Busy week ... Scott McClellan exposes White House liars to House Judiciary Committee .. but too frightened to finger Cheney...Tim Russert's funeral
Yesterday, chubby author and ex White House spokesman Scott McClellan appeared before the House Judiciary Committee who are still trying to fathom how CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked to the Press.
McLellan explained that White House aide Andy Card told him that both the President and Vice President wanted him to publicly say that Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was not involved in the leak.
"I was reluctant to do it," McClellan explained . "I got on the phone with Scooter Libby and asked him point-blank, 'Were you involved in this in any way?' And he assured me in unequivocal terms that he was not."
Imagine THAT conversation , "Hi , Scott here... Mr Libby, sir, did you leak Mrs Plame's name to the Press ?" ..."Go fuck yourself Scott" ... "OK, gee thanks Mr Libby..sir."
We now know that both Libby and presidential adviser Karl Rove HAD discussed Plame's identity with reporters. State Department official Richard Armitage (who had threatened President Mushariff that the US would bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age) first revealed Plame's CIA identity to columnist Robert Novak, who obtained confirmation from Karl Rove as well for a confirming source for a 2003 article.
McClellan told the House panel he doesn't know if a crime was committed and does not believe that Bush knew about or directed the leak. When asked about Cheney, he replied: "I do not know. There's a lot of suspicion there."
The White House has consistently shifted its position from 2003 and through 2004 the line was anyone who leaked classified information in the case would be dismissed.
By July 2005, Bush had carefully qualified his position, saying he would fire anyone for leaking classified information .... if that person had "committed a crime."
Elswhere , the ever inquisitive US House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, is seeking transcripts, reports, notes and other documents relating to interviews with Bush and Cheney, as well as interviews with former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, White House Senior Advisor Dan Bartlett, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.
However in August last year the US Department of Justice argued that the White House Office of Administration is not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests in response to a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group to force the Office of Administration to turn over information in a different case involving missing ( and potentially incriminating) White House e-mails regarding the CIA leak investigation and the US Attorney firing scandal .
It was just 12 months ago that Vice President Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby was found guilty on four of five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice and sentenced to 30 months in prison and heavy fines for perjury and other offenses related to the Plame leak investigation.
President Bush issued a "Grant of Executive Clemency" on July 2nd for Libby in which, after examining his heart he decided that 30 months in the slammer was too much and considered it was an appropriate exercise of the power that the Constitution provided the President , to commute his prison sentence.
Nancy Pelosi described the President's act .."a betrayal of trust of the American people."... and that he "he has failed to uphold the rule of law."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the President's decision was " disgraceful" and that Judge Walton's decision that Libby should be imprisoned for lying about a matter of national security should not be altered.
In reports of the case (LA Times) , (which fascinates Limeys because UK jurors may not ever talk about a case to anyone)one juror said the panel did not believe Libby's claim that he learned of Plame's identity from a journalist, when evidence showed he had discussed her in several White House meetings before that. "The primary thing that convinced us was his conversation with (NBC newsman Tim) Russert," said Denis Collins, spokesman for the 11-person panel. "Libby was told nine times about Plame before he talked to Russert."
Russert was the last witness in Libby's trial and he denied outright Libby's claims of what was said in a telephone conversation he had with him when Libby claims Russert raised the names of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson...""That would be impossible," Russert testified .... about such an exchange. "I didn't know who that person was until several days later."
The MSNBC report of the trial says ( reinforcing the lead juror's later views..".. the discrepancy between his account and Libby's is at the heart of the perjury and obstruction trial."
Tim Russert, the affable TV news anchoman , who originated the phrases Red States and Blue States died the afternoon of June 13, 2008, unexpectedly, at the age of 58.