Today I started asking questions at the State Department. [Full text and video at 29:50]:
QUESTION: But how can you maintain both things at the same time, that you have a special relationship with Israel and you want to be the mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, to have --
MS NAUERT: Well, we’ve covered this numerous times before. This administration looks back at the many – numerous decades of inability to bring peace to the Middle East. So the administration is determined that it wants to look at things perhaps a little differently. And that may confound some people --
QUESTION: But --
MS NAUERT: Let me finish. And that may confound some people, and that’s fine. But the administration is still saying that we are willing to sit down and have peace talks, and both sides are going to have to give a little, and that’s something that they’ve not – we’ve not backed away from in terms of our standpoint.
QUESTION: I’m not saying that you’re unique in this respect.
MS NAUERT: Yeah.
QUESTION: Multiple administrations have said we have a special relationship with Israel and we’re going to be the mediator, and it hasn’t worked out well. So aren’t you actually sort of doing the same thing that past administrations have?
MS NAUERT: No, I think the administration is handling this – handling this differently. And there are a lot of examples that I could think of that --
QUESTION: Can I ask about Honduras?
MS NAUERT: Okay.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS NAUERT: I’m not sure I’m going to have anything for you on Honduras today, but you can --
QUESTION: Well, perhaps --
MS NAUERT: -- take a stab at it.
QUESTION: Thank you, for next time. On January 27th, the AP published a report based on Honduran Government documents describing the involvement of a new national police chief in assisting a drug cartel leader in transporting, quote, “nearly a ton of cocaine.” Subsequently, the Honduran police have formally requested a criminal investigation, quote, “preparatory to a complaint,” not into the police chief, but into the AP reporters who broke the story. It seems a clear attempt to retaliate and intimidate a U.S. media outlet. Is the State Department doing anything on this, especially considering that the revelations are about the police chief Jose David Aguilar Moran’s involvement and that the U.S. Government provides assistance to the Honduran police?
MS NAUERT: I will certainly have to take a look into that. I was not aware of that story. I’ll check with our experts in Honduras and at our Western Hemisphere Bureau as well. Okay, thank you.
ADDENDUM: On Feb. 21, I got an email from a State Department official:
Below is a response to your taken question of 2/20/18. Please attribute to a State Department official.Q: Is the State Department doing anything on this, especially considering that the revelations are about the policechief Jose David Aguilar Moran’s involvement and that the U.S. Government provides assistance to the Honduran police?· We are unwavering in our support for press freedom and the right of journalists to operate without interference in Honduras and around the world.· We would refer further questions to the Government of Honduras.
I thought it spoke volumes that State would actually refer questions about this back to the Government of Honduras.