White House omits another damaging line about Iran deal from briefing transcript

Jun 05
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Josh Earnest, White House press secretary
Josh Earnest, White House press secretary

The Washington Free Beacon
Saturday, 4 June 2016

The White House omitted a potentially damaging line from the official transcript of a press briefing by spokesman Josh Earnest last month, ABC News reported Thursday evening.

On May 9, Fox News reporter Kevin Rorke asked Earnest if he could categorically state that no senior Obama official had ever lied about the Iran nuclear deal.

Earnest said, “No, Kevin.” It was followed by a brief, awkward silence before Earnest launched into talking points about the deal enhancing national security.

However, ABC reported this line did not make it into the transcript of the briefing at WhiteHouse.gov. The transcript reads out the rest of Earnest’s comment after he made that admission, but the “No, Kevin” is not there:

Q Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?

MR. EARNEST: Kevin, I think the facts of this agreement and the benefits of this agreement make clear that the national security of the United States of America has been enhanced, and Iran’s effort to acquire a nuclear weapon has been set back. In fact, Iran has now committed to not seeking to acquire to a nuclear weapon, and we can now verify that they’re not able to acquire a nuclear weapon.

The video of Earnest’s remark, however, is still available on the White House’s website and YouTube page.

A White House official told ABC the line was left out because it was inaudible. The official added that they “would only change the answer if there was an answer to change.”

The question from Rorke came in the wake of a New York Times profile of top Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes, who boasted about creating an “echo chamber” and misleading the public with the media’s help to sell the Iran agreement.

It’s the second time in less than a week that the Obama administration has been found to alter the public record specifically with regards to deceit over the Iran nuclear deal. Both incidents involved a Fox News reporter asking the question, as well.

In a stunning admission Wednesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said a staffer had deliberately excised eight minutes of video from a December 2013 briefing. In the exchange, spokeswoman Jen Psaki appeared to acknowledge to Fox correspondent James Rosen that it was acceptable to lie to the press to preserve secret negotiations.

Former spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had lied to Rosen in February of 2013 when she said the U.S. and Iran were not involved in government-to-government talks, prompting Rosen to ask Psaki his question later that year.

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