Skip to comments.State Department Daily Press Briefing March 7, 2014 (Medea Benjamin in Egypt)
Posted on 03/07/2014 4:52:04 PM PST by kristinn
QUESTION: As long as were dealing --
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: -- with housekeeping things, Ill give you my two. One, I understand that Medea Benjamin has signed a Privacy Act waiver now and that you will be able to tell us precisely what happened on the ground in Cairo that fateful day.
MS. PSAKI: I certainly can. Get out your pen.
QUESTION: Did you fax it to her, Matt?
QUESTION: No, I would have, though. (Laughter.)
MS. PSAKI: He was active on Twitter about this. We can confirm that Medea Benjamin was so because she signed a Privacy Act waiver, we can confirm that she was detained by Egyptian immigration authorities upon her arrival in Cairo on March 3rd, 2014. Egyptian authorities reported to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that they were holding a U.S. citizen around 3:00 a.m. local time on March 4th. A consular officer attempted to contact Ms. Benjamin directly multiple times. The consular officer was unable to make contact with her prior to her deportation at 11:53 a.m. that same day, but was able to talk to immigration officials and several of her friends as well as inform U.S. consular staff in Turkey. While in Turkey because she was put on a plane back to Turkey on March 4th, Ms. Benjamin was contacted by phone by a consular officer at 8:30 p.m. local time to check on her welfare and to arrange a visit the following morning. The U.S. Embassy in Ankara also requested that the Turkish authorities grant Ms. Benjamin humanitarian parole to allow her to seek appropriate medical care for the injuries she sustained in Egypt. She was transported to a local hospital, where she received a medical examination and treatment for a dislocated shoulder. A consular officer then visited with Ms. Benjamin at the airport the next morning at 10 a.m. She was given a Privacy Act waiver to sign, but she deferred, as we all know, stating that she wished to consult with her legal team first. She was then deported, arriving in the United States the evening of March 1st. And she signed --
QUESTION: No, no, no.
MS. PSAKI: March 5th, sorry.
QUESTION: March --
MS. PSAKI: March 5th, and she signed that would be reversing that would be time travel and backwards and signed a Privacy Act waiver, which was delivered to the Department of State just today.
QUESTION: Okay. So --
MS. PSAKI: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you very much for that, and thanks, CA, for it.
MS. PSAKI: I will.
QUESTION: Do you know, was the lets talk about Cairo.
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: Because she herself has been very complimentary of the Istanbul embassy and sorry, consulate, and its active but she alleges that in Cairo, basically she was ignored. Originally, when this question was asked, you said that there had been contact between her and a consular officer.
MS. PSAKI: Youre right.
QUESTION: That was not correct.
MS. PSAKI: I was incorrect.
MS. PSAKI: And there were obviously several steps in this, hence my confusion, but --
QUESTION: Do you know, was there an effort made to get to see her in person in Cairo, and if there was, why that didnt happen?
MS. PSAKI: So a consular officer did attempt to make contact with Ms. Benjamin on several occasions, calling --
QUESTION: Right, by phone.
MS. PSAKI: By phone.
MS. PSAKI: But obviously thats a step in the process. Unfortunately, they were unable to connect. However, the consular officer was able to connect with her friends, as you know. Its not standard practice and I just learned this too for a consular officer to visit a U.S. citizen who was not given permission to enter a country. However, we because we couldnt reach her I mean, it was and we had reached through Egyptian authorities. There wasnt a way to make contact about the next steps in the process.
QUESTION: Im sorry, who was not given permission to enter the country?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Youre saying that she did not have an Egyptian visa?
MS. PSAKI: She did have a visa, but a visa doesnt give you --
QUESTION: Oh, oh, oh. I see what youre saying.
MS. PSAKI: -- permission to enter a country.
QUESTION: So if youre stuck in limbo, kind of, if youve been detained at the airport, that doesnt thats not the same as --
MS. PSAKI: Well, it allows you to travel to a port of entry, like an airport.
QUESTION: Right, but thats not the same in consular terms as someone being arrested for, I dont know, hitting some theft, and going to an actual jail. Is that what youre saying?
MS. PSAKI: Right. The well, or going --
QUESTION: So if youre --
MS. PSAKI: -- or exiting the port of entry. Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: If youre in immigration limbo --
MS. PSAKI: Yep.
QUESTION: -- you consular access isnt required?
MS. PSAKI: Yes.
QUESTION: I mean, the host country doesnt have to provide.
MS. PSAKI: And consular yes. Consular access also requires cooperation, and, of course, permission from the local authorities. So permission to visit her was not granted in time to perform a welfare and whereabouts visit before she was deported.
