Sunday, October 12, 2003

Not involved in WHAT? 

From Talking Points Memo:

Recently I told you that Scott McClellan's denial on behalf of Abrams, Libby and Rove might be a lot less airtight than a lot of reporters have been assuming.

The question is whether one or more of these three men was the source for Bob Novak's column disclosing Valerie Plame's identity as a clandestine employee of the CIA.

McClellan's 'denials' have hinged on a lawyerly and off-point claim that they were "not involved in leaking classified information."

Listen closely: He's not answering the question.

Why not press McClellan to answer the question straight-out?

Well, today at the briefing, someone did. And, as you might expect, it wasn't a reporter from one of the big prestige outlets.

Here's the exchange ...

QUESTION: Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MCCLELLAN: Those individuals -- I talked -- I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands.

QUESTION: So none of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MCCLELLAN: They assured me that they were not involved in this.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that?

QUESTION: They were not involved in what?

MCCLELLAN: The leaking of classified information.

QUESTION: Did you undertake that of your own volition, or were you
instructed to go to these --

MCCLELLAN: I spoke to those individuals myself.

So, when McClellan was asked to be more clear, he opted for a meaninglessly vague statement and then fell back on the "leaking of classified information" dodge.

Can we all take note of this now? That denial wasn't what it seemed to be. In fact, I doubt it was a real denial at all.

There's more there. Why not find it?

-- Josh Marshall


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?