From yesterday's press briefing (4/16/13):
QUESTION: Thank you, Patrick. This morning, there was supposed to be a photo opportunity with the Secretary and the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia. Could you tell us why it was canceled?
MR. VENTRELL: Well, first of all, let me provide a readout of the meeting for all of you.
Thank you, oh, Great Federal Flunky! Thank you!
The Secretary and the Foreign Minister from Saudi Arabia discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including Middle East peace efforts and the current situation in Syria. They met this morning. This is, again, him just coming back from – late last night from 10 days, and so the change in schedule is really just a matter of a very tight schedule. He is back for a couple of days of congressional testimony. He is, again, on the road, as you know, to Istanbul later this weekend. So this is really – I wouldn’t read too much into it one way or another other than scheduling.
But they had a good and productive meeting, and the Foreign Minister did express his condolences for those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon bombings to Secretary Kerry this morning.
QUESTION: A follow-up on some of that meeting.
MR. VENTRELL: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Did they discuss the Saudi national that was questioned by the FBI, whose apartment apparently was searched? Did this come up in the meeting? What can you tell us about that?
MR. VENTRELL: Not that I’m aware.
Non-awareness = plausible deniability.
Again, the main topics were regional issues, Middle East peace efforts, and the current situation in Syria. And again, the Foreign Minister expressed his condolences, but I don’t have anything for you on that one way or another.
QUESTION: Are there embassies on a heightened state of alert as a result of what happened in Boston?
Follow-up opportunity missed.
MR. VENTRELL: Just to say that we continually review our security procedures and – around the world and domestically to ensure the safety and security of our people, which is our top priority, but I’m not going to get into any details of threat levels or embassy security from this podium.
QUESTION (AP 's Matt Lee): Okay. Has that exhausted your lack of knowledge?
The press lives!
MR. VENTRELL: That has exhausted what I have to say.
QUESTION: Okay. I just want – before we go to Venezuela, I just want to --
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: You must – are you really trying to say that this – the meeting was turned from a camera – or from a photo op to a – to being closed for scheduling reasons? Is that seriously your answer?
MR. VENTRELL: Look, Matt, I wouldn’t read into it.
QUESTION: Because the Secretary was tired after 10 days on the road and is going to the Hill tomorrow?
MR. VENTRELL: No. What I’m saying is he has a very tight schedule here in the building and elsewhere, and so part of --
QUESTION: And so that saved – so it saved time somehow by canceling the photo op?
MR. VENTRELL: Let me just say that it --
QUESTION: It doesn’t wash.
MR. VENTRELL: Matt, it really does underscore the value of our relationship that this is one of the few meetings he’s been able to schedule, and on a very tight schedule.
Weird how SpokesState inserts a "value of our [stinkin'] relationship" line here.
QUESTION: But I don’t understand how canceling a photo op saves him any time or – so I just – and I find it hard to believe that you would expect us to believe that that’s the real reason for this, because I don’t see how his – how canceling a photo op saves him any time in – anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Can we go to Venezuela?
MR. VENTRELL: Sure.
QUESTION: Can I just ask one follow-up on that? Was it the Secretary who asked to have the photo spray canceled or was it the Foreign Minister?
MR. VENTRELL: This was just a scheduling change on our part.
QUESTION: On your part?
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.