The U.S. Department of State has been embroiled in a string of humiliating public relations and accountability scandals.  From former Secretary Clinton’s emails to the Iran ransom payment, the agency has been unable to get past uncomfortable questions about the way it relates to the public.  But it’s the deleting of an embarrassing question-and-answer exchange from the State Department’s public video record of a daily press briefing that was back in the news recently.  This blunder is perhaps the easiest to remedy because all the behavior took place within the agency.  Now nearly three months after the story came to light, the agency is no closer to holding anyone accountable than when it started.

A brief recap.  The State Department initially claimed the Q&A exposing the State Department misleading the country about its negotiations with Iran disappeared from the briefing because of a “glitch.”  This was quickly debunked, yet State Department Spokesman John Kirby repeated the claim during his briefing last week, saying “a glitch is possible here is because of the choppy nature of the cut,” and because there is “no evidence that anybody did this with a deliberate intent to conceal.”

However, Fox News is reporting that a recently completed investigation by the State Department Office of Legal Adviser reveals that “the official who ordered the censorship of a 2013 press briefing — deleting an exchange between a department spokeswoman and a Fox News reporter — specifically mentioned that exchange when ordering the doctoring of the video.”  The Legal Adviser’s report stated “The technician did not recall a reason being given for the edit request, but did believe that the requester had mentioned in the course of the call a Fox network reporter and Iran.  The technician indicated that the requester may also have provided the start and end times for an edit.”  This calls into serious doubt Kirby’s claims that no one acted with intent to conceal information.

When the story first surfaced in June, Cause of Action Institute sent a letter to the Secretary of State and the State Department Inspector General notifying them of their duty to refer this matter to the Attorney General for a potential criminal investigation.  There is no evidence that they have done so.  The State Department’s botched investigation and continued obfuscation is exactly why these matters need to be referred to the Department of Justice.  There’s no accountability at the State Department.