McClellan's Admission, Plame's Response
Former Press Secretary Scott McClellan's forthcoming book contains these paragraphs about the leak of Valerie Plame's identity:
The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
"There was one problem. It was not true.
"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration "were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."
Valerie Plame Wilson responds: [More...]
"I am outraged to learn that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirms that he was sent out to lie to the press corps and the American public about two senior White House officials, Karl Rove and I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby who deliberately and recklessly revealed my identity as a covert CIA operations officer. Even more shocking, McClellan confirms that not only Karl Rove and Scooter Libby told him to lie but Vice President Cheney, Presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and President Bush also ordered McClellan to issue his misleading statement. Unfortunately, President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's felony sentence has short-circuited justice.
"Vice President Cheney in particular knew that Scooter Libby was involved because he had ordered and directed his actions. McClellan's revelations provide important support for our civil suit against those who violated our national security and maliciously destroyed my career."
Sen. Chris Dodd is calling for a new investigation:
If in fact the President of the United of States knowingly instructed his chief spokesman to mislead the American people, there can be no more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.
"During his confirmation process, Attorney General Mukasey said he would act independently. Accordingly, today, I call on the Attorney General to live up to his word and launch an immediate investigation to determine the facts of this case, the extent of any cover up and determine what the President knew and when he knew it."
Let's look back at what McClellan said at the time: Here's his press briefing of September 29, 2003.
"All I can tell you is what I've seen in the media reports....we don't have any information that's been brought to our attention beyond what we've seen in the media reports. I've made that clear."
.... [Question]You said this morning, "The President knows" that Karl Rove wasn't involved. How does he know that?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it's public knowledge. I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove --
....[The President is] aware of what I've said, that there is simply no truth to that suggestion. And I have spoken with Karl about it.
.... [Question] Scott, does he know -- is he convinced that no one in the White House was involved with this?
McCLELLAN: There has been absolutely nothing brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement. All we've seen is what is in the media reports. The media reports cite "senior administration official," or "senior administration officials....we have nothing beyond those media reports to suggest there is White House involvement.
....You need to keep in mind that there has been no specific information, there has been no information that has come to our attention to suggest White House involvement, beyond what has been reported in the newspapers.
....There are anonymous reports all the time in the media. The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration. (my emphasis)
....[Question] Do your words also speak for Vice President Cheney? And can you categorically say that he was not involved in this?
MR. McCLELLAN: I've made it clear that there's been nothing, absolutely nothing, brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement, and that includes the Vice President's office, as well. When I'm talking about the White House, I'm talking about the Vice President's office as well.
....[Question] Weeks ago, when you were first asked whether Mr. Rove had the conversation with Robert Novak that produced the column, you dismissed it as ridiculous. And I wanted just to make sure, at that time, had you talked to Karl?
MR. McCLELLAN: I've made it very clear, from the beginning, that it is totally ridiculous. I've known Karl for a long time, and I didn't even need to go ask Karl, because I know the kind of person that he is, and he is someone that is committed to the highest standards of conduct.
....I have spoken with Karl about this matter and I've already addressed it....I've made it very clear that he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was.
The White House response today:
White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt.
Five high-ranking officials were involved in his passing along false information and she's not clear what he means?
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