Information buried in an internal State Department review has compounded allegations that the Department intentionally deleted an exchange about secret talks between the United States and Iran from a press briefing video, Fox News reports.
The clipped December 2013 exchange featured Fox News reporter James Rosen asking then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki whether the Obama administration had lied about having bilateral talks with Iran—a claim that Psaki did not deny, but that her predecessor, Victoria Nuland, had denied months before.
"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?" Rosen said in the video.
"James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that," Psaki said.
State had initially claimed that a white flash in the video replacing that exchange had been a "glitch," but admitted in June that the relevant portion of the video was removed by "specific request."
In addressing the deletion Thursday, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that there was "no evidence" that the footage was edited "with the intent to conceal information from the public," though an internal review by the Department found evidence to the contrary.
Fox News reports:
Kirby explained Thursday that a technician in the department's Bureau of Public Affairs recalled receiving a telephone call from a female superior back in December 2013, ordering the editing of the video. The legal adviser's report said that while the technician "did not believe" the call had come from Psaki, the technician was otherwise unable to remember the identity of the superior. ... What Kirby omitted was that the legal adviser's report -- shared with news organizations on condition they not publish it in full -- did indeed contain evidence to indicate why the unidentified supervisor demanded the deletion, in a section of the report captioned "Evidence of Purposeful Editing." "The technician did not recall a reason being given for the edit request," the report stated, "but did believe that the requester had mentioned in the course of the call a Fox network reporter and Iran." The report continued: "The technician indicated that the requester may also have provided the start and end times for an edit." The disclosure that the superior official specifically cited a Fox News reporter and his questioning about Iran when demanding the edit, and "may" even have provided the start and end times that ensured the relevant exchange would be excised, suggest the editing was a more deliberate act of censorship than State Department investigators and Kirby have publicly acknowledged.
Read more at Fox News.