Video shows clash between reporter and State Department spokesman irate at request to prove US claims about Russia fake-video plot
- The US said Russia was planning to make a fake video with actors to justify invading Ukraine.
- Associated Press journalist Matt Lee pressed a State Department spokesman Ned Price for evidence.
An Associated Press reporter accused a State Department spokesperson of getting into "Alex Jones territory" for not providing evidence for the US claim that Russia was planning to stage a fake video to justify invading Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that the US had intelligence that Russia had plans to "produce a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors" that would show destruction by Ukraine or the West.
The Associated Press diplomatic writer Matt Lee pressed State Department spokesperson Ned Price about the claim later Thursday. Lee asked if Russia had already made such a video, and if the US could show evidence that Russia was planning the move.
The video below shows the clash between Lee and Price:
—The Hill (@thehill) February 3, 2022
Price said: "We told you a few weeks ago that we have information indicating Russia has also already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine. So that, Matt, to your question, is an action that Russia has already taken."
Lee responded: "Well, it's an action that you say that they have taken, but you have shown no evidence to confirm that."
"And I'm going to get to the next question here, which is, what is the evidence that — I mean, this is like, crisis actors? Really? This is like Alex Jones territory you're getting into now. What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?"
Jones is a far-right figure known for promoting conspiracy theories, including that the Sandy Hook school shooting was staged with crisis actors.
Price responded that the US had the intelligence but had to share it in a way so that it protects sources.
"We are trying to deter the Russians from moving forward with this type of activity. That is why we're making it public today," he said. "If the Russians don't go forward with this that is not ipso facto an indication that they never had plans to do so ..."
Lee then interrupted, saying: "But then it's unprovable! My god, what is the evidence that you have that suggests that the Russians are even planning this?"
"I mean, I'm not saying that they're not, but you just come out and say this and expect us just to believe it without you showing a shred of evidence that it's actually true, other than when I ask or when anyone else asks, 'What's the information?' You said, 'Well I just gave it to you,' which was just you making a statement."
Price said: "Matt, you said yourself you've been in this business for quite a long time. You know that when we make information, intelligence information public, we do so in a way that protects sensitive sources and methods. You also know that we do so, we declassify information only when we're confident in that information."
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