State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that the matter of several minutes of video footage being intentionally deleted from a 2013 press briefing is being taken seriously, and a policy is being put in place to ensure that it will never happen again.
"This was inappropriate, and this isn't the way we'll behave," Kirby told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program. "What I'm focused on now as the spokesman is we're going to put in a policy, a policy that will prevent this from happening again."
Earlier this year, reports Fox News, the State Department faced questions over a block of missing tape, during which Rosen asked then-State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki about an earlier claim that there had been no secret talks between the United States and Iran, when there had been talks.
Psaki told him that there were "times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that."
However, her comments were later found to be missing from the department's official website and on its YouTube channel. In total, eight minutes, including Psaki's comments were deleted.
Kirby said Thursday that the technician on duty the day the tapes were erased does not recall who asked her to make the cuts, but the call that came "was from somebody else passing on a request from another official."
"I want to thank James Rosen, your correspondent, for bringing this to my attention," Kirby said, "Because if he hadn't a couple of weeks ago I would have never known this occurred."
And if additional information comes in, Kirby said he'll look into it further, but he told his staff on Wednesday that all the evidence hasn't been erased, as there is "still a full video of it existing on another official website, the defense information website as well as the transcript, a written transcript was never edited.
"I'm not mitigating or making excuses but the one that was edited was the one that went on the YouTube channel."
Psaki, who is now the now White House Communications Director, said in a statement Wednesday that she "had no knowledge of nor would I have approved of any form of editing or cutting my briefing transcript on any subject while at the State Department."
But on Thursday, Kirby said there may not be a way to find out who ordered the tape to be edited, and he doesn't have the "resources or the manpower to go back and look at every single press briefing over the last three or four years."
Further, it happened three years ago, said Kirby, and he can't speak for what the technician remembered.
"All she remembered was it was a request passed on," said Kirby. "The caller was passing on the request from somebody else in my bureau, in the public affairs bureau. We don't find that acceptable."
When one of the Fox program's hosts asked that if Psaki's admission in the tape meant "yes, sometimes you have to lie from the podium," Kirby insisted that "we don't lie," and denied a coverup.
"That's a key tenet of being a spokesman you can't lie," said Kirby. "The moment you do that, your credit, you authenticity goes down the toilet.
"She didn't say it was okay to lie, but she said that diplomacy needs privacy sometimes to be effective. That's actually true . . . she didn't say she lied or anybody lied."
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