Friday, June 24, 2005

RETRO-GAGGLE: Bush gets lawyered-up for the Plame investigation

The White House June 24, 2004

MR. McCLELLAN: I told you I'd keep you informed at the appropriate time. The President met with Pat Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in charge of the leak investigation, as well as members of his team. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. It lasted for a little more than an hour, probably about an hour and 10 minutes.
Q This morning?
MR. McCLELLAN: This morning. He also recently retained a lawyer, Jim Sharp, who you all have reported about before. I would just say that -- what I've said previously, and what the President has said: The leaking of classified information is a very serious matter. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with those in charge of the investigation. He was pleased to do his part to help the investigation move forward. No one wants to get to the bottom of this matter more than the President of the United States, and he has said on more than one occasion that if anyone -- inside or outside the government -- has information that can help the investigators get to the bottom of this, they should provide that information to the officials in charge.
And I think because this is an ongoing investigation that further questions are best directed to the officials in charge of the investigation.
Q Well, let me ask this as a policy question. You said that the President sees this as a serious matter, anybody inside or outside who has information should disclose it. What does the President -- if someone in the administration did disclose this information, what action is the President prepared to take against that individual?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, now you're asking me to speculate about an ongoing investigation --
Q No, no, I'm not. I'm just asking you to talk about what White House policy is.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I previously, I think, addressed that question. But the President --
Q Well, could you just refresh my memory?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- this is an ongoing investigation and --
Q Can you refresh my memory?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this is an ongoing investigation, John, and I'm going to direct further questions to the officials in charge of the investigation.
Q Yes, but this would be a White House matter. I mean, would the President fire a person if they had -- if it's found that they leaked this information? Would he admonish them, reprimand them -- what would he do?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that we made that clear previously -- I made that clear previously in briefings, you can go back and look exactly at what I said. It still stands.***

***The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.

Update: Here's a fascinating read on the Plame case, "John Bolton, Downing Street, Mohamed ElBaradei, and Valerie Plame," by Hunter, over at Daily Kos.

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