The State Department said Thursday that after nearly three months of investigation, it doesn't know why a 2013 press briefing video was altered to remove a section in which a spokeswoman appears to admit that officials sometimes lie in public.
The department also doesn't know who ordered the video to be edited.
Nonetheless, spokesman John Kirby said there's nothing else to be done about it now, and that it's time for the department to "move on."
"I understand that these results may not be completely satisfying to everyone," Kirby said. "I think we would all have preferred to arrive at clear and convincing answers. But that's not where the evidence of the memories of so many employees about an event which happened more than two and a half years ago have taken us.
"We have to accept the facts as we have found them, learn from them, and move on."
On the actual investigation, Kirby said it could not be determined who ordered the video to be edited, even though just months ago, he said it could only have been one of a handful of people
"What we were not able to determine is why the edit was made in the first place," he said. "There's no evidence to suggest it was made with the intent to conceal information from the public, and while the technician recalls receiving a phone call requesting the edit, there is no evidence to indicate who might have placed that call or why."
The department initially blamed the edited video on a technical "glitch" over the summer. But soon after, State admitted it was done on purpose.
On Thursday, Kirby did hold open the idea that the edit may have been made to fix some technical glitch related to how the video was made. But he said it has no evidence that it was made to hide information.
That explanation goes against the speculation that has run rampant for months now — that the edit most likely was made to cover up a comment from then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki. In 2013, she was asked if officials ever lie to the public to protect national security interests.
"James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that," Psaki said.
That back and forth related to a discussion about when the Iran nuclear talks started, and occurred after it became clear that the talks started earlier than when the Obama administration first suggested.
Psaki's comment was widely seen as a coy but affirmative answer, confirming that officials do sometimes lie to the public.
Kirby said more than 30 current and former State Department employees were interviewed in the course of the investigation. The investigation was restarted after State first said it hit a dead end, and Secretary of State John Kerry called for a second effort.
Kirby said Kerry himself was not interviewed for the investigation.
Kirby also said the video edited just minutes after the video was produced in 2013. But he had no information about why that might have been done.
Just before Kirby delivered the department's stated explanation of what happened, Judicial Watch announced a lawsuit seeking all documents related to the episode.