Unlike the press briefings that followed the killing of Osama bin Laden, White House press secretary Jay Carney largely refused to answer questions about the U.S.-led drone attack that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Islamic preacher turned propaganda chief for al-Qaida, in Yemen on Friday.
"This is a significant fact, that al-Awlaki is dead," Carney told reporters. "Questions about the circumstances about his death . . . I'm not going to get into."
Samir Khan, the Saudi-born American publisher of an al-Qaida propaganda magazine called Inspire, was also killed in the operation.
Carney declined to engage reporters who wanted the White House to offer evidence of al-Awlaki's role in global terrorism, or why al-Awlaki--an American citizen--wasn't given due process.
"What do you think constitutional law professor Barack Obama would make of all this?" one reporter asked.
"I think he spoke about it today," a smirking Carney replied.
Perhaps the White House learned its lesson after the killing of bin Laden, whom officials first said was armed and had used his wife as a human shield. Two days later, Carney was forced revise the initial account in a press briefing with reporters.
"In the room with bin Laden, a woman--bin Laden's--a woman, rather, bin Laden's wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed," Carney said. "Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed."