State Department changes course, will investigate deleted Iran briefing video

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After acknowledging last week that several minutes of video from a 2013 briefing on the Iran nuclear deal had been intentionally cut, the State Department announced Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry has ordered an investigation into who ordered the edit.

"We're going to continue to look at additional troves of information in an effort to find out, again, what happened," said State Department Spokesman Mark Toner at Wednesday's briefing.

"That is basically because the secretary said he wants to dive deeper into this, look more into what happened, and try to get to the bottom of what happened," Toner added.

At issue is footage from a 2013 briefing where then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki appeared to acknowledge misleading the press over the Iran nuclear deal.

Psaki was asked by Fox News’ James Rosen about an earlier claim from another official that no direct, secret talks were underway between the U.S. and Iran – when, in fact, they were. Psaki at the time said: “There are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”

However, Fox News later discovered the Psaki exchange was missing from the department’s official website and its YouTube channel (though not from the transcript). Eight minutes from the briefing, including the comments on the Iran deal, were edited out and replaced with a white-flash effect.

State Department spokesman John Kirby revealed last week there had in fact been a “deliberate request” to cut the footage.

Top Republican lawmakers are demanding answers after the State Department admission.

The Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked the State Department for more information -- and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has asked the State Department inspector general to investigate.

"In tampering with this video, the Bureau of Public Affairs has undermined its mission to ‘communicate timely and accurate information with the goal of furthering U.S. foreign policy,’” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a letter last week to Inspector General Steve Linick. “This is all the more troubling given that the video in question dealt with hugely consequential nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”