Toner: 'I'm Under No Obligation' to Discuss Investigation Into Video Deletion

June 2, 2016

State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner told Reuters reporter Arshad Mohammed Thursday that he had no obligation to discuss the investigation into the deleted video from a December 2013 briefing.

Pressed by Mohammed for details on the staffer responsible, Toner appeared to lose his cool a bit.

"Let's be very clear when we're talking about transparency. I'm not going to get up here and reveal to you from this podium every detail of what is an internal, albeit by our legal office, internal investigation into what happened," Toner said. "I'm under no obligation to do that."

Toner said that not revealing any information would be out of respect for the privacy of the individuals involved.

Mohammed had pressed Toner if the State Department had known the gender of who made the call to selectively edit out James Rosen and Jen Psaki's exchange on secret negotiations between Iran and the Obama administration, and whether it was acceptable to lie about such negotiations. Toner said investigators did know the gender but were not going to reveal it.

"That's not very transparent of you," Mohammed said.

The State Department said on Wednesday that there was a request for Rosen's question to be deleted out of a 2013 press briefing with Psaki. The State Department had previously called the edit a glitch.

State Department officials cannot remember who made the call to delete the question but recently put in place a policy disclosing if a video had been edited.

"What I am obligated to do is to explain to you, and I think John did as well yesterday, that we realized this an intentional action. We've taken steps to address it, we've investigated the incident as far as we can take it at this point in time, and we're taking steps to correct it [so] that a similar incident doesn't happen in the future," Toner said.