The director of State Department press relations told reporters Tuesday that a glitch was likely responsible for the mysterious disappearance of a portion of video from a press briefing in 2013 that reportedly shows the Obama administration deceiving the media and public to sell the Iran nuclear deal.
Elizabeth Trudeau was responding to a story that Fox News’ James Rosen reported the night before on how the administration had campaigned extensively to deceive the media and the American people about key aspects of the Iran agreement. In his report, Rosen said he just learned that video from the State Department’s press briefing on December 2, 2013, had, with the use of a white flash, been deleted from the department’s website and its Youtube channel.
In the deleted clip, Rosen described that he confronted spokeswoman Jen Psaki about the "false statement" made by her predecessor, Victoria Nuland, that the United States and Iran were not engaged in secret nuclear negotiations in early 2013.
"In that exchange, Psaki effectively admitted that the administration had lied to me because the diplomacy [between the United States and Iran] needed ‘privacy,’" Rosen said. "The State Department told me just moments ago it cannot explain this deletion and is working to restore the excised material."
At Tuesday’s department press briefing, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked Trudeau to explain what happened.
"The transcript from that daily press briefing and video was always available," Trudeau responded. "The transcript was on State.gov. The video was available on other sites. There was a glitch in the State Department video. When Fox flagged it for us, we actually replaced it with a video from DVIDS, which is the military repository where a lot of news media gets its video. The whole video was there, and we also annotated it on our Youtube channel."
"A glitch, that just seems awfully strange and coincidental," Lee said.
Trudeau told Lee the State Department is looking into the matter, repeating that the genuine belief is that a glitch is what caused the deletion.
Lee then asked if there are other briefing videos that have undergone a similar experience.
"Not to our knowledge at all," Trudeau said in response. "What we‘re taking a look at is process. We were unaware of it, and as soon as we found out about it, we made sure it was whole."
Lee pushed the question, saying he is trying to figure out what could have possibly caused this one portion to be deleted.
"You know what, it’s something we’re looking into," Trudeau said, adding that the department is changing its procedures and is prioritizing transparency to the media.
"I don’t want to call it an investigation because that makes it formal. What we’re looking at is what happened," she continued. "I would characterize it as a glitch."
Trudeau said she would let the press know more about the situation when the department learns more.
"And hopefully this will be, you know, not going to take a year," Lee then said.