Monday, July 11, 2005

The "Plame" Game

NEW YORK At numerous press briefings last week, not a single reporter asked White House Press Secretary about emerging allegations that top presidential aide Karl Rove was a source, or the source, for Time magazine's Matthew Cooper in the Valerie Plame case. On Sunday, Newsweek revealed a Cooper e-mail from July 2003 that showed that Rove indeed had talked to him about Plame and her CIA employment, although he apparently did not mention that she worked under cover.(or her name)

This development apparently freed the journalists to hit McClellan hard at this afternoon's briefing. Here is a partial transcript.

Q: Does the president stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in a leak of the name of a CIA operative?

MCCLELLAN: I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked related to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point.And as I’ve previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it.The president directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation. And as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren’t going to comment on it while it is ongoing

.Q: I actually wasn’t talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the president said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak to the press about information. I just wanted to know: Is that still his position?

MCCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that’s why I said that our policy continues to be that we’re not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium.The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium....

Blood in the water folks, but incredibly insignificant nonetheless. Look for a tremendous amount of bluster, vicious rhetoric and breat thumping with little consequence. The left have had soooooo little to work with they are betting the farm on this one. Likely a sucker bet as we will see.

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