Dodd calls for investigation into Bush role in Plame affair
Following the publication of an advance excerpt from a new book by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Democratic presidential contender Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) on Tuesday called for a Justice Department investigation into President Bush's role in events surrounding the outing of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame.
McClellan's book, entitled What Happened, accuses President Bush and other top administration officials of helping to mislead the press about White House involvement in the leaking of Plame's name. The allegation was revealed in a brief excerpt on the website of the book's publisher.
"Today's revelations by Mr. McClellan are very disturbing and raise several important questions that need to be answered," Dodd wrote in a statement posted at his campaign's website on Tuesday. "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."
Later in the statement, Dodd asked that newly confirmed US Attorney General Michael Mukasey investigate the president's involvement in the matter.
"During his confirmation process, Attorney General Mukasey said he would act independently," the senator added. "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."
In his book, McClellan writes that he had "publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby" in the matter. But he claims his defense of the top staffers was based on inaccurate information.
"There was one problem. It was not true," he writes. "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."
Valerie Plame responded to McClellan's revelation in a Tuesday statement.
"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," said Plame. "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."
Although McClellan hasn't publicly commented on his book excerpt, NBC White House correspondent David Gregory told MSNBC's Hardball program that McClellan may be making a quiet effort to downplay the accusation.
"Two White House officials, former White House officials have told me today that McClellan himself is pointing people to one of his previous statements, which was...that Bush, the president was given the same assurances that he, Scott McClellan, was from the people involved," reported Gregory. "So there is an attempt to water this down."
Gregory went on to question the release of that particular excerpt from the book.
"Why is it being promoted in this way if it isn't completely accurate," Gregory continued, "and what are we supposed to make about something that raises more questions than it answers?"
The following video is from MSNBC's HARDBALL, broadcast on November 20, 2007.