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US grilled about censored State Dept. video

US grilled about censored State Dept. video
Spokesman says U.S. hit 'dead end' in probe of who ordered portions of video to be deleted

By Esra Kaymak Avci

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. said Thursday that it hit a dead end in investigating who ordered the removal of a State Department spokeswoman’s remarks regarding U.S.-Iran relations from a video in 2013.

"We believe we've carried out the necessary investigation," agency spokesman Mark Toner said during a press briefing.

"We have hit a dead end in terms of finding out more information.”

Toner said that until Wednesday it was not clear that the department's policy and regulations prohibited the "editing of transcripts before they were publicly posted."

He added that the video was edited after an official from the agency's Public Affairs Bureau ordered a technician to do it. The technician did not remember who gave the orders.

"We believe that this was an inappropriate request, an inappropriate action," Toner said.

"But it did not violate any rules that were in place at the time that governed that sort of action."

Toner added that another spokesman, John Kirby, sent an email earlier Thursday to the entire department and explained that a change in policy had taken place.

Kirby said Wednesday that the video had been intentionally censored by someone.

In the 2013 press briefing video, then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked whether the U.S. government was in secret talks with Iran. She replied that there were times that diplomacy needed privacy in order to progress.

At the eight-minute mark of the video, Psaki’s remarks about "secret talks" had been removed.

Suspicions arose when reporters discovered that missing part.

When they inquired about the discrepancy, officials said a "glitch" had occurred.

source: News Feed
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