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McClellan, 10/6/03, on "setting the record straight" VS "punishing" Wilson

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Bush_Eats_Beef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 08:12 AM
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McClellan, 10/6/03, on "setting the record straight" VS "punishing" Wilson
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/2003100...

Q Second thing. Newsweek is reporting this week that Karl Rove told "Hardball" host Chris Matthews that Wilson's wife was, "fair game."

MR. McCLELLAN: I think there is a different response in that article, as well. But, look, the subject of this investigation --

Q Did he say that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's talk about this. The subject of this investigation is whether someone leaked classified information. That's what this is about. And there are some that are trying -- some that see this as a political opportunity to attack the White House, and so they're talking about all sorts of other issues. The issue here is a very serious matter, and it needs to be pursued to the fullest, and we want to get to the bottom of it. The President expects everyone in his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. That is the tone he has set in his administration. That is the tone he has set here in Washington, D.C. And if someone leaked classified information, we want to know, and appropriate action should be taken against that person.

Q Okay, but did Karl Rove tell Chris Matthews --

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, no --

Q -- it was fair game?

MR. McCLELLAN: Now we're trying to talk about other issues. The subject of this investigation --

Q Why can't we talk about --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- the subject of this investigation is, did someone leak classified information? And I addressed this very issue, it came up. If people differ with our views, that's fine, let's have a debate about that, let's have a good, honest debate about it. But the subject of this investigation -- no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And that's why we're pushing -- that's why we're making it very clear to the White House that we want to cooperate fully in this investigation. And the President --

Q On that subject, are investigators from the Department of Justice coming here to interview White House aides today, tomorrow?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that -- I want to do everything I can to provide you with the information you need to do your job. But at the same time, let's recognize that this is an ongoing investigation. And I don't want to conduct that investigation from this podium. There are career prosecutors and investigators that are moving forward on this matter. And I want to make sure that we preserve the integrity of this --

Q But are --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- let me finish -- preserve the integrity of this investigation. I don't want to do anything that would hinder, slow down or harm their work. And if those investigators want information known, I'm sure that you can talk to them and they will provide you that information. But we may not know everything that they're doing. Obviously, they are pursuing the investigation, and they're doing it independently, as they should.

Q I'm not asking about the content of those conversations, by any means. I'm asking, do you know whether investigators are here this afternoon or tomorrow?

MR. McCLELLAN: But sometimes there are situations where investigators may want certain information to remain private as they move forward on the investigation. I'm not suggesting anything one way or the other, I'm just saying that I will provide you -- and I don't have anything to update you on with right now -- but if I can provide you that information in way that will help the investigation move forward, I will do so. But I think that those questions are properly directed to the career investigators at the Department of Justice. And if they want information known, I'm sure that they will share that information with you.

Q Scott, has the President asked his advisors how much or whether there was damage done to national security by this leak?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that, one, there are certain things assumed in that question. The investigation is ongoing at this point. And I think that the CIA is the one that will look at those matters. Where we are right now is, we want to move forward on this investigation and get to the bottom of this, and we want to do everything we can to cooperate in that investigation. If anyone has information, either inside or outside the administration, they should report it to the Department of Justice. But I think that, again, you should talk to the CIA about more specifics about that issue.

Q Did it first come to his attention in July?

Q You said a moment ago that the President expects all members of his staff to be held to the highest standards. Well, Ambassador Wilson yesterday, on "Meet the Press," said that even if Karl Rove did not actually originate this information, he condoned it by depicting Virginia Plame as "fair game."

MR. McCLELLAN: No, no, let's --

Q Do you believe that Karl Rove is upholding the highest ethical standards in doing that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's get something clear here about this investigation. Again, the subject of this investigation is whether someone leaked classified information. As I pointed out --

Q (Inaudible.)

MR. McCLELLAN: Can I finish, please? As I pointed out, there are some that are seeing this as a political opportunity to attack the White House, to try and bring down the White House. That's unfortunate. There is a difference between setting the record straight and doing something to punish someone for speaking out. We welcome a good, honest, straightforward debate. We welcome those who differ with our views. We welcome their views, those who differ with us. Freedom of speech is certainly a cornerstone of our democracy.

But there is a difference between setting the record straight when someone with differing views says something that is not backed up by the facts, as opposed to what some have suggested, that there was an effort to punish someone for speaking out against the administration. I think that's absurd.

Again, the subject of the investigation is whether or not someone leaked classified information. But if someone is talking about someone pointing out that a statement they made was not based on the facts and that it was wrong, that's simply setting the record state. And I think we should understand the differences there. But what you have now is some in this town -- and it all too often happens during an investigation like this -- some are now using this a political opportunity to seek partisan political gain.

Q Again, I'm sorry, I'm just following up on what the ambassador, himself, said, which was, there were two waves. The first wave was the original leak. The second wave was contacting six journalists and basically inviting them to go after --

MR. McCLELLAN: These are unsubstantiated accusations, let me remind you. But let me go back to the time period that we talked about. There were some statements made, and those statements were not based on facts. And we pointed out that it was not the Vice President's Office that sent Mr. Wilson to Niger. Director Tenet made it very clear in his statement that it was people in the counterproliferation area that made that decision on their own initiative.

There were also statements made that were portrayed as contradicting what the President said in the State of the Union address, when, in fact, Director Tenet also in that statement made it very clear that those findings were inconclusive. So that's what I'm talking about here. You have some people that are trying to move the goal post. Because there is a very serious investigation going on, some people are now seeing that as a political opportunity to attack the White House. And they're moving the goal post and talking about issues that are not the subject of this investigation.

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iwillalwayswonderwhy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. It's deja vu all over again
He's been using the same script for TWO YEARS!

The issue here is a very serious matter, and it needs to be pursued to the fullest, and we want to get to the bottom of it.

But what you have now is some in this town -- and it all too often happens during an investigation like this -- some are now using this a political opportunity to seek partisan political gain.

You have some people that are trying to move the goal post.




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