CNN’s Jake Tapper slammed the State Department on Thursday over reports that someone within the department intentionally deleted footage from a 2013 press conference about the Iran nuclear deal.
“Its literally someone at the State Department trying to bury something, hiding it from you … a scrubbing of the public record,” Tapper said. “It should outrage every American.”
Tapper was referring to State Department spokesman John Kirby’s stunning admission Wednesday that video of an eight-minute exchange between a Fox News reporter and former State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was intentionally deleted by someone within the State Department.
When first questioned in early May about the deleted footage — which showed Fox News reporter James Rosen asking then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki whether secret talks had occurred between the US and Iran prior to 2013 — press-office director Elizabeth Trudeau said it was “a glitch” and that no one had intentionally edited the video.
“It wasn’t a glitch,” Kirby admitted Wednesday.
The deleted back-and-forth between Rosen and Psaki was potentially embarrassing for the State Department.
Psaki had essentially admitted to Rosen that nuclear talks had taken place as early as 2011, even though p
art of the administration’s public-relations push for the deal was convincing sceptics that Obama did not begin to negotiate the deal until after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — pushed by the White House as a “moderate” — took office in 2013.
“There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress,” Psaki told Rosen. “This is a good example of that.”
Tapper slammed Psaki’s comments, too, saying that “the implication there from Psaki is that sometimes the government needs to deceive the public and the press to achieve goals.”
The CNN anchor went on to recap the “lies” told by Obama administration as it went about “doctoring the record.”
“There were no secret talks between the Obama administration and Iran — we’ll call that ‘lie No. 1,'” Tapper said. The scrubbing of the video, Tapper said, was “lie No. 2,” and Trudeau’s claim that it was “a glitch” was “lie No. 3.”
In a statement, Kirby said “this happened three years ago” and that “the recipient of the call doesn’t remember anything other than the caller, the individual who called this technician, was passing on a request from someone else within the public affairs bureau.”
Psaki has also denied any involvement, insisting that
“I had no knowledge of nor would I have approved of any form of editing or cutting my briefing transcript on any subject while at the State Department. I believe deeply in providing the press as much information on important issues as possible.”
Kirby noted that while there “were no rules governing this sort of action in the past, so I find no reason to press forward with a deeper investigation.” But he said he will “make sure we have the right rules in place” to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Tapper found the entire situation unacceptable.
“The Obama administration needs to understand that it is not acceptable just to leave this where it is,” he said. “Just as the public has a right to know the truth, we have a right to know who lied to us.”
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