Drumming up interest for his book (due out in April 2008), former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan implicates Bush and the top officials in the White House in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case:
In an excerpt from his book, Scott McClellan says George W Bush helped mislead the public over the role in the affair of two White House aides. Mr McClellan’s book is not scheduled for publication until April and the excerpt released was brief. It refers to a White House press conference he attended in 2003.
At the conference, Mr McClellan told journalists that the two aides Karl Rove and Lewis “Scooter” Libby were “not involved” in leaking Ms Plame’s identity. The excerpt reads: “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.”
Mr McClellan, who served as press secretary from 2003 to 2006, has made no further comment on the excerpt.
Getting wind of this, Valerie Plame misconstrues the excerpt and says:
“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. 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.”
According to the excerpt, McClellan was not “told to lie.” Rather, he was duped into lying. The White House had this to say about the excerpt:
“The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information.”
We’ll see if McClellan says different.