No “Glitch”: State Department Admits That Press Briefing Was Intentionally Edited To Remove Passage . . . But Insisted It Cannot Find Official Responsible

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.34.11 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.34.37 PMYou may recall the controversy of a press conference at the State Department was later edited to remove an embarrassing question and answer regarding the Iran negotiations. When the exchange with Fox New Reporter James Rosen was found missing, Elizabeth Trudeau, director of the press office insisted that “Genuinely, we think it was a glitch.” Now, the State Department is admitting that it was not a glitch but an intentional editing of the transcript to remove the exchange. However, State Department spokesman John Kirby insists that they cannot determine who ordered the deletion.

The exchange occurred in 2013 when Rosen got then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki to admit to misleading the press on the Iran nuclear deal. (Psaki is now White House Communications Director). Rosen reminded Psaki that he had asked in February whether there were bilateral talks with Iran on the issue. Then-spokesperson Victoria Nuland denied that such talks were underway by saying “on a government-to-government level, no.” In fact, there were such talks underway. In December, Rosen asked Psaki “Is it the policy of the State Department, where the preservation or the secrecy of secret negotiations is concerned, to lie in order to achieve that goal?” Psaki responded: “James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.” That seemed to confirm the obvious that the Administration had lied to the media and the public.

When Rosen later tried to retrieve the exchange however it was gone. When he raised it, it was described as a glitch.

Now, Kirby has admitted that “There was a deliberate request [to delete the footage] – this wasn’t a technical glitch.” He said that an official contacted the video editor to “excise” the exchange. He further admits that it was a State Department public affairs official who made “a specific request … to excise that portion of the briefing.” Yet, he insists in this relatively small group, they could not find the culprit.

Moreover, that would indicate that there is an official at the State Department who is actively hiding his or her conduct in the matter. Since there was no rule expressly prohibiting such editing, there will be no investigation. That is remarkably convenient since, even if there was no rule per se, the Administration admits that the action was “unacceptable.” Moreover, there is an official who took this unacceptable action who has remained silent despite efforts to discover the responsible party. That would seem worthy of an investigation.

36 thoughts on “No “Glitch”: State Department Admits That Press Briefing Was Intentionally Edited To Remove Passage . . . But Insisted It Cannot Find Official Responsible”

  1. tnash

    The concepts offered by those that suggested more troops were focused on what to do after the initial battle(s) had been won. It was considered by almost all who offered opinions that the Taliban and Sadam would be beaten quickly. The major concern, voiced in most newspapers, by those with and/or without military or Vietnam experience was how to follow through. The failure of the Soviets had been primarily due to not following their military moves with those that would consolidate the various victories.

    Most wars followed by only an occupation force end up spawning another war. The advice in Afghanistan that was not taken seriously by the three stooges was to send in enough troops to seal the border with Pakistan and do it quickly. The force(s) that initially ousted the Taliban were insufficient and laid back long enough to allow enough of the opposition to escape.

    The other advice that went unheeded in Afghanistan was to immediately start rebuilding and administering the country. Instead the stooges decided to let the warlords take back what they had lost to the Taliban, give them billions in US currency, and dick around with trying to let the corruption heal itself. Most of the present day problems in Afghanistan are a result of these initial failures in not properly following up and not capturing enough of the ‘bad guys’.

    In Iraq this was even more graphic. The ‘shock and awe’ approach worked extremely well. The Iraqi military crumbled and an eight month vacuum followed. During that time the US military stayed out of the civil conditions which were left without policing by the former authorities. Hospitals, and government buildings were looted and ransacked. Women were raped on the streets. The population experienced chaos and brutality as their order, regardless of how distasteful it was, was not replaced by another. The biggest journalistic response by the US and the rest of the world was concerning museums losing their treasures.

    Gangs of thugs with no affiliations, religious or otherwise, took over large areas of Bagdad. Thugs organized around religious conditions, either majorities going after former minority rulers or just because one side tied their rug differently than the other, ventured into neighborhoods and created chaos. The US military was, for the most part, sitting back ‘discussing’ stuff. Then Brenner, the poodle sent in by the three stooges disbanded the Iraqi army and other policing potential. This poured gasoline onto the flames as hundreds of thousands of young men were set loose without a monthly paycheck but with a first hand knowledge of weapons and fighting.

