Our country has spent over four years attempting to unravel the story surrounding the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity by members of the Bush administration to a number of journalists. The leak jeopardized our national security and belies the administration's long standing claim that they and the Republican Party are best suited to keep America safe.
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was one of the key figures in the Bush administration's efforts to respond publicly to the investigation into the Plame leak. He spoke for the White House and he was the filter through which the public learned about which officials were and were not involved in the leak. Standing in front of the White House Seal, McClellan famously denied any White House involvement in the leak, "If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."
Yesterday we found out that this simple statement attesting to McClellan's faith in the Bush administration's lawful behavior appears to be patently untrue. McClellan tells us, "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."
We need to launch an immediate investigation to determine the facts of this case, the extent of any cover up and determine what the President knew and when he knew it. If in fact the President of the United of States knowingly instructed his chief spokesman to mislead the American people, there can be no more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.
That any White House official, let alone the President and the Vice President of the United States, would instruct others to mislead the American people about revealing the identity of a covert CIA agent is beyond unconscionable. It is an action that makes us less safe and secure. Worse still, it undermines the ability of our intelligence community to act with the confidence that their work will not be jeopardized in order to advance the partisan interests of one political party.
The American public deserves to know the extent of President Bush's involvement in both the leak of Valerie Plame's identity and what efforts, if any, he made to direct a cover up. Scott McClellan has brought forward a new piece to this sordid puzzle - it is time, once and for all, for the public to know the full story behind the betrayal of Valerie Plame by the Bush administration.
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