QUESTION: Okay. All right. And my last one on this and hopefully this will be it forever, is: Do you in your original answer to the question the other day, you said that she had been provided all appropriate consular access. Speaking just about Cairo, does that story what happened in Cairo, do you stand by that?
MS. PSAKI: Yes, because we attempted to reach out to her.
QUESTION: That she received all --
MS. PSAKI: I was incorrect in stating that they had reached her. Obviously, officials reached her in Turkey and provided assistance in Turkey.
QUESTION: Right, right. But Im talking about the second part of your original statement, the all appropriate --
QUESTION: All appropriate assistance.
QUESTION: -- she was provided with all appropriate assistance in Cairo. You stand is that part correct, or is that incorrect?
MS. PSAKI: That is correct.
QUESTION: That is but youre talking about Turkey, right?
MS. PSAKI: No. Im talking about obviously, there were attempts to --
QUESTION: So youre basically --
MS. PSAKI: -- reach her.
MS. PSAKI: Those were not successful.
MS. PSAKI: That happens from time to time.
QUESTION: Well, wouldnt it be more accurate to say you tried to provide her with all appropriate consular assistance, but you were unable to get through to her? Is that --
MS. PSAKI: Sure. That is a fair statement.
QUESTION: All right. Okay.
QUESTION: Could I just ask --
QUESTION: My sorry.
QUESTION: Sorry. I just wanted to ask, and I dont know if youre able to answer this --
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: -- Ms. Benjamin has alleged that her dislocated shoulder came about as the result of her treatment by the Egyptian authorities. Is that your understanding of what happened as well?
MS. PSAKI: We dont have I cant confirm the cause of her injury or details on that. She was, as you know, because I just stated it, treated in Turkey for her dislocated shoulder. But wed refer you to her and refer you to the Egyptian police for any other details on what happened.
QUESTION: And has there been any sorry, Arshad --
QUESTION: No, go ahead, go ahead.
QUESTION: -- has there been any representation made from the Embassy in Cairo to the Egyptian authorities about any perceived unnecessarily rough handling of Ms. Benjamin?
MS. PSAKI: Im happy to check on that and see if there has been.
QUESTION: Yeah. Id be interested also whether Ms. Benjamin asked for you to raise that issue with the Egyptians. I mean, if shes claiming its a result of her treatment or mistreatment, or then, did she ask you to raise it, and have you done so?
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: All right. So my last housekeeping one is to that --
MS. PSAKI: We have let me just add one thing.
MS. PSAKI: We have contacted the Egyptian authorities to clarify what she was told in terms of our outreach or whether a consular official had reached out and why we were unable to schedule a consular visit with her as well.
QUESTION: In Cairo.
MS. PSAKI: Correct.
QUESTION: And just and one other thing what when you obviously, some people dont have international phones. I have no idea what is her case. But the effort to contact her, was that just calling whatever is her cell phone number, or was it calling Egyptian authorities?
MS. PSAKI: Well, as I said, we were in touch with both, all of that.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Yeah. So --
MS. PSAKI: And her friends, which we were also friends and family, which we were also in touch with.
QUESTION: Yeah, but I would think the people most able to put you in touch with her were probably the people detaining her, right?
MS. PSAKI: Right. And we were in contact with the Egyptian authorities as well.
If only the Egyptians would keep the demented cow!
They may be Muslims, but they’re not crazy.
So since she never entered the country, there was
no consular access until she reached Turkey and
was admitted there.
Is that about right?
I’d bet she resisted Egyptian authorities
and that’s how she dislocated her shoulder.
Some restraint holds, if you fight them, can cause
damage... just sayin.
That POS moonbat for Obama...
I wonder who her boss is, no doubt she’s George Soro’s Prima Donna.
All I know is that people too often make the mistake of thinking Klan Pink are just well meaning useful idiots but they are anything but well meaning or harmless.
All this crap over a little Communist Bitch? Must be Psaki’s girlfriend.
I hope the Egyptians fumigated their holding cell after Benjamin left, and gave all their guards a variety of shots.
It is a shame that they didn’t give this communist traitor some shots, like a 21 gun salute with AK 47’s.
Benjamin is a repulsive little red rat, which you would know immediately if you ever dealth with her. Yet the media thinks she is the greatest thing since white bread.
People think that Hugo Chavez did the Macarena with her, the Horizontal Macarena version. It would be like a gorrilla mating with a wet rat. Now I can’t eat just thinking about it.
If she’s in Turkey, maybe they can put her in a burqua and sew it up tight. Make her into an “human infidel pinata”
As you can see, I really don’t like this woman, but she’s earned every bit of hatred patriotic Americans can heap on her (Friend of Hussein, Chavez, Jesse Jackson, Maduro, Obama, Morales, etc).
I don’t much like Jen Psaki, but I have to say she dealt with this Presser pretty well.