Reporter Slams State Dept For Lack Of Transparency

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee slammed the State Department today for not giving useful accounts of meetings with top foreign officials by State Department officials. Lee expressed his frustration saying that he didn't want to hear a generic explanation of a meeting without a list of possible topics. "I'm not being factitious," Lee assured the State Department Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell. "I know you're not, Matt," Ventrell replied. "If we could actually get some remnant of scrap of substance," Lee pleaded before being cut off by Ventrell to answer another question.

Transcript:

MR. VENTRELL: Yeah. So the Secretary will meet with Joint Special Representative Brahimi here at the State Department this afternoon to discuss the troubling situation in Syria. We applaud Mr. Brahimi’s efforts to advance a political solution to the conflict in Syria within the framework of the Geneva communique, and we reiterate our support for his mission despite the challenging circumstances.
QUESTION: Has that meeting happened?
MR. VENTRELL: That meeting is happening shortly.
QUESTION: It has not happened?
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah, it’s happening here in a few minutes.
QUESTION: Will you be able to offer us some details of what they talked about once the meeting is over?
MR. VENTRELL: We’ll certainly endeavor to do so. Certainly, the topics are Syria, so – but we’ll endeavor to see what we can do about a readout.
QUESTION: That – well, that’s – the topic is Syria.
MR. VENTRELL: Right.
QUESTION: Yeah. Well, I was hoping for something a little bit more exact.
MR. VENTRELL: I know you are, Matt.
QUESTION: If you can drill down a little bit on the granularity. Maybe like: Assad future, situation on the ground – and I’m not trying to be facetious.
MR. VENTRELL: No, I know you’re not, Matt.
QUESTION: But I would prefer that it not be, “The Secretary and Mr. Brahimi met and spoke about issues of mutual concern.”
MR. VENTRELL: All right. We’ll endeavor to --
QUESTION: Because, frankly, I read enough of the New Light of Myanmar many years ago, and we don’t need those kinds of readouts anymore. So I’d also make the same plea for the Arab League meeting.
MR. VENTRELL: Okay. Let me clear, though --
QUESTION: If we could actually get some remnant of scrap of substance in what the readout --
MR. VENTRELL: Let me be clear here, though, Matt. The purpose is to encourage him to continue in his good work, and so that’s really the message that Secretary wants.

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