Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan says that President Bush knowingly allowed him to present “false information” about the Valerie Plame affair to the press, in a small excerpt from his upcoming book that was released online Nov. 20.