Wednesday, June 1, 2016

State Dept admits press briefing video was intentionally edited

Earlier this year, journalists discovered that several minutes of the 2013 press briefing had been deleted from an archived video posted on YouTube. The deleted segment of tape included a discussion related to the nuclear deal with Iran, and a suggestion by spokeswoman Jen Psaki that negotiations for that deal had begun earlier than previously disclosed.

The State Department a few weeks ago blamed the missing portion of the video on a “glitch,” but did a rapid about-face on Wednesday.

In reviewing the events surrounding the missing videotape, State Department officials “learned that a specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing,” spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “We do not know who made the request to edit the video or why it was made.”

Officials “tried” to determine who ordered the edit, the spokesman added, “but it was three years ago and the individual who took the call [to edit the tape] just simply doesn’t have a better memory of it."

The order to edit the tape came from somewhere in the department's Public Affairs Bureau, he said.

Psaki, who is now the White House director of communications, denied that she was responsible for the scrubbing.

“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,” she said on Twitter.

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