State Department: We Hit a 'Dead End' in Investigation of Video Deletion

June 2, 2016

Spokesman Mark Toner said that the State Department has hit a "dead end" in their investigation of a video deletion from a December 2013 briefing, saying a "common sense" approach was used.

Toner took multiple questions on the story Thursday after John Kirby admitted the day before to a staffer excising video from the public record under orders from an unknown superior. Both Toner and Kirby said the staffer responsible for the deletion could not remember who asked her to do it.

Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee asked Toner if they were systematically going through the roster of employees that had authority to call for that footage to be deleted.

"But you're not going through the roster of staff that there was at the time–," he asked, before Toner said that they'd looked at all of that.

"I think you can rest assured that we have, obviously, taken common sense steps to look at—" Toner replied.

"Well apparently, I don't know if we can rest assured that you've taken common sense," Lee said. "It would be common sense not to edit the video in the first place. If common sense were what we were operating on here, our assumption of common sense, we wouldn't be having this conversation at all."

He asked if there was anyone else "still actively trying to find out who and why? Or, is it just done?"

Toner said that they hit a "dead end."

"We’ve carried out the necessary investigation," he said. "We have hit a dead end in terms of finding out more information. If more information does become available, if we are made aware of more information about who might have been behind this request, we’ll of course investigate."

Lee asked to what end this would be investigated by the Department since it was not a violation of policy.

"This was not in any violation of existing policy or regulations," Toner said.

"But, it should have been," Lee responded. "Correct?"

"We’re correcting that going forward," Toner said.