Well, I’m sure Congress feels like they accomplished something today with their interrogation of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan. After making a series of inflated allegations in his memoirs, What Happened, he told Congress that he really doesn’t know what happened — at least not in l’affaire Plame. When asked whether President George Bush knew about any effort to leak Valerie Plame’s identity to the press, he said Bush didn’t know about it — and McClellan doesn’t know anything about anybody else’s efforts, either (via The Anchoress):
U.S. President George W. Bush did not know about a White House effort to leak the identity of a CIA agent but tried to protect staffers who were involved in one of the biggest scandals of his administration, former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told Congress on Friday.
McClellan said he did not think Bush was involved in a 2003 effort to blow the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, whose husband had accused the administration of twisting intelligence to justify the Iraq war. …
Vice President Dick Cheney’s involvement in the leak might have been greater, McClellan said.
“I do not think the president in any way had knowledge about it,” McClellan told lawmakers. “In terms of the vice president, I do not know. There is a lot of suspicion there.”
McClellan said that Bush ordered him to tell the press that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby didn’t have anything to do with the leaks, through the chief of staff at the White House. However, that might be because Bush believed that they didn’t. If Bush didn’t know about the supposed effort to leak Plame’s identity, then it stands to reason that he believed the assurances of both men that they didn’t have anything to do with it. And since neither of them had talked with Robert Novak, in whose column the leak occurred, that may well have been the case — at least as far as Bush was concerned.
Neither does he have any evidence of Cheney’s supposed involvement. “There is a lot of suspicion there” can describe just about every crackpot theory ever floated. There’s a lot of suspicion that George Bush planted bombs in the World Trade Center so they would collapse when remote-controlled jumbo aircraft hit the buildings, just as he spirited away the passengers and crew on the four flights so he could take them to a remote island and turn them into zombies. The suspicion doesn’t make it true. Usually that takes evidence, and apparently McClellan has none.
Still, Congress got to waste yet another day on yet another hearing into the Bush administration, rather than do something useful like ending the moratorium on off-shore drilling or looking into Countrywide’s sweetheart deals for Barbara Boxer, Chris Dodd, and Kent Dorgan. Gossip trumps policy once again.