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Bush Implicated in Plame Cover-up

In an excerpt from an upcoming book, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan suggests that George W. Bush and other high-ranking WH officials knew he was giving false information about the Plame case.

Here is the primary source, an excerpt from the upcoming book WHAT HAPPENED: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington:


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.

I don't think much commentary is needed here. For years, this administration's apologists have been arguing that Plamegate is much ado about nothing. We have all heard the arguments: Plame wasn't covert, Karl Rove* wasn't involved, the administration wasn't hiding anything. Time and again, these claims turn out to be wrong.

*The strange reasoning being that since liberals don't like Karl Rove, if he wasn't involved then there was no scandal. Of course, this argument is moot because he was one of Robert Novak's sources.

Posted by Woody Mena at November 20, 2007 11:31 AM
Comments
Comment #238758

Um… I’m confused.

What does this prove exactly, other than McClellan said that Libby and Rove weren’t involved and then found out later, as we all did, that they were? What is the evidence that you say exists that suggests Bush knew?

Is there something I’m missing in your article that says no commentary is needed?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2007 11:53 AM
Comment #238760

Truth is always as we want to believe…

Posted by: cliff at November 20, 2007 12:00 PM
Comment #238766


When truth is classified, it becomes what we want to believe.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2007 12:19 PM
Comment #238778

Rhinehold,

Look at the last sentence. Admittedly, he leaves himself a little wiggle room with his verbiage, but he seems to be pointing at a cover-up. (That’s why I used the word “suggests”.) The truth will come out…

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 20, 2007 1:11 PM
Comment #238784

Woody,

Excellent article. What your quote proves is that we still do not know because “sand was thrown in the umpire’s eyes.” After carrying their water for them I can’t believe that McClellan would implicate the Bush regime. On the other hand he does want to cover his own. If pressed, he might well say that Bush was simply mistaken as well. Still this quote clearly shows that we still are not clear about what happened and Bush’s convenient commutation of Libby clouds the issue even as it clarifies the fact that they are hiding something. Pending jail time would have been an excellent investigative tool for the removal of “sand from the umpire’s eyes.”

Posted by: Ray Guest at November 20, 2007 2:00 PM
Comment #238786

Yep that tease blurb should sell some copies.

Posted by: George in SC at November 20, 2007 2:23 PM
Comment #238790

Wiggle room?

Seriously, there is nothing here yet. Scott did not say that Bush told him to lie or knew who leaked the information when he told him to go out and say that no one in the administration was involved. It is wishful thinking on the left’s part, not that they haven’t done this over and over again in the past…

Get back to me when you have some facts, just like was done with Libby. I applauded that he was found out and indicted (and not too happy about the commutation) but I am just not ready to accept innuendo and word manipulation as proof of anything. If he really did say what you THINK he said, it’ll come out when he gets asked, most likely within the week. Otherwise you’re just blowing smoke.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2007 2:48 PM
Comment #238805

Rhinehold,

We’re not allowed to speculate that perhaps McClellan is suggesting that perhaps there was a coverup? You know, they didn’t prove OJ did it, but we’re all allowed to have our opinion of what happened based on the obvious.

Posted by: Max at November 20, 2007 4:49 PM
Comment #238808

Max
I’m not trying to answer for Rhinehold, not even in his league. But I have to ask:

Isn’t speculation and opinions the main reason why the previous administration was so hated?

IF this book “implicates” Bush, then are we to believe the ton of books written about previous administrations, implicates them?

Rather than hoping for the worst in order to get the evil Republican Bush, wouldn’t it be best to wait for the facts?

Posted by: kctim at November 20, 2007 5:13 PM
Comment #238812

And just in time for the holidays! This really is becoming a yearly tradition—liberals happily awaiting the Fitzmas that will never come.

McClellan is smart to cash in on this particular left-wing obsession, but I think that we enterprising Republicans ought to take it further and market greeting cards, special Fitzmas gifts, cds of Fitzmas music, and so on. The left’s appetite for this is truly bottomless and we could make a mint.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 20, 2007 5:38 PM
Comment #238819

What McClellan has to say, has no legal consequence unless and until what he has to say is stated under oath before the Justice Dep’t. or Congress. That may need to be the next step.

If, he upholds the same statement and its implications under oath, then a cover up directed by the President of the U.S. and the V.P., becomes a crime of obstruction of justice for the purpose of gaining reelection in 2004. That falls within “high crimes and misdemeanors” and is an impeachable offense. Not that impeachment would proceed.

The political consequences however, cannot be understated.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 20, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #238839

I agree, if McClellan does know have some sort of evidence, let him present it. If it turns out to be true, then by all means hang Bush up by his petards.

But, *IF* he is saying what Woody alledges, which is a big if IMO, then he himself is going to be in a spot of trouble, isn’t he? Why didn’t he come forward with this information during the investigation or whenever he learned of whatever Woody is claiming he is claiming to know?

It just doesn’t seem to hold up under scrutiny, much like the Downing Street memo, the ‘smoking gun’ that wasn’t.

And yes, please feel free to debate out your not-based-on-fact coverup theories, like so many others that are out there, but don’t expect people to come, as I have, and demand facts and blow off the theories that have nothing to back them up.

This isn’t the Free Republic or DailyKOS, Rush/Hannity or Air America. People with differing views actually read and comment on the things said here so mind-numbing accusations with no factual basis are going to be seen as such on all sides here…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2007 9:08 PM
Comment #238844

Rhinehold,

I wasn’t aware that I was making an accusation, much less a “mind-numbing” one. It sounds to me rather like McClellan was. But this should all be cleared up soon enough…

LO,

I guess you guys really enjoy saying “Fitzmas”. It means nothing to me.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 20, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #238846

A couple things:

Having followed McClellan’s press conferences pretty closely during the unfolding of the “Plame affair,” as well as having seen him give interviews since he left his position, I think I have an excellent idea about what he’s referring to here. In fact, I’d bet the house on it. If you want some background, read this.

The first clue: what he’s talking about relates, in his own words, to something he said in press conferences which he felt he was misled about by his higher ups. It doesn’t relate to matters which, as the White House press secretary AFTER the events leading up to and surrounding the Plame leak had already taken place, he wasn’t party to. If it did relate to such matters, then he’d have to be a knowing co-conspirator for not disclosing it earlier and waiting to do so in a book that’s to be published next year.

Throughout the unfolding of this story, McClellan almost always sang the same tune: saying that it was all part of an ongoing investigation that he wouldn’t comment on.

With one exception, which this almost definitely is about: McClellan was told by Libby, Cheney, Rove, and the President that none of the aforementioned were “involved” in revealing the identity of Valerie Plame. Later on, the White House press corps challenged him repeatedly about this, and it obviously made him squirm.

But this seeming contradiction in McClellan’s press briefings in not really news—it’s been a much discussed controversy for over two years now. McClellan may be unhappy about having been put on the spot when it was revealed that some of these individuals were “involved,” but that doesn’t change the fact that their involvement, such as it was, has already been thoroughly investigated. And with the exception of Libby, not found to constitute “involvement” in anything illegal.

From my point of view, the White House officials McClellan is angry at had a lot more wriggle-room with the definition of “involvement” than Clinton ever had with definition of “is.” Involvement in the underlying events doesn’t necessarily mean “involvement” in a conspiracy to out anybody. Others may feel differently, but none of this sheds any new light on the whole story at all.

In any case, the source of this tease quote is the publisher of McClellan’s forthcoming book—a book that very few people besides McClellan’s own relatives would be likely to buy without interjecting a little spice into its marketing. If there were any more to this than that quote, it’s highly unlikely that any new information about the whole Plame story would be coming out in this fashion.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 20, 2007 11:12 PM
Comment #238847
Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller - getting approval from the President through the Vice President to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval - were unique in his recollection. Defendant further testified that on July 12, 2003, he was specifically directed by the Vice President to speak to the press in place of Cathie Martin (then the communications person for the Vice President) regarding the NIE and Wilson. Defendant was instructed to provide what was for him an extremely rare “on the record” statement, and to provide “background” and “deep background” statements . …During the conversations that followed on July 12, defendant discussed Ms. Wilson’s employment with both Matthew Cooper (for the first time) and Judith Miller (for the third time)… Even if someone else in some other agency thought that the controversy about Mr. Wilson and/or his wife was a trifle…the importance and focus defendant placed on the matter and the importance he attached to the surrounding conversations he was directed to engage in by the Vice President.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ))
CR. NO 05-394 (RBW)
v. ))
I. LEWIS LIBBY, )
also known as “Scooter Libby”

The above statements fall short of indicating whether or not Cheney or Bush specified if Valerie Plames employment with the CIA should be part of the information that Scooter should divulge. I doubt McClellan’s little blurb when expanded will indicate anything more than it already says. It is obviously a carefully crafted paragraph that approaches the line of new information, but doesn’t really say anything.

It is unfortunate that Bush commuted Scooter’s sentence, I’m sure the above testimony would have been clarified and the case could expand into a conspiracy investigation. Of course that is why the obstruction of justice charge and why Bush commuted Scooter’s sentence when he did. Instead of waiting until after Scooter’s appeal, and after all these questions would have been asked with a sentence hanging over his head. Either way, we are still waiting for the day when the President grants Scooter a full pardon. That is the least the President could do for an employee that took the fall for him.

Posted by: Cube at November 20, 2007 11:15 PM
Comment #238863

Rhinehold. Good question. My take is, McClellan sees the writing on the wall. This could all come out if a Democrat wins the White House and Democrats gain seats in the Senate. McClellan may be forthcoming now to cover his own ass and provide not quite enough evidence in his book to satisfy, but, enough as to dangle an immunity agreement with the Democratic Justice Department in 2009.

If this is the case, McClellan is being very shrewd and proactive in his own future defense.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 21, 2007 1:36 AM
Comment #238911

David, an independent prosecutor was already given this case. He spent years on it, and we already know the results of his investigation. If a Democratic Justice Department took it up again, it would be seen as nothing but a politically-motivated crusade. Isn’t that something the Bush justice dept was attacked for—politicizing the justice dept?

Also since the investigation was never officially closed, a Democratic Justice Department would have to actually fire the independent prosecutor in order to move in on the case. That would be so politically-damaging to the Democrats, that I can assure you McClellan is not worrying about it in the least.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 21, 2007 12:33 PM
Comment #239046

Loyal Opp said: “If a Democratic Justice Department took it up again, it would be seen as nothing but a politically-motivated crusade.”

Yes, until hard evidence was produced of the cover up from the top down. Then it would be a whole different matter in the eyes of the public, the GOP notwithstanding.

We have seen Gonzo lie before Congress about his dismal memory on the Attorney’s dismissal. We have seen the swords fallen upon in the Nixon Administration over Watergate. We all know that an administration is not going to honestly and forthrightly investigate itself or proffer evidence against itself. Putting the title Independent upon an investigator does not make evidence forthcoming, especially not in this current administration.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 22, 2007 8:42 PM
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