by Patrick Goodenough, CNSnews:
Amid continuing fallout over the deliberate censoring of a State Department briefing video, a spokesman on Thursday denied that the edited section had been “all that sensitive” or embarrassing in some way to the department.
During a daily briefing largely dedicated to the controversy, Mark Toner also disputed that the removed portion included words amounting to an admission that the department sometimes lies in the interests of keeping important diplomacy secret.
Asked whether the edited part of the clip “was somehow embarrassing,” Toner said “no,” adding moments later, “we didn’t view the exchange to be all that sensitive.”
The section cut away from the video of the Dec. 2, 2013 briefing included Fox News reporter James Rosen asking then-spokeswoman Jen 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 replied, “I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”
Rosen raised the issue with Psaki because, 10 months earlier, he had asked her predecessor Victoria Nuland whether administration officials “have conducted direct, secret, bilateral talks with Iran” – to which Nuland said “no.”
Reports subsequently emerged that such talks – laying the groundwork for formal nuclear negotiations – had indeed been underway well before Nuland’s denial on Feb 6. 2013.
As he fielded multiple questions Thursday on the incident, Toner defended both Nuland and Psaki.
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