I found this amusing - from the US Department of State Daily Press Briefing, January 6:
QUESTION: Marie, you said that there were no U.S. observers there?
MS. HARF: There were not.
QUESTION: Not even the Embassy? I mean, what are you basing your statement on if you didn’t have anyone on the ground?
MS. HARF: Let me see. I don’t believe there were any observers. Let me double-check on that.
QUESTION: Well, how do you know, then, that it was a bad election?
MS. HARF: Well, I think when we say observers, that’s people like at polling stations. What I base the statement on was that more than half of the seats were uncontested, and most of the remainder offered only token opposition. Obviously, you don’t need to have an observer at a polling place to see that.
QUESTION: Okay, so – right, but you’re referring to the – not necessarily the conduct of election day itself, but the overall --
MS. HARF: But there was also quite a bit of violence too, which obviously you don’t need observers at a polling station to see.
QUESTION: Well, yeah, I know, but usually you would play that off as “Oh, those are just press reports. We don’t have any independent confirmation here to -- ” Do you – can you check to see whether there were people from the Embassy who were out and about who actually saw some of this stuff, or are you just basing --
MS. HARF: I’m sure that is true. When I say “observers,” I mean not official folks at polling stations as election observers, but I’m happy to get some more details.
QUESTION: Thank you.