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In a shocking admission, the State Department acknowledged that a portion of a press briefing video on Iran nuclear talks in 2013 was deleted on purpose.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday that there was a “deliberate request” to delete an exchange between Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen and then spokeswoman Jen Psaki, Fox News reported.
“A specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing. We do not know who made the request to edit the video or why it was made,” Kirby said.
Earlier this month, Rosen accused the State Department of scrubbing his question during the 2013 press briefing discussing the nuclear deal with Iran. The administration did not deny that the video portion was removed from the State Department’s official website and its YouTube channel, but Kirby’s comments Wednesday were a stunning admission of a deliberate attempt to delete the exchange.
Kirby admitted that “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.”
“We are going to make clear that all video and transcripts from daily press briefings will be immediately and permanently archived in their entirety,” Kirby said.
He added that he did not know why the portion of video was deleted and was not aware of any other instance where something similar happened.
The portion of video from the December 2, 2013, press briefing showed Rosen asking Psaki about an allegedly false statement made by her predecessor Victoria Nuland. “James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that,” Psaki had replied.
The deletion of nearly eight minutes of footage was originally attributed to a technical glitch by the State Department. Kirby’s admission of someone deliberately removing the damning footage was a “big deal” and a “significant moment” noted Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier on “Your World” Wednesday.
In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Psaki weighed in on the revelation claiming she knew nothing about any editing.
I had no knowledge of nor would I have approved of any form of editing or cutting my briefing transcript on any subject while @StateDept
— Jen Psaki (@Psaki44) June 1, 2016
Watch video of the press briefing with Kirby’s relevant comments at the 23:40 mark.
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Video from C-SPAN.
Video from Fox News.