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Thursday, July 24, 2003
Ari Who?
Looks like Scott McClellan is picking up right where Ari Fleischer left off.
Q. The Robert Novak column last week identified the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson as a CIA operative who was working on WMD issues. Novak said that identification is based on information given to him by two administration sources. That column has now given rise to accusations that the administration deliberatively blew the cover of an undercover CIA operative, and in so doing, violated a federal law that prohibits revealing the identity of undercover CIA operatives. Can you respond to that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Thank you for bringing that up. That is not the way this President or this White House operates. And there is absolutely no information that has come to my attention or that I have seen that suggests that there is any truth to that suggestion. And, certainly, no one in this White House would have given authority to take such a step.

There were a number of followup questions, the answers to which featured a number of variations on the phrases "not the way this White House operates", "no one would have given authority", and "no information that suggests there is any truth". Now this is at least as bogus as Al Gore's "no controlling legal authority" remark, and it's about a significantly more serious subject.

TAPPED has some good analysis here, including something that I've been wondering about. Apparently "senior administration officials" is press shorthand for "the vice-president, the cabinet secretaries, those with cabinet-rank, the chief of staff, maybe the deputy chief of staff, and a couple of other really senior advisors." That's not a very big list. If there were two people on that list who exposed Plame to Bob Novak, who where they?

In short, doesn't it seem odd that the White House is so uninterested in finding out just who it was who exposed an undercover CIA agent?

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