Skip to comments.Bush Aide Testifies in CIA Leak Probe
Posted on 02/09/2004 6:38:56 PM PST by free me
Bush Aide Testifies in CIA Leak Probe Mon Feb 9, 4:08 PM ET Add White House - AP to My Yahoo!
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites)'s press secretary said Monday he had testified before a federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA (news - web sites) undercover officer's identity.
Scott McClellan told reporters that he appeared before the panel in Washington last week.
"I'm doing my part to cooperate, as the president directed all of us to do," McClellan said aboard Air Force One during Bush's trip to Springfield, Mo.
The Justice Department (news - web sites) is trying to determine who leaked the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to syndicated columnist Robert Novak in July.
Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, contends the disclosure may have been intended to discredit his assertions that the Bush administration exaggerated Iraq (news - web sites)'s nuclear capabilities to build a case for war.
Whoever leaked Plame's name could be charged with a felony.
McClellan did not discuss the substance of his testimony or questions asked by prosecutors. Justice Department and White House officials have steadfastly refused to discuss any aspect of the investigation other than to confirm that it is under way.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago, who is overseeing the investigation, said he could not confirm or deny the identity of anyone who has appeared before the grand jury.
Fitzgerald was chosen to run the investigation in late December after Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) disqualified himself from the politically sensitive case to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.
A group of former CIA officers and several members of Congress are demanding a congressional investigation as well. So far, however, Republican leaders of the House and Senate have not initiated separate action.
Would he be in Novak's Rollidex? To be sure.
Would he have known that Wilson's wife had been involved in promoting him for the Niger assignment? Possibly. Presumably, the Wilson story had been a subject for discussion in the White House...and somebody in the building surely knew (or found out) that his wife had had a hand in his appointment.
Would McClellan have known that Plame's identity was protected? Almost certainly not. He would've had no reason to know.
So, yeah, he could be...
The best they'll be able to do is confirm a conversation between Novak and a subject during the suspect time frame.
As to their conversation, they may well have been exchanging recipes. Or talking about what Clinton and Vernon Jordan were reputed to always talk about...
And it wouldn't have necessarily been Plame's...
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