On Wednesday, the State Department admitted to altering the 2013 Iran press conference footage, where comments by spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki about the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the US were deleted. Finally, the department is coming clean by divulging that an unidentified administration official ordered that the comments be removed.
In the press conference back on Dec. 2, 2013 then-State Department spokeswomen, Jen Psaki was asked “Is it the policy of the State Department, where the preservation or the secrecy of secret negotiations is concerned, to lie in order to achieve that goal?” Paki then answered “James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that. Obviously, we have made clear and laid out a number of details in recent weeks about discussions and about a bilateral channel that fed into the P5+1 negotiations, and we’ve answered questions on it, we’ve confirmed details. We’re happy to continue to do that, but clearly, this was an important component leading up to the agreement that was reached a week ago.”
This missing section of the video reveals that the government was having secret discussions with Iran even though formerly they claimed not to.Previously, the State Department claimed that this section was missing due to a technical glitch. The State’s Elizabeth Trudeau reiterated that it was merely a glitch when Fox News correspondent James Rosen asked about the tampered footage.
John Kirby, State Department spokesman stated that this altered video was examined and it was discovered that “a specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing.” However, he also said it hasn’t been determined who specifically was the one who requested the video edit.
The person who received the request conveniently “doesn’t remember” who directed that the video be edited. “It was three years ago and the individual who took the call just simply doesn’t have a memory of it,” said Kirby.
On Thursday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner followed up saying that after what seems like a rather brief investigation into the matter, they had hit a dead end. “Until we find reason to pursue that investigation further, you know, we’re at a dead end,” said Toner.
But, many are arguing that this weak investigation isn’t enough and the department needs to be held accountable for this mistake.
“This incident is so appalling, it’s almost comical. In the old Soviet Union, if Stalin decided he didn’t like you, you disappeared but then you were airbrushed out of all the pictures, the photographs that had been taken in the past. And this was a source of a lot of amusement in the West. The old joke was, ‘Everywhere else it’s impossible to predict the future, in the Soviet Union, impossible to predict the past.’ This is now happening in the U.S. They tried to pass it off as a glitch. So that was either an obvious lie or a lame attempt at a cover-up. And I love what Kirby had to say today, the State Department spokesman. He said, ‘This was not and is not in keeping with the State Department’s commitment to transparency.’ Well no kidding, Sherlock. When you actually lie about deleting history, that is not transparent,” said Charles Krauthammer, an American Pulitzer Prize-winning Reporter for Fox News.