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UPDATE: Scott McClellan in Upcoming Book Ties Bush to CIA Leak Case -- Dodd Calls for Probe
By E&P Staff
Published: November 20, 2007 12:40 AM ET updated Tuesday
NEW YORK To no one's surprise in a world where top White House aides with any president eventually write a book about it, former Press Secretary Scott McClellan will be coming out with his volume in April. It's called "What Happened" and its publisher, Public Affairs, at its Web site now carries this brief excerpt -- which set off a media firestorm on Tuesday.
It also led to a call for a full probe by a top U.S. senator and condemnation from former CIA agent Valerie Plame.
E&P was first mainstream news outlet to report on Monday night that the McClellan excerpt reads:
"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."
AP reported this afternoon: "White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt and she had no immediate comment. McClellan turned down interview requests Tuesday."
Later Tuesday, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) , who is running for president, stated, "Today's revelations by Mr. McClellan are very disturbing and raise several important questions that need to be answered. If in fact the President of the United of States knowingly instructed his chief spokesman to mislead the American people, there can be no more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.
"During his confirmation process, Attorney General Mukasey said he would act independently. Accordingly, today, I call on the Attorney General to live up to his word and launch an immediate investigation to determine the facts of this case, the extent of any cover up and determine what the President knew and when he knew it."
Even later Friday, Valerie Plame released the following statement from her new home in Santa Fe, N.M.: "I am outraged to learn that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirms that he was sent out to lie to the press corps and the American public about two senior White House officials, Karl Rove and I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby who deliberately and recklessly revealed my identity as a covert CIA operations officer. Even more shocking, McClellan confirms that not only Karl Rove and Scooter Libby told him to lie but Vice President Cheney, Presidential Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and President Bush also ordered McClellan to issue his misleading statement. Unfortunately, President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's felony sentence has short-circuited justice.
"Vice President Cheney in particular knew that Scooter Libby was involved because he had ordered and directed his actions. McClellan's revelations provide important support for our civil suit against those who violated our national security and maliciously destroyed my career."
At The Lede blog at The New York Times, Mike Nizza responded earlier: "How exactly was the president involved? Did he take part in a cover-up? Will the next few sentences in the book explain the role of each official? Well, until more of the 400-page book is released, we are left with only a tantalizing bit of fodder for close watchers of the C.I.A.-leak story line to chew on. If Mr. McClellan is the first senior administration official to implicate President Bush in the scandal, we?ll definitely know by April 2008, when the memoir is due to hit store shelves. But something tells The Lede that this won?t be the last little taste of the book that the publisher will, um, leak to the press."
In its promotional material posted at Amazon.com and elsewhere, the publisher describes the book like this: "In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, written with no agenda other than to record his experiences and insights for the benefit of history, McClellan provides unique perspective on what happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, Washington's bitter partisanship, and two hotly-contested presidential campaigns. He gives readers a candid look into who George W. Bush is and what he believes, and into the personalities, strengths, and liabilities of his top aides.