THE BLOG
10/19/2005 10:16 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

When Was the President Told?

Today’s New York Daily News reports that “[a]n angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair..” and that Rove conceded to Bush that “he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.”

Yet, just last year on June 11, 2004, the President responded affirmatively when asked if he would “fire anyone found to” have leaked the agent’s name.

And White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said “If someone in the administration, anywhere in the administration, leaked classified information, we want to know who it is. The President has always made it clear that the leaking of classified information is a very serious matter.” (October 2, 2003)

And this: “The President -- no one wants to get to the bottom of this more than the President of the United States. And the sooner the better.” (October 7, 2003)

And this exchange:

“Q -- you asked these individuals. Did the President ask you to ask those individuals whether they were the leaker?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President made it very clear that we should cooperate fully with the Department of Justice. And in that, keeping with that direction, I am making sure that we are doing that, from my standpoint. And I think part of cooperating fully is looking into these unsubstantiated accusations that were made to make it clear to everybody that those individuals were not involved.

Q But I still want to nail down, because I don't think this is clear. Does the President want you, or will he, himself -- or does he want someone else within the administration, besides the two of you, to individually poll senior staff members to find out who the leaker is?

MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, keep in mind that there has been no information brought to our attention, beyond what's in the media reports. to suggest that there was White House involvement. As the President talked about earlier, there are a lot of senior administration officials in Washington, D.C. And the President wants the career officials at the Department of Justice, who are charged with looking into matters like this, to get to the bottom of this. And we are doing everything we can to assist them get to the bottom of this. They are the appropriate officials to look into this. They have vast experience in looking into matters like this, because they are involved in these types of matters. And that's exactly what they are doing. “ (October 7, 2003)

If this story is true, it raises troubling questions to me -- and I think should trouble the White House Press Corps as well.

If Rove told the President about his role in the leak, why did the President say what he said last year?

If Rove told the President about his role in the leak two years ago, did that occur before or after McClellan made these statements? If it was before, why did McClellan say what he said? If it was after, why has he never corrected the record?