Media

White House Loves Anonymous Quotes, Despite What You've Heard

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 29: White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest answers questions during the daily media briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 29, 2013 in Washington, DC. Earnest fielded questions from reporters about the Obama Administration's stance and response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 29: White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest answers questions during the daily media briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 29, 2013 in Washington, DC. Earnest fielded questions from reporters about the Obama Administration's stance and response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“I leave it to you to decide whether or not you believe anonymous quotes that are included in AP stories, or an on-the-record statement from people who have looked at exactly the same information and reached a different conclusion,” Earnest said, citing, among others, public statements by President Obama saying that the Assad regime was definitively responsible for the attack.

Earnest's repeated denials prompted CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett to note that the wire service was a “trusted news organization” and AP White House correspondent Julie Pace to note that “you guys talk to us anonymously all the time.”

Pace is right! Here are ten examples from just the past week of a "senior administration official" speaking to the press:

"'It’s safe to say that the administration feels the intelligence case is very strong,'” a senior administration official said without providing details of the report. — Washington Post, 8/29/2013

“'This was a big diplomatic step forward in laying the groundwork for actions the president might choose, and required days of aggressive diplomacy to avoid delay,' a senior administration official said Tuesday night." — New York Times, 8/28/2013

"But a senior administration official said once Obama decides on what action to take, he won’t delay the decision because of outside factors or competing events." — Associated Press, 8/28/2013

"A senior administration official said on Wednesday a formal assessment was expected this week and a classified version would be shared with Congress." — Reuters, 8/28/2013

"A senior administration official said that while the U.S. and U.K. are coordinating closely, domestic British considerations won't necessarily slow the U.S. decision on military action. 'We're making our own decisions in our own timeline,' the official said." — Wall Street Journal, 8/28/2013

"'We are not focused on taking action to determine the outcome of the civil war," said a senior Obama administration official. 'We intend to send a message to the world that this is not business as usual.'" — National Journal, 8/27/2013

"A senior administration official familiar with the intelligence told CNN that the evidence 'includes but is not limited to' satellite images of activity at Syrian military installations identified as including chemical weapons depots." — CNN, 8/26/2013

"The chemical weapons assessment is based on a variety of evidence and represents a broad consensus, according to a statement from a senior administration official. The official requested anonymity; deliberations are ongoing and no decision has been reached about what to do." — USA Today, 8/25/2013

"'We have seen the reports that after five days of refusing to allow the U.N. investigative team immediate and unimpeded access to the site of a reported August 21 chemical weapons attacks, the regime may allow access tomorrow,' a senior Obama administration official said in a statement on Sunday." — NBC News, 8/25/2013

"'All the things we’re measuring are important for students choosing a college,' a senior administration official said." — New York Times, 8/22/2013

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Obama attends the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple Of Hope Awards.

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