By Bradley Klapper, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A State Department official deliberately cut several minutes of videotape from a news briefing dealing with sensitive questions about U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations before posting the footage to its website and YouTube, the agency said Wednesday.
In the Dec. 2, 2013, briefing, a reporter asked about the department’s denial earlier that year of secret talks between Washington and Tehran. Those discussions had been periodically occurring and eventually led to a breakthrough, seven-nation nuclear deal.
Then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded at the briefing: “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy.”
But the exchange wasn’t on video the department posted on its website and YouTube, even if it remained in the official transcript and backup video for broadcasters. Fox News discovered the discrepancy last month.
On Wednesday, the State Department’s current spokesman John Kirby said someone had censored the video intentionally. He said he couldn’t find out who was responsible, but described such action as unacceptable.
“Deliberately removing a portion of the video was not and is not in keeping with the State Department’s commitment to transparency and public accountability,” he told reporters.
Kirby said he learned that on the same day of the 2013 briefing, a video editor received a call from a State Department public affairs official who made “a specific request … to excise that portion of the briefing.” The video editor no longer remembers the name of the person who called, he said.
As a result, “we do not know who made…