Fox News correspondent James Rosen has accused the Department of State of removing video of a question he asked on the Iranian nuclear negotiations in order to cover-up an alleged deception.
Recent revelations from a New York Times Magazine profile on Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for communication and speech writing, show that the administration was involved in secret talks with the Iranian government before official negotiations began in 2013. The information contradicts an exchange Rosen had with former State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“Late today, we discovered that the State Department’s video of its December 2, 2013 press briefing, at which I confronted spokesperson Jen Psaki … has itself, with the use of a white flash, been deleted from both the State Department’s official website and from its YouTube channel,” said Rosen Monday night.
The original 2012 exchange with Nuland went as follows:
“There have been reports that intermittently, and outside of the formal P5+1 mechanisms, the Obama Administration, or members of it, have conducted direct secret bilateral talks with Iran. Is that true or false?” asked Rosen.
“We have made clear, as the Vice President did at Munich, that in the context of the larger P5+1 framework, we would be prepared to talk to Iran bilaterally. But with regard to the kind of thing that you’re talking about on a government-to-government level, no,” responded Nuland.
In the profile, Rhodes admits that the administration had been engaged in secret, bilateral talks with Iran as early as 2012. The author of the piece, David Samuels, wrote “the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012.”
“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?” asked Rosen, confronting Psaki on the issue in 2013.
“James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that,” responded Psaki. “Obviously, we have made clear and laid out a number of details in recent weeks about discussions and about a bilateral channel that fed into the P5+1 negotiations, and we’ve answered questions on it, we’ve confirmed details. We’re happy to continue to do that, but clearly, this was an important component leading up to the agreement that was reached a week ago.”
Rosen believes the deletion of the exchange is evidence that the administration actively deceived the public.
The original video, complete with Rosen’s questions, now appears on the State Department website.
Rhodes responded to the profile piece Sunday, claiming the White House “never made any secret of our interest in pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran.”
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