Outrage Rising Over State Department’s Wiping of Official Video Showing Obama Administration Lie About Iran Deal (VIDEO)
The US State Department is facing a wave of angry criticism after a spokesman confirmed that someone inside the department made a “deliberate request” for the scrubbing of part of an official video showing the Obama administration misled journalists on the Iran deal.
State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted to reporters on Wednesday that the missing footage of a December 2013 press briefing “wasn’t a technical glitch.” During the 2013 briefing, then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed to Fox News reporter James Rosen that earlier claims of direct, secret talks between the US and Iran — which were denied in February 2013 by then-spokesperson Victoria Nuland — were indeed true. “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that,” Psaki said regarding the discrepancy.
Fox News discovered earlier this month that the exchange had been edited out of official State Department archive footage — including eight minutes of comments and further questions on the Iran deal. Officials suggested a “glitch” had occurred.
On Wednesday, Kirby said the State Department had subsequently investigated the matter and found that on the same day as the briefing, a video editor received a call from a State Department public affairs official who issued “a specific request…to excise that portion of the briefing.” No further investigation will be held, he said, since the State Department has reached a dead end.
On Thursday, the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, demanding the full footage of the December 2013 press briefing as well as “documents sufficient to identify, by name and job title, the individual or individuals who made and received the request to deliberately delete the video footage.” The State Department has until 5 pm on June 8 to comply with the committee’s requests.
On Friday, Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter to the State Department’s Inspector General (IG), Steve Linick, to request an investigation into the incident.
Royce wrote, “In tampering with this video, the Bureau of Public Affairs has undermined its mission to ‘communicate timely and accurate information with the goal of furthering U.S. foreign policy.’ This is all the more troubling given that the video in question dealt with hugely consequential nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper devoted part of his Thursday evening show to the scandal, in which he sharply rebuked the Obama administration and accused the White House of lying to the public on three separate but substantive matters:
There was a first lie told to us about the secret talks between Iran and the Obama administration. We’ll call that lie number one. Now Jen Psaki acknowledged lie number one later that year, 2013. But then someone removed that acknowledgement from the official video. Let’s refer to the scrubbing as lie number two. And then, three weeks ago, we were lied to again, with the whole glitch thing. We’ll call that lie number three.
Tapper said there “are so many questions about all three of these lies,” including whether the first lie had anything to do with the Obama administration’s pushed narrative to sell the Iran deal. “Just as the public has the right to know the truth, we have a right to know who lied to us and why,” Tapper said. The video edit is “a scrubbing of the public record and should outrage every American.”
Speaking to The Algemeiner on Friday, a senior official at a Washington, DC-based organization active in the Iran deal debate said the “administration’s earlier dishonesty is being exposed and now they are scrambling to cover it up, and that’s creating its own problems.”
“The Obama administration misled the American people, journalists and lawmakers about the extent of American concessions and about what the Iranians were obligated to do as part of the deal,” he said. “They overplayed Iranian concessions and underplayed American ones. The administration clearly hoped the Iranians would play along for at least a year or two without pushing the envelope and exposing their dishonesty. However, the Iranians refused to play along because they are actually hardliners who want to undermine American interests.”
According to the official, the scrubbing scandal is now part of a larger net of lies cast by the Obama administration regarding the nuclear deal. “This is exactly what it looks like. The administration lied. They covered it up. And now they have to lie about the coverup,” the source told The Algemeiner.
The footage of Psaki’s comments gained new significance last month in light of a New York Times Magazine profile of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, who boasted of misleading the American public to garner support for the Iran deal. Rhodes revealed how he created an “echo chamber” among susceptible young journalists, policy experts and officials to spin the administration’s narrative of the nuclear agreement, including false and misleading claims.
Watch CNN’s Jake Tapper’s remarks below: