Monday, June 2, 2008

Context: Novak Obliterates McClellan

Robert Novak has written an editorial covering some of the more obvious flaws in Scott McClellan's new presentation of history, but also provides the kind of great detail that only a person like Novak can provide. Here are some portions of the piece:

In Scott McClellan's purported tell-all memoir of his trials as President George W. Bush's press secretary, he virtually ignores Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's role leaking to me Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA employee.

... In claiming he was misled about the Plame affair, McClellan mentions Armitage only twice.

... On page 173, McClellan first mentions my Plame leak, but he does not identify Armitage as the leaker until page 306 of the 323-page book -- then only in passing. Armitage, anti-war and anti-Cheney, cannot fit the conspiracy theory that McClellan now buys into. When Armitage after two years publicly admitted he was my source, the life went out of Wilson's campaign. In "What Happened," McClellan dwells on Rove's alleged deceptions as if the real leaker were still unknown.

... He omits Armitage's slipping Mrs. Wilson's identity to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward weeks before he talked to me. He does not mention that Armitage turned himself in to the Justice Department even before Patrick Fitzgerald was named as special prosecutor.

... McClellan writes, "I don't know" whether the leaker -- he does not specify Armitage -- committed a felony. He ignores that Fitzgerald's long, expensive investigation found no violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, if only because Plame was not covered. Nevertheless, McClellan calls the leak "wrong and harmful to national security" -- ignoring questions of whether Plame really was engaged in undercover operations and whether her cover long ago had been blown.

... The bland book proposal McClellan's agent unsuccessfully hawked to publishers early in 2007 is not the volume now in bookstores. How and why McClellan changed is a story so far untold.

See the full Novak editorial here.

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