WASHINGTON — The conversation about Edward Snowden remained decidedly one-sided Monday.
A day after the former defense contractor revealed himself as the source behind reams of classified information published by The Guardian and Washington Post last week, the executive branch of the federal government continued its policy of not mentioning Snowden by name or directly commenting on his actions.
For regular attendees of the daily White House briefing, used to opacity from the lectern, Press Secretary Jay Carney’s refusal to answer any Snowden questions was not a surprise.
“There has obviously been some news over the weekend. I will say at the outset that there is, obviously, an investigation underway into this matter,” Carney said. “And for that reason, I am not going to be able to discuss specifically this individual or this investigation, nor would I characterize the president’s views on an individual or an ongoing investigation.”
Carney went far enough to say Obama was aware of Snowden, but he declined any details, even refusing to say whether or not the president watched the video interview with Snowden that burned up the internet Sunday.
For his part, the president didn’t refer to Snowden or the news of the weekend at two public White House events held Monday.
The tight-lipped approach to Snowden from the White House echoes that from the rest of the executive branch. On Sunday night, a spokesperson for the Director of National Intelligence’s office said it was aware of the Guardian report mentioning Snowden, but it he didn’t mention Snowden’s name or comment directly on his admission.
Shortly after that statement came out, the Justice Department confirmed it was looking into the source of the NSA leaks — but a Justice spokesperson steered clear of mentioning Snowden as well.
“Consistent with long standing Department policy and procedure and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we must decline further comment,” the spokesperson said.