By Peter Kasperowicz on The Washington Examiner
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The Obama administration suddenly has a credibility problem, and not just with Congress or the press, but with its own senior-level officials.
The State Department was forced to admit on Wednesday that it altered a press briefing video to hide an exchange in which a spokeswoman seemed to indicate officials lied about when the Iran nuclear talks began.
And late Friday, a report came out that a White House transcript was altered, in another discussion about Iran. That transcript omitted a comment from Josh Earnest in which he said “No, Kevin” when asked if he could categorically state that no one ever lied about the Iran deal.
That report came out just a day after Earnest said that what happened at State could never happen at the White House.
By the end of the week, the State Department was already facing pressure from Congress about who altered the tape, and why. The report about the White House will only lead to more questions when Congress returns next week.
Questions on the mind of lawmakers are likely to include: who is altering these videos and transcripts, and why should we trust anything the administration says at this point?
But it’s not just lawmakers who are angry. Secretary of State John Kerry said that even he wasn’t happy with the answers from his own department.
Kerry said the whole affair was “stupid and clumsy and inappropriate.” And while department spokesmen have indicated they’re in no rush to figure out who ordered the edit, Kerry said he’d like to know.
“I would like to find out exactly what happened and why,” he said.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has already asked Kerry for the names of employees who edited the video, and who directed the edit. On Friday, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said those involved need to testify before Congress.
We ought to grab whoever was involved in this, bring them up to Capitol Hill, and demand answers.
House GOP demands answers from State Department on Iran exchange
Jason Chaffetz is looking for the tale of the offical tape.
The press is also helping Republicans keep the pressure on the State Department. CNN’s Jake Tapper talked about the scandal for several minutes on Thursday, and openly declared that State told several lies to reporters and the public in an effort to hide the truth.
One of these lies was when Victoria Nuland said in 2013 that there were no secret talks between the U.S. and Iran before that time. Then State deleted a discussion with then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki in which she indicated sometimes lies are necessary.
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