The White House found itself with another press corps controversy on its hands on Friday, after it emerged that it held a secret briefing about the Benghazi attacks with a select group of White House reporters.
Spokesperson Jay Carney was initially supposed to hold a briefing at 12:30 PM on Friday. However, ABC's Jon Karl threw a wrench in that plan when he reported that the State Department had been involved in lengthy revisions of CIA talking points about the attacks.
All of a sudden, the press briefing was pushed back to 1:45 PM. Then, Politico reported that the White House had held a secret briefing about the Benghazi developments with reporters. The site reported that, while the contents of the briefing were on "deep background," meaning that they could be used as background information in reporting, the existence of the meeting itself was off the record.
However, not all reporters were invited to the briefing. White House journalists have complained many times in the past about their level of access to administration officials. On Friday, at least one, April Ryan, made her feelings about the briefing very clear:
After the Politico report, the public briefing was again pushed back, this time to 3:15 PM. Politico's Roger Simon mocked the White House's handling of events:
When he finally started the briefing, Carney addressed the issue:
"We did, as many of you know, have a background briefing here at the White House earlier. I think 14 news organizations were represented, ranging from online to broadcast TV, print and the like. We do those periodically. We hope that participants find them helpful. I will say that no one here believes that briefings like that are a substitute for this briefing."