A few hours ago, State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner bid adieu to journalist Arshad Mohammed who was having his last briefing in the building before turning to other pursuits. I was duly impressed with the journalist's command of the English language as he began to speak before composing the last few questions which he addressed to the spokesperson.
QUESTION: If you will allow me to apostrophize for a moment, these briefings have sometimes seemed otiose or almost pyrrhic – (laughter) – but I have greatly enjoyed our exegetical and Talmudic efforts to understand American foreign policy. I’ve used all five of those words in briefings over the last dozen or more years. (Laughter.) I’ve had enormous --
MR TONER: Well put.
QUESTION: I’ve had enormous fun and I wish everybody in the room, those on this side of the podium and those on that side of the podium, well as you keep doing this.
Mr. Toner was asked by another journalist about the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.
MR TONER: So I mean, since Israel’s founding, the administrations of both parties have maintained a consistent policy here and that is recognizing no state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem. And we remain committed to this long-standing policy – we, the Obama Administration.
QUESTION: But in fact, there was a congressional act in 1995 that was supposed – that called for the moving the embassy by 1999 if they allocated the money. And ever since then, presidents have used a waiver.
MR TONER: That’s correct.
QUESTION: They used the executive waiver. So there is nothing in the law that will prevent moving the embassy. But it is up to the discretion of the president, correct?
MR TONER: It is correct that administrations since, as you note, 1995 have consistently exercised a waiver, because it’s been determined – they’ve determined, we’ve determined, that it is in our national security interests to do so.
QUESTION: And will that be the advice that you give the coming administration?
MR TONER: I would think, as we consult with the incoming administration, we’ll certainly make sure they understand, which is all we can do, our rationale behind exercising that waiver.
Eagle rescued after being stuck in storm drain in Orange County Seeing the pictures of the two eagles in the drain, I couldn't help wonder if there was a message for us.