Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 6/3/2010

By Alex Pepper

Jun 3, 2010 4:31pm

TAPPER: It's clear that the U.S. government knew about the flotilla before the Israeli army confronted it, the Israeli navy confronted it.  What does the administration think the purpose of the flotilla was?  Does the administration — the Obama administration think it was on a humanitarian mission?  Does it think it was trying to provoke Israel into a reaction?  What was the opinion of the government when it was talking to Israel about…
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
GIBBS:  I have not asked the NSC that directly, Jake.  I can try to have NSC find out what — again, there's a blockade, as you know, to ensure that — that weapons are not brought in for — for Hamas. At the same time, you've heard the president recently, and certainly the secretary of state, discuss what we believe is an unsustainable humanitarian presence in Gaza.
  
TAPPER:  Has the president — I assume the president knows that one of the dead was an American.
  
GIBBS:  He does.
  
TAPPER:  Did — what was his reaction?
  
GIBBS:  I'm told that upon being told this, obviously, he expressed his deep condolences, and we certainly express our deep condolences to — to his family. Obviously, this is extremely — extremely horrible news for them. Our ambassador has been in touch with — with his father.  And I would reiterate that we have with the U.N. Security Council condemned the acts that have led to these deaths.
  
TAPPER:  The — we talked about this before, and I understand that it was written the way it was, but by condemning “the acts,” that could condemn the people on the flotilla to a degree. But since I know that's something that's not going to lead anywhere, let me just ask this:  Does the fact that one of the victims was an American, born in Troy, New York, change at all the U.S. view of what happened or the U.S. position on what happened?

GIBBS:  Well, not to somewhat go down the lane you were talking about, I don't know — I would reiterate we've condemned the acts, and believe…
  
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS:  You can go down that lane, actually.
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
GIBBS:  I understand. Well, I'm — I'll go down the other side of the street, but…
  
(CROSSTALK)
  
GIBBS:  I know, but I — look, we — we have called for, and the U.N. Security Council presidential (ph) statement calls for a full and credible investigation, so that we have a — we have all the facts about what happened.  And that is — that is tremendously important. And we have — I said here just a couple of days ago that that could include international participation in that investigation.
  
TAPPER:  Doesn't it change it to a degree, the fact that one of the dead, one of those killed by the Israeli armed forces was an American?  Doesn't that, by necessity, change the view of the U.S. government, of the American government, as to this…

GIBBS:  Well, again, I'd — we…
  
TAPPER:  It's different.  I mean, I don't mean to sound callous, but…
  
GIBBS:  No, no, I understand.
  
TAPPER  … if 10 Greeks are killed, or 10 Turks are killed, the U.S. government might condemn the act and think it's a horrible thing, but it's different than if an American is killed.

  
GIBBS:  Which is why I started the answer to this question by expressing the deep condolences of the United States government and the president's condolences.

-Jake Tapper

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