    While this was happening this and that mullah, such as Sadr, started organizing militias and various neighborhoods became militarized. Now when the US considered acting, they were not up against gangs of roving thugs in a vacuum but organized religious backed militias. The moment had come and gone where the US could have taken control. The three stooges caused the mess found today.

    What could have been is speculation. The effects of the British and French partitioning of the area post Ottoman explain only so much. The opportunity was there and the proof that a strong follow up and organized military incursion into the fabric of the local society would have stopped the festering that is the present day situation can be seen with the surge and its results. There were no US flags rolled up under the beds of millions of Iraqis who all wanted just to be American. Larry, Curly, and Moe didn’t have a clue, kinda like Vietnam.

    1. Isaac…..they didn’t then have the benefit of the Obama/ Clinton foreign policy skills…..pissing away the benefits of the surge in Iraq, overthrowing Gaddafi, announcing that Mubarek must go, making the “Arab Spring” world safe for democracy.
      If Obama had not made good on his long-term pledge to” end the war in Iraq”, there might still be some real turmoil there.

  2. tnash

    I remember watching a list of commentators that were aired before the final decision to invade Iraq was accomplished. It started with ‘old wise’ soldiers from the Vietnam era, generals and the like, some retired, some still in service. It started with a commonly held axiom, ‘if you’re going to go in, go in big and not half way’. This was, of course as is history now, the major complaint of military men regarding Vietnam, or having their hands tied. There were at least two generals who gave 400,000 and 450,000 as the ideal number.

    (Before the invasion of Afghanistan there was little to no discussion. There was no parade of commentators but the similar numbers, 400,000 to 450,000 were mentioned from similar experienced soldiers. I do not recall who but it is a given that there were those who advised high and those that advised low. The mistakes were made in Afghanistan it became apparent that there were not enough troops to do what should have been done, lock down the country first, rebuild it second, and finish wiping out the Taliban and the rest of the extremists.)

    As the list of commentators went on I noticed the ages and experience changed from older and wiser, i.e. experienced first hand, to younger and beaming new age technology, or shock and awe. The parade of commentators ended with shiny pennies parroting Rumsfeld and Cheney and their theory that shock and awe will topple the leadership and then the people, who are all closet Americans, will unfurl the American flags they have stowed under their beds and rush out into the streets to greet the troops.

    The initial shock and awe of taking out the leadership worked. But, then the administration choked. They sat around wondering what to do for eight months while chaos festered. When the Muslim militias started to organize the population and restore order, albeit with considerable sectarian fighting, it was too late. The three stooges had cast the dye. The cycle of revenge was under way and we have what we have.

    1. Isaac……Gen. Shinseka is on the record (in early 2003) recommending hindreds of thousands of troops for GULF WAR II and its aftermath.
      He got a lot of pushback from Rumsfeld on that recommendation….I don’t remember many others, on either side, debating the proper size of the invasion/ occupation forces.
      I haven’t found any major public debate re the required troop levels prior to, and in the early stages of (2001-2002), the Afghanistan war.
      The “light footprints” strategy involved reliance on the Northern Alliance and others to supplement U.S./ NATO forces.
      The concern was that an overwhelming U.S. presence, along with forces from c.50 other countries, would provoke a backlash.
      Without real cooperation from Pakistan, I’m not convinced that even a much larger force could have been completely successful.
      The Iraq invasion did not help the situation in Afghanistan. In my opinion, Afghanistan was THE priority, and the Iraqi Gulf War II was a blunder which drained resources from Afghanistan.

      1. tnash – General Montgomery wanted a 2-1 advantage over his opponents before he would attack. Patton just wanted to attack. Patton did more with less. So, for one style of general you would want 500,000 troops, for another 250,000.

        1. Paul C. Schulte……I think Gen. McClellan always wanted twice as many troops ( regardless of how many he already had) in the Civil War.
          The “traditional” warfare if WWII involved huge battlefield struggles, and, relatively speaking, an easy occupation of defeated homogeneous countries.
          The reverse is true with Iraq and Afghanistan….dislodging the Saddam or Taliban governments involved short, decivise campaigns.
          The subsequent occupation/ pacification is the major struggle.
          The major reduction in firces in the 1990s didn’t help in our ability to take on two wars at the same time.
          Servicemen in Vietnam might be required to one 12 month tour.
          Multiple tours were frequent in the Iraq-Afghanistan conflicts.
          Absent conscription, it’s difficult to rapidly build up a military that’s been downsized.

          1. Tom – the usual take on McClellan is that he was a fine organizer and trainer, but hated to lose any of his “boys” so avoided battle.

  3. Isaac… mentioned that top advisors, including top military advisors, recommended 450,000 troops for the invasion of Afghanistan.
    I remember Gen. Shinseki recommended several hundred thousand troops for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but not the 450,000 you mentioned for Afghanistan.
    Which advisors/ officials recommended the 450,000 for Afghanistan?

  4. I suppose that Prof Turley would have denounced the press officer for the Constitutional Convention for LYING when asked if they were writing a new document and he said NO. Then he would have denounced all of the members for forgetting who told the press officer to lie. He would have joined Patrick Henry in denouncing the whole enterprise too. Let’s get real and use some common sense and decency.

    Of course, only Clinton and Democrats have to be simon pure and I have yet to see ANY mention of the FACT that the Texas AG is going to trial on FELONY charges. Yet we were treated to Turley defending Guv Perry for demanding that the Travis County DA resign for a DUI which is a misdemeanor. So far Guv Abbott refused to call for AG Paxton to resign, even though he and Perry demanded that the DA resign over a misdemeanor. Then we now have the fact that Abbott as AG refused to file suit against Trump University even though the staff attorneys recommended that they file suit for 5.4 MILLION. Abbott dismissed any suit in return for Trump U not doing business in Texas any more. That left the victims high and dry and out millions of dollars and the State of Texas out LOTS of sales tax. Then four years later Trump donated $35,000 to Abbott’s campaign and he used his endorsement to drum up more money. I recall that Turley was eager to chime in on the PA AG too, but a strange silence about Texas. I guess that it is too far away for his concern.

  5. You have to be kidding me that you think that keeping negotiations secret is a betrayal of trust. I have to remind the forgetful and senile here that our Constitution itself was written IN SECRET! This has devolved to a Jerry Springer show level.

    1. randyjet – it is only the Jerry Springer Show when you show up. 😉

  6. The “3 Stooges” and the “midget cowboy” never elbowed a woman like the stupid, pretty boy, French Canadian PM. say good bye to that vapid short term politician. Back to teaching 4th grade. I can tell when BC Bob has a few CC and soda in him. It activate the Bush Derangement Syndrome virus. LOL!!!

  7. Eric

    There was and will always be some sort of legal historical position from which to act. The three stooges acted twice. Regarding Afghanistan, it was as the spearhead of a NATO operation regarding legality but regarding Iraq it was purely ego. In both wars the US lead coalitions bungled the events after landing.

    Regarding Afghanistan the top US advisors, including high ranking members of the armed forces that had experience dating from Vietnam, almost all advised going in with 450,000 troops, sealing off the country from Pakistan and Iran, wiping out as much of the Taliban as possible, locking down the country, and then rebuilding the infrastructure as fast as possible, with direct administration from the US. What happened was a force roughly half of that did defeat a rag tag Taliban army, slowly. The invaders allowed the majority of the Taliban to escape to Pakistan and failed to control the borders. Then the geniuses infused the corrupt hierarchy of Afghanistan with billions of dollars and insisted that they rebuild whatever they wanted to rebuild. The result was a return to the fragmented leadership by local warlords that the Taliban was brought in to control. The Taliban was created by Pakistan to control Afghanistan during the chaos following the Soviet exit. The three stooges created the mess that is now there. The Taliban escaped into Pakistan, their creator and was and is free to slowly return. The three stooges bungled the entire thing. It could have been a poster child as to how to do this sort of thing properly but it is what it is.

    Regarding Iraq, there was no action of the moment that necessitated invading. The invasion easily took over the country but then the idiots in Washington sat on their thumbs for eight months while looting and chaos took over. Doing nothing to protect the hospitals and populace the US military acquired the patina of the invader and local mullahs created militias to control the chaos, pillaging, looting, etc. Then the boys sent in their wizkid Brenner to disband the only Iraqi policing force, the army. Now you had hundreds of thousands of men not being paid and religious organization.

    The three stooges created the mess in Iraq which became the crucible for our present problems. It was almost as if they intended it. The Republican party is the more dysfunctional of the two but this opportunity to bring America together after 9/11 could not have been more wasted if it was done intentionally. After 9/11 America was galvanized. Mickey Mouse could have run the country. Unfortunately it was the three stooges and not the Mouse.

  8. issacbasonkavich:
    people who were getting along quite well before they had their dreams of ‘shock and awe’.”

    Your assertion is ahistorical. Actually, the Saddam regime was evidentially in (severe) material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire UNSCR 688 humanitarian mandates.

    Humanitarian grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom are listed here; excerpts are from fact findings that bracket the 2003 decision for OIF (text sans links):

    United Nations Commission on Human Rights, situation report on Iraq, 2002:

    The Commission on Human Rights … Recalling: … [UNSCR] 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, in which the Council demanded an end to repression of the Iraqi civilian population and insisted that Iraq cooperate with humanitarian organizations and that the human rights of all Iraqi citizens be respected … Strongly condemns: (a) The systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror;

    UN Special Rapporteur on Iraq, Andreas Mavrommatis, report on situation of human rights in Iraq, 2004:

    The new evidence, particularly that of eyewitnesses, added another dimension to the systematic crimes of the former regime, revealing unparalleled cruelty, even in respect of the people being taken away for execution, and at the same time stories unfolded that were far worse than originally reported to the Special Rapporteur in the past.

    The majority of casualties have been caused by regional elements also responsible for the “systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and … all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror” (UNCHR) that the Iraq intervention was, in part, purposed to solve per UNSCRs 688, 1483, 1511, etc – and the OIF peace operations were evidently solving before President Obama chose disastrously to deviate course from President Bush.

    “Have you heard any regrets”

    On the law and the facts, the decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom was correct – explained here.

    The law and policy basis for Iraqi regime change to enforce Iraq’s compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire actually matured via President Clinton and was only carried forward by President Bush to enforce Saddam’s “final opportunity to comply” with “full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions with its obligations” (UNSCR 1441).

    Unfortunately, Saddam chose to reject the “final opportunity” given him to prevent war and choose peace by simply proving the mandated compliance and disarmament according to the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441) that Saddam had agreed to abide by in 1991 in order to suspend the Gulf War short of regime change.

  9. Karen

    How many innocent lives did the midget cowboy and his handlers snuff out needlessly; well over a million and counting. Clinton admitted on Letterman that he regretted not sending in the Marines to stop the bloodshed in Rwanda. Have you heard any regrets from the three stooges for their massacre.

    Clinton presided over one of the most healthy economic periods in American History. The three stooges turned that around, and down. They destroyed the US economy.

    Most of what you state is fundamentally conjecture and guilt by association. Clinton is a rat and a weasel but not a stupid rat and weasel.

    The three stooges were composed of an idiot that failed at every thing he did except being a puppet for his handlers and a couple of arrogant wannabes that screwed up both the Afghanistan and Iraq war. They will go down as incompetent and responsible for the deaths of a million plus people who were getting along quite well before they had their dreams of ‘shock and awe’.

    All Presidents have dealt from the bottom of the deck, lied, cheated, blasphemed, etc. Reagan was one of the worst but his hair do and Mr. Feelgood routine kept enough Americans happy. The question that needs to be asked is OK, they are all sleazy and weasel like, but are they competent. In the case of the midget cowboy, he was about as competent as a fence post. In the case of Trump, he has escaped all his incompetent moves. Trump is clever, intelligent? No.

    Everybody wants a hero to cheer for. Unfortunately it is the lesser of the evils. There are no heroes out there at the moment. If you think Trump is a hero then say so. We all need a good laugh. Perhaps a good cry.

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