Secretary of State John Kerry now has decided, instead of stonewalling, to get to the bottom of who deleted a whole portion of a State Department briefing video that included former spokeswoman Jen Psaki implicitly acknowledging that the State Department lies about stuff.
“The Secretary said he wants to dive deeper into this, look more into what happened, and try to get to the bottom of what happened,” said a State Department spokesman, who last week said the investigation had come to “a dead end.”
Here’s a pretty good summary of the whole mess from a few days ago that gives an idea of why Kerry relented.
The State Department today admitted that a missing portion of a State Department daily briefing video did not disappear because of a technical error, as the department has maintained, but was intentionally deleted.
“A specific request was made to excise that portion of the briefing,” State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted Wednesday. State had previously said it was deleted accidentally, because of a “glitch.” Once the deletion was noticed by reporters, the deleted portion was reinserted.
Another Obama administration scandal. This is patently dishonest and an obvious attempt to hide information. There needs to be a full investigation of who originally ordered the deletion and who instructed that it be covered up by claiming a “glitch” had occurred. I assume only someone at a fairly high level could make such orders.
The video covered questions by Fox News’ James Rosen about the nuclear negotiations with Iran. It included an answer to a question about whether the State Department ever lies in the interest of national Security. The response, by then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki, appeared to suggest the answer was “yes.”
“James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that,” Psaki said.
Kirby maintained that State does not know who deleted part of the video. “We do not know who made the request to edit the video, or why it was made,” Kirby said.
Algeria, which had human rights problems and was heavily lobbying Hillary Clinton’s State Department to get in its good graces, gave half a million bucks in 2010 to the Clinton Foundation, which didn’t follow the protocol of getting approval from the State Department, according to the Washington Post.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, well it was just one case, and we don’t care.
“The fact that the process was not followed in this particular incident does not raise concerns with us,” Psaki said.
In honor of Jen Psaki’s elevation to White House communications director, here for you is a compendium of some of the highlights of her tenure as State department spokeswoman.
Awkward moment alert: Psaki was junior to Josh Earnest when the two served as deputy press secretaries the first year of Obama’s presidency and is generally believed to have been passed over in favor of Earnest when President Obama elevated him to replace Jay Carney as press secretary last year. Now, she’ll be his boss.
Their partnership atop the White House communications food chain makes for a weird combination in Obamaland: They’re both very nice people. I apologize for diminishing them with their colleagues in this way.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki today refused to say that terrorists who attacked a Jewish deli in Paris, killing four people, were targeting Jews, saying it was a matter for the French government to decide.
“There were not all victims of one background or one nationality,” Psaki said.
Actually, they were all Jewish.
Asked if, aside from the individuals, the deli was targeted because it was Jewish, Psaki said, “I don’t think we’re going to speak on behalf of French authorities and what they believe was the situation.”
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest sought to defend Obama’s characterization of the attacks as “random,” saying Obama was referring to the happenstance that the individuals killed were present in the store. Earnest seemed to try to diminish the anti-Semitism involved, commenting that others in the store were not Jewish, although Earnest did ultimately acknowledge that the deli was targeted because it was a Jewish deli.
UPDATE: Earnest and Psaki later tweeted: “Our view has not changed. Terror attack at Paris Kosher market was motivated by anti-Semitism. POTUS didn’t intend to suggest otherwise.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki came armed to a briefing this week with a most pathetic dodge to a question that must have been expected about Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak having his charges dropped. More opacity from the openness administration.
Meanwhile, as one reporter notes, the democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, rots in jail.
Now, I’m certainly not advocating releasing Morsi, a man who would immediately go to work stirring Islamist revolution. What I will note is the double hypocrisy this response reveals about the Obama administration.
It runs around proclaiming itself transparent, and is nothing of the sort. And it lectures other countries on democracy and freedom, while refusing to back up its words with even the slightest condemnation of Mubarak’s get-out-of-jail-free card.
Even Psaki, as you’ll hear, was ashamed of the response.
With Israel under the gun for Gaza War civilian casualties, including accusations by Amnesty International that it committed war crimes, the Obama administration swept to Israel’s defense, showing the United States to be the stalwart ally it has always been as Israel defends itself against neighbors who allow children to be used as shields while they lob bombs onto Israeli’s heads.
Well, not exactly. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki today grumbled that Israel did not doing enough to protect Gaza civilians. Her statement contradicted remarks Thursday by Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, who knows a bit more about war than Psaki and said Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit casualties.
I would point you to the Chairman’s teams for more specifics on his comments, It remains the broad view of the entire administration that they could have done more and that they should have taken more feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.
From Dempsey’s remarks:
I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group . . . In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties.
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