Right after Sarah Sanders told her massive whopper of a lie about the Obama jobs for African Americans, she casually lied again – this time she claimed it was “common” for employees to sign NDAs, including in government, “particularly anyone with a security clearance.”
From Tuesday’s briefing:
Q And then, have you signed an NDA?
MS. SANDERS: I’m not going to get into the back-and-forth on who has signed an NDA here at the White House. I can tell you that it’s common in a lot of places for employees to sign NDAs, including in government, particularly anyone with a security clearance.
This is not true. An NDA is first of all not binding when it was done by a private company for a federal employee, but also, NDAs are not required nor should they be in a democratic government. They were not used by Obama, or Bush 43, or Clinton. So that would be a “NO” they are not “common.”
For the umpteenth time: Obama did not require NDAs. Apparently, neither did Bush 43 or Clinton. Obviously, you can't disclose classified info or confidential business info. But that's much different than a blanket prohibition on ever talking about what you did, saw or heard. https://t.co/6fvHW6E4Sn
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) August 14, 2018
No nda’s in Clinton administration
— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) August 14, 2018
Although @PressSec says NDAs were the norm in previous administrations, former admin officials say that's not true. @ChrisLu44 tells NBC that no one in the Obama admin signed non-disclosure agreements. @AriFleischer tells WaPo that Bush aides didn't sign such agreements either
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 14, 2018
Two days ago when Kellyanne Conway was spinning her alternative facts about NDAs, Chris Lu tried to set the record straight. There are restrictions on classified information, he explained. But a president is supposed to care about transparency and the First Amendment, and so no, there are not NDAs:
Contrast: except for restrictions on disclosing classified information, the Obama White House did not use nondisclosure agreements. Because we worked for a president who believed in transparency and the First Amendment. https://t.co/0eQEO19U5I
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) August 12, 2018
These lies are non-stop for a reason. The Trump administration is conspiring to keep the American public in the dark about their activities, so telling the public that NDAs are common is necessary. Common means “occurring, found, or done often; prevalent.”
How can NDAs be common when they were not done in the last 8 years under Obama, the last 8 years under Bush, and the last 8 years before that under Clinton? What is this “common” to which she refers?
Here is Norm Eisen on CNN explaining that Trump’s NDA are not normal and unconstitutional:
They are not common. They are not acceptable in a democracy that depends on sunlight. Only a dictator demands silence. Trump could try behaving in a way that would not require NDAs of his federal employees, but of course, behaving like a decent person isn’t an option — but silencing federal employees who are accountable to the people, not him, is.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.