asked for whatever details the United States can provide on that. Do you have any comment on the story and on these developments today?
MR. CARNEY: Chip, I don’t. Obviously, as the President pointed out when he spoke here with President Calderón, we take the issue of the flow of guns south very seriously, as we do the issue of the flow of drugs north. And — but beyond that I don’t have any comments.
Q Is he aware of the specific allegation that —
MR. CARNEY: I don’t know.
Q — hundreds of guns went into Mexico with the knowledge of ATF?
MR. CARNEY: I don’t know, Chip.
If Carney thought that put the matter to rest, he was mistaken because a few minutes later he got another question on that same issue from Peter Maer of CBS News Radio.
Q. Following up on Chip’s questions about this gun strategy that the ATF was running — given the President’s strong statements about the southward flow of weapons when the Mexican President was here, would he condone an ATF plan that uses — in effect, uses guns as bait?
MR. CARNEY: Peter, I just don’t have anything for you on that except to point you to his statements about his concerns, our concerns about the flow of guns south. But this — for other questions about this story I would point you to the Department of Justice.
Q Just to confirm, you don’t have anything because you weren’t aware of this or —
MR. CARNEY: I just don’t have anything to add to what I just said.
Q Can you take that question and perhaps be able to elaborate on it for us in terms of —
MR. CARNEY: If there’s something I can find out about it, I will. But asking me a hypothetical about whether the President would or would not —
Q Oh, it’s not hypothetical. The program exists, or existed.
MR. CARNEY: I’ll see what I can find out about it.
UPDATE: The White House posts video of their press briefings on YouTube. I was able to excerpt the second round of questions on ATF and gunrunning.