In Case You Missed It…


As reported by Washington Examiner:

Secretary of State John Kerry has ordered the State Department to re-examine how a video of a 2013 press briefing came to be edited to remove a sensitive discussion about the Iran nuclear agreement. Last week, spokesmen for the department said it hit a “dead end” in its investigation, which failed to determine who ordered the video to be edited. But on Wednesday, spokesman Mark Toner said Kerry insisted that officials try again.

“Given the secretary’s strong interest, given Congress’ strong interest and given the media’s strong interest, we’ve decided to continue to look at that,” he said. Kerry had called the entire episode “stupid” and “clumsy.” “Basically because the secretary said he wants to dive deeper into this, [State will] look more into what happened, and try to get to the bottom of what happened,” he said.

…Toner did indicate that it may not be too hard to figure out the mystery eventually. He said just a handful of people could have been involved in the scheme. “I don’t want to call them … suspects, but they might have been aware of what was happening or what happened, and it’s probably about four or five people,” he said.

 Last week:

Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and State Department Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick following confirmation that a yet-to-be named staffer deleted approximately eight minutes from the video record of the Department’s December 2, 2013 press briefing.

“Although the video has now been restored, this deletion raises numerous questions about the State Department commitment to transparency and honest dealing with the American public,” the letter states. “It also has possible criminal implications. It is a federal crime to unlawfully remove, destroy, or mutilate a federal record. The State Department has also revealed that this unnamed staffer did not act alone but that she received a phone call and was told to alter the record.”

To date, there is no evidence that federal authorities have begun any criminal investigation of State Department staff conduct under 18 U.S.C. § 2071 regarding this matter. Moreover, the State Department has stated it would no longer investigate this matter, even with considerable gaps in the information still outstanding.

The letter states: “As the head of the State Department and its Office of Inspector General, respectively, you each have an obligation to refer matters to the Attorney General whenever there is a reason to believe that a violation of federal criminal law has occurred.”

Cause of Action Institute is seeking more information to understand whether this incident could include criminal charges for aiding and abetting or conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371.

The letter requests that Sec. Kerry and the IG immediately refer and report the relevant staff to the Attorney General for possible criminal violations of this statute arising from their alteration of the video record of the Department’s December 2, 2013 press briefing.

The full letter can be found HERE.