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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bottoming Out

"No one wants to get to the bottom of this matter more than the president of the United States, and he has said on more than one occasion that if anyone -- inside or outside the government -- has information that can help the investigators get to the bottom of this, they should provide that information to the officials in charge."
That's White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, quoted in a story that ran in the WaPo on June 25, 2004.

That's right: June, 2004.

And here's another gem, from September 2003 (courtesy of ThinkProgress):
Q All right. Let me just follow up. 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 –


Turns out that all George W. Bush had to do to "get to the bottom of this" was walk from the Oval Office through the Kitchen, the President's Study, and Joseph Hagin's office, and then he could have asked Karl Rove himself. In case you haven't heard:
"it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip."
That's a direct quote from Time reporter Matt Cooper's notes, as reported by Newsweek. "KR" is, of course, Karl Rove.

Expect Administration apologists to start getting all Clintonian, saying that Rove never used Plame's name, didn't know she was undercover, etc. And if all that is true, then his actions probably didn't violate the IIPA (although that would be a judgment for the Special Prosecutor, and ultimately a jury, to make). I don't believe a word that Rove or his lawyer say about any of this, and I don't think anyone should give any benefit of any doubt to a White House that could have cleared up the basic facts of this case anytime it wanted to. Bush obviously either knew and didn't care, or he didn't care to know. Either way he's a liar. And either way he shows breathtaking disregard for national security and even the most rudimentary notion of open government.

In the meantime, ask yourself: if the chief political operative of a Democratic administration were leaking information about the CIA to reporters on "double super-secret background" to try to embarras critics of the administration, how long would that operative be allowed to keep his/her job? Would Republicans in Congress be so craven in refusing to demand answers? Or so hypocritical in defending the White House?

And where in tarnation is the White House press corps?


Blogger strategery4 said...

But doesn't this also suggest that the reason the prosecutor and judge have both been leaning so hard on Cooper and Miller -- despite the fact that Miller never even wrote an article on the subject -- is that they have evidence that would support a perjury charge against Rove or Libby? Has yet another Admin failed to learn the lesson of Watergate -- that it's not the crime, it's the cover-up? Then again, why would Rove (if it was him) explicitly free Cooper from their confidentiality agreement to let him testify if would incriminate Rove? The plot thickens.

7/11/2005 1:23 AM  

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