The State Department said Wednesday that a segment of an archived press briefing video from December 2, 2013 was deliberately removed at the request of a person within the agency.
The missing question and answer session involved the timing of the Iran nuclear deal negotiations and occurred between then State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki and FOX News correspondent James Rosen.
In the exchange with Psaki, Rosen suggested that former spokesperson Victoria Nuland had misled reporters during a 2012 briefing by denying the existence of government to government discussions between the U.S. and Iran. Rosen then asked Psaki whether it is the State Department’s policy to lie in order to preserve the secrecy of negotiations.
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“I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress,” Psaki responded. “I think this is a good example of that.”
It was Rosen who first discovered and reported the absence of the video in May of this year following a New York Times article which portrayed White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as bragging that his war room had created an “echo-chamber” for hundreds of often clueless reporters covering the negotiations.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby said there were no rules or regulations against the removal of the video at the time the incident occurred, but the agency was working to change the rules to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.
The person involved in the editing could not recall who had made the original request but remembered it being unusual enough to bring it to the attention of their supervisor. The supervisor felt the request came from a person with enough authority and credibility to carry it out.
The supervisor could not recall the person within the Public Affairs bureau who made the original request,
The full video of the briefing has since been restored and was always available in full on the State Department DVIDs website as was the full transcript of the briefing on the State Department website.
Abigail Williams is a producer in the NBC News Washington bureau.