The State Department has been insisting for months that footage of a 2013 press briefing on the Iran nuclear deal was wiped out by a “technical glitch.” On Wednesday, State Dept. spokesman John Kirby admitted the glitch excuse was untrue, and the footage was deliberately deleted, but the State Dept. allegedly doesn’t know who did it or why.
The press briefing in question featured then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki dealing with another lie: Her false statement that no direct talks were underway between the United States and Iran.
When James Rosen of Fox News called Psaki out, she replied, “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”
In other words, Psaki was admitting what Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes would later brag about in ill-advised comments to the New York Times that portrayed the media as easily manipulated by Obama’s team. Rhodes was particularly pleased with how media dupes served as “force multipliers” for the president’s false narrative on Iran.
As Fox News said last month, Psaki’s response to Rosen suggested that “the media needed to be manipulated at times, so the Administration could accomplish its goals.”
The reason Fox was talking about a 2013 press briefing in May 2016 was that Rosen’s entire exchange with Psaki had been cut from the State Department’s official website and YouTube channel. Eight minutes of video were vaporized, in the sort of white flash Iran has been promising to arrange for its enemies once it gets nuclear weapons.
When the deleted video was pointed out to them, State Department spokespeople claimed it was a “glitch” and promised to get to the bottom of it.
“We’re still looking into it. We continue to take a look at our process at that time, and also making sure that something like that obviously never happens again,” said spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau on May 10.
But on Wednesday, current spokesman Kirby admitted, “There was a deliberate request – this wasn’t a technical glitch.”
Kirby then launched into the kind of circus performance Americans have come to expect from their gigantic government during the Obama era, as described by Fox News:
[Kirby] said he couldn’t find out who was responsible, but described such action as unacceptable.
While saying there were “no rules [or] regulations in place that prohibited” this at the time, Kirby said: “Deliberately removing a portion of the video was not and is not in keeping with the State Department’s commitment to transparency and public accountability.”
Kirby said he learned that on the same day of the 2013 briefing, a video editor received a call from a State Department public affairs official who made “a specific request … to excise that portion of the briefing.”
Kirby says he has since ordered the original video restored on all platforms and asked the State Department’s legal adviser to examine the matter. He said no further investigation will be made, primarily because no rules were in place against such actions.
Kirby said he has ordered new rules created to prevent a recurrence.
This is the same State Department that has been repeatedly reprimanded by judges for slow-walking the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server. It recently claimed it could not find any emails from the technician who set up Clinton’s systems. Maybe they all disappeared in a “white flash” too, or some mysterious masked figure swung into Foggy Bottom and told the staff to delete them, and they’ll just never know who that guy was.
Clearly, our national security is in the very best of hands, as we roll into the final months of the Most Transparent Administration in History.