American taxpayers apparently won’t be given information on what they must pay for a trip by President Obama and his entourage to Indonesia and other far eastern points.
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, had raised the question before the trip and was brushed off by Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for the White House.
With the trip now over, Kinsolving asked again, and ended up with the same results.
“Now that the president’s trip to the Far East is concluded, will taxpayers continue being denied knowledge of how much this trip cost,” he asked at a press gaggle today.
Without answering the question, Gibbs said, “Well, Lester, I think we had a nice little colloquy about what you believe and what you don’t believe…”
The exchange continued:
Kinsolving: Where you said – you wouldn’t tell us. You said my – what we heard all over the world was wrong, but you wouldn’t tell us what was right.
Gibbs: Lester, I don’t talk about the measures that are taken to protect the president. That’s – let me finish – that’s because the Secret Service doesn’t take those measures – I’m going to be in the rare position of offering to share with you a column by Charles Krauthammer on the steps that were taken to – the steps that we take to ensure any president their safety and security and their ability to move around and conduct foreign policy is the right one, regardless of who that person is.
And as I said before we left, Lester, the hotel that we stayed at in Mumbai was what the people in India believe was their 9/11, the attackers coming into and killing innocent people staying in a hotel. So actions were taken to protect – and are taken to protect any president that travels around the world.
Kinsolving: But, Robert, couldn’t you give an overall cost figure?
Gibbs: But wait a minute, wait a minute…”
Question: I’m following up on your question. How about you give an overall cost figure without giving any of the security steps that are taken?
Gibbs: That’s not what I’m told.
It was about two weeks ago that Kinsolving had asked the question, and Gibbs engaged him for several minutes, denying a report that the daily cost of President Obama’s trip to India would be $200 million – but refusing to reveal the actual cost.
“The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the presidential visit,” a top official of the Indian government has been quoted as saying. Reports also mention the use of 34 U.S. warships to help with security.
Gibbs denied that was correct, but refused to say what was, then grilled Kinsolving about the veracity of news reports.
In a second question today, Kinsolving asked: “Robert, presuming the president supports the Transportation Safety Administration’s pat-down searches of airline passengers and that he believes they will never have male security personnel patting down female passengers, what if any of these male security personnel are not heterosexual? ”
An unidentified reporter interrupted with, “Oh, Lord have mercy,” to which Gibbs said, “You sure you want to follow up on his question?”
“No, sorry,” was the response.
“You put a big asterisk – Lester, I would normally point you to TSA, but I got to tell you, I can’t imagine that TSA, given their charge of protecting people that travel, have a lot of time to deal with whatever on earth you just asked me,” Gibbs said without answering the question.
The sexual nature of the invasive pat-downs previously had been raised by officials with Americans for Truth, an advocacy organization that seeks to unveil the agenda that homosexuals pursue in America.
The president, Peter LaBarbera, noted that TSA policy requires that its “pat-downs,” which include touching private areas of the body, are done on a same-gender basis.
“But what about homosexual TSA agents?” LaBarbera said. “Isn’t it just as inappropriate for a ‘gay’ male TSA agent to pat down male travelers as it is for a normal, heterosexual male TSA agent to pat down female travelers?
“The reality is, most traveling men would not want Barney Frank to pat them down at the airport security checkpoint,” LaBarbera said. “Neither would it be fair to assign Ellen DeGeneres to pat down female travelers.”