A former CIA official who specializes in detecting deception is offering his take on on whether former State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the truth when she claimed she had nothing to do with the "deliberate" editing of a 2013 exchange about the status of U.S. nuclear talks with Iran.
In a piece published at LawNewz on Monday, Phil Houston, now the CEO of QVerity, shared what he first noticed as potentially questionable regarding Psaki's claims — specifically as it related to Psaki's June 1 tweet in which she denied having anything to do with the editing.
"I had no knowledge of nor would I have approved of any form of editing or cutting my briefing transcript on any subject while @StateDept," Psaki wrote.
I had no knowledge of nor would I have approved of any form of editing or cutting my briefing transcript on any subject while @StateDept— Jen Psaki NARA (@Jen Psaki NARA)1464815646.0
But Houston pointed out what he called a "deceptive indicator" in Psaki's tweet.
"A more glaring deceptive indicator, we believe, followed, with the words, 'any form of editing or cutting my briefing transcript.' Reference to her briefing transcript in this context is an overly-specific statement that allowed Psaki to avoid addressing the actual matter at hand: that the video was edited, not the transcript," Houston analyzed.
The former CIA official identified a second "indicator" that he says calls into question Psaki's honesty.
"We believe the phrase 'on any subject while @StateDept' is a deceptive indictor in the form of what we call a non-specific denial," Houston wrote. "Behaviorally, it’s much easier for a deceptive person to make a sweeping denial, rather than to deny a specific act. It’s the equivalent of a thief saying, 'I didn’t do anything” instead of, 'I didn’t steal the money.'"
Finally, Houston pointed out a third clue, which he pulled from Psaki's email to Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen.
“I understand it is inconvenient for you that I have nothing to do with this, given you have spent the last three weeks vilifying me on television without any evidence of my knowledge or involvement and without once reaching out and asking me," Psaki wrote to Rosen, "But I would encourage you to also ask the State Department if there is any evidence."
Houston noted that he he thinks the most telling part of Psaki's email to Rosen was the last part: "ask the State Department if there is any evidence."
"In the form of an unintended message that we see all too often is cases like this," Houston explained. "I’m not culpable, not because I didn’t do it, but because you don’t have any evidence to prove it."
See what other "indicators" Houston noticed in Psaki's statements by reading the original piece.