Jake Tapper Goes Nuclear on State Dept. Over Editing Lies That 'Should Outrage' Americans

During his “Buried Lead” segment on Thursday’s The Lead, CNN host Jake Tapper presented an incredibly thorough takedown of the State Department for fibbing about not only aspects of the Iran nuclear deal but also their lies concerning intentional editing of a press briefing video dating back to 2013 concerning the deal. 

In a story that the major broadcast networks have done their best to ignore, Tapper returned from break to introduce the aforementioned segment dedicated to “stories we don’t think are getting enough attention and in this case, of course, it’s literally someone at the State Department tried to bury something, hiding it from you.” 

“In this case, it was an acknowledgment from the Obama administration of having lied to reporters, a scrubbing of a public record and it should outrage every American,” Tapper declared.

A subject that he discussed on WMAL’s Morning on the Mall hours earlier (and documented by Washington Times writer and former Newsbusters Managing Editor Ken Shepherd), Tapper was able to compress the entire ordeal into just over four minutes with the story starting “in February 2013 when James Rosen, a reporter for Fox News, asked then-State Department spokesperson Victoria Newland if there had been direct, secret bilateral talks with Iran.”

The video showed the then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland telling Rosen that such talks were not taking place but, as Tapper explained after the first clip, Rosen exposed in December 2013 to the point that he confronted Nuland’s predecessor Jen Psaki about iti. As Tapper pointed out, this meant that “the State Department lied to him and to you.”

Psaki, in a predictably snarky tone, brushed Rosen’s claim aside by telling him that, occasionally, “diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress.” Tapper returned to note that when Rosen went to retrieve it in May of this year, the portion was gone.

Upon showing a current State Department official telling reporters on May 10 that it was merely a “glitch,” Tapper was not amused: “A glitch? A defect? A technical malfunction?” Once he showed Kirby admitting on Wednesday that it was intentionally removed, Tapper unloaded:

Wow. So, in fact, someone at the State Department asked an editor to go into this video already posted on the State Department website and remove several minutes of it from the archive. To recap, there was first a lie told us to about the secret talks between Iran and the Obama administration. We'll call that lie number one. Now, Jen Psaki acknowledged lie number one later that year, 2013, but then someone removed that acknowledgment from the official video. Let's refer to this scrubbing as lie number two and then three weeks ago, we were lied to again with the whole glitch thing. We’ll call that lie number three. Now, when asked who had made the request to delete the video, lie number two, Mr. Kirby said that the editor only knew that the caller was passing on a request from the public affairs bureau. 

Before moving on, Tapper called out Kirby and the Obama administration for suggesting that there’s little left to do besides move on and not conduct an investigation:

There are so many questions about all three of these lies, including whether the initial lie had anything to do with the administration-pushed narrative of the Iran deal sold to the public, that this all came about in large part because Hassan Rouhani, supposedly some sort of moderate, was elected President of Iran in June 2013 after lie number one which denied the talks were going on before Rouhani was elected, but before we get into lies one, two and three happened, the Obama administration needs to understand that it's not acceptable just to leave this where it is. Just as the public has a right to know the truth, we have a right to know who lied to us and why.

Once again, the honorable and fair journalist in Tapper did the job that the networks continually fail to do and one that’s particularly important with this clear-cut example of the Obama administration lying to the American people and his State Department behaving in an anything but transparent manner.

The transcript for the segment from CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper on June 2 can be found below.

CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper
June 2, 2016
4:40 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: Welcome back to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper. We’re back with our Buried Lead now. That’s what we call stories we don’t think are getting enough attention and in this case, of course, it’s literally someone at the State Department tried to bury something, hiding it from you. In this case, it was an acknowledgment from the Obama administration of having lied to reporters, a scrubbing of a public record and it should outrage every American. The story begins in February 2013 when James Rosen, a reporter for Fox News, asked then-State Department spokesperson Victoria Newland if there had been direct, secret bilateral talks with Iran. This was her response. 

THEN-STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN VICTORIA NULAND [on 02/06/13]: With regard to the kind of thing that you're talking about on a government-to-government level, no. 

TAPPER: Now, flash forward months later, December 2013. Mr. Rosen pointed out to Nuland’s successor, Jen Psaki, that senior State Department officials had, in fact, had direct, secret, bilateral talks with Iran as Psaki had previously acknowledged, so the State Department lied to him and to you.

FNC’s JAMES ROSEN [on 12/02/13]: Is it the policy of the State Department where the preservation of the secrecy of secret negotiations are — is concerned to lie in order to achieve that goal? 

THEN-STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN JEN PSAKI [on 12/02/13]: Um, James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. 

TAPPER: Now, the implication there from Jen Psaki, sometimes governments need to deceive the press and the public in order to achieve goals. Now, flash forward to earlier in May when Rosen discovered that his exchange with Psaki in which she acknowledged the State Department lied to the public that exchange had been edited out of the official video of that day’s briefing. Now, it seemed obvious that something was afoot, but here is how State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau explained the missing video on May 10th of this year. 

STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN ELIZABETH TRUDEAU [on 05/10/16]: There was a glitch in the State Department video. 

TAPPER: A glitch? A defect. A technical malfunction. Now, flash forward three weeks and here is State Department spokesman John Kirby just yesterday. 

STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN JOHN KIRBY [on 06/01/16]: We learned that there was a deliberate request, that this wasn't a technical glitch, this was a deliberate request to excise video. 

TAPPER: Wow. So, in fact, someone at the State Department asked an editor to go into this video already posted on the State Department website and remove several minutes of it from the archive. To recap, there was first a lie told us to about the secret talks between Iran and the Obama administration. We'll call that lie number one. Now, Jen Psaki acknowledged lie number one later that year, 2013, but then someone removed that acknowledgment from the official video. Let's refer to this scrubbing as lie number two and then three weeks ago, we were lied to again with the whole glitch thing. We’ll call that lie number three. Now, when asked who had made the request to delete the video, lie number two, Mr. Kirby said that the editor only knew that the caller was passing on a request from the public affairs bureau. Jen Psaki is now at the White House. She has vociferously denied any knowledge of the edit and when asked why the editor complied, this was what Mr. Kirby had to say. 

KIRBY: There were no rules governing this sort of action in the past, so again, I find no reason to press forward with a more formal or deeper investigation. 

TAPPER: There are so many questions about all three of these lies, including whether the initial lie had anything to do with the administration-pushed narrative of the Iran deal sold to the public, that this all came about in large part because Hassan Rouhani, supposedly some sort of moderate, was elected President of Iran in June 2013 after lie number one which denied the talks were going on before Rouhani was elected, but before we get into lies one, two and three happened, the Obama administration needs to understand that it's not acceptable just to leave this where it is. Just as the public has a right to know the truth, we have a right to know who lied to us and why.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Censorship Foreign Policy Iran Media Bias Debate Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CNN The Lead Video Government & Press State Department Jake Tapper James Rosen Jen Psaki
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