The State Department acknowledged today that an archived video of a December 2, 2013 press briefing was intentionally edited to remove a portion of a conversation about the Iran nuclear talks. Previously, the Department had tried to blame the removal on a “glitch.”
The deleted segment of the briefing featured Fox News reporter James Rosen asking then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki whether the Obama administration had lied about having secret talks with Iran in 2011. Psaki essentially admitted that it had.
Rosen inquired, “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?” Psaki responded, “James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”
The start date of the Iran nuclear negotiations is back in the spotlight because of a New York Times Magazine piece in which Ben Rhodes admitted that the Obama administration “largely manufactured” a narrative for the Iran deal in order to garner support for it. A key element of the manufactured narrative was that negotiations began in 2013 with the election of a “moderate” Iranian president.
It looks like the State Department tried, by editing the video, to cover up the administration’s lie about when Iran negotiations commenced (together with the admission that it is willing to lie), and then lied again by claiming that the cover up was the product of a glitch.
Who requested the scrubbing? The State Department claims not to know. It says that officials “tried” to determine who ordered the edit, “but it was three years ago and the individual who took the call [to edit the tape] just simply doesn’t have a better memory of it.”
Jen Psaki, who made the admission that needed to be deleted, is an obvious suspect. She denies responsibility.
Will the State Department launch an investigation? No, it will not. Current spokesperson John Kirby says:
There were no rules governing this sort of action in the past, so I find no reason to press forward with a more formal or deeper investigation. What matters to me — and I take it seriously — is our commitment to transparency and disclosure.
The Obama State Department just can’t stop lying.
NOTE: This post has been revised. I eliminated a paragraph that evinced confusion over the time line of relevant events.