The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

McClellan ‘unknowingly passed along false information’

McClellan ‘unknowingly passed along false information’

the Plame leak scandal broke, and Americans first began to learn that
the White House has outed an undercover CIA agent during a war, it was
then-press secretary Scott McClellan who had to lie. He told reporters
(and the nation) that leaks of classified information just wasn’t “how
this White House operates,” and more specifically, that Karl Rove and
Scooter Libby “were not involved.”

We now know, of course, that McClellan’s assurances were completely
wrong. We don’t, however, know the details of why McClellan said what
he did. In a new book, to be published in April, the former press
secretary will reportedly offer his personal take on his White House
experiences, including what transpired during the Bush gang’s Plame

Yesterday, McClellan’s publisher released a three-paragraph teaser from “What happened.”

The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me
to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the
failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the
White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg
lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of
the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

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.

It’s hard to know, in just six sentences, exactly where McClellan is
going with this. Was he outraged about having been lied to? Did Bush
and Cheney approve of the lies? Why didn’t McClellan resign after
realizing how the Bush White House operates included leaking classified
information for political gain?

I suppose we’re expected to buy the book to find out.

For what it’s worth, in its promotional material posted at and elsewhere, the publisher describes the book like this:

“In this refreshingly clear-eyed book, written with no
agenda other than to record his experiences and insights for the
benefit of history, McClellan provides unique perspective on what
happened and why it happened the way it did, including the Iraq war,
Hurricane Katrina, Washington’s bitter partisanship, and two
hotly-contested presidential campaigns. He gives readers a candid look
into who George W. Bush is and what he believes, and into the
personalities, strengths, and liabilities of his top aides.

“Finally, McClellan looks to the future, exploring the lessons this
presidency offers the American people as we prepare to elect a new

Given McClellan’s track record, I find it rather hard to believe he
simply cares about “the benefit of history.” He was one of Bush’s
longest-serving aides, and a blind loyalist. I hope no one’s expecting
a provocative tell-all that makes the White House or the president look

I have a hunch his book will be a lot like his press briefings — shallow and oblique, with a healthy dose of self-serving spin.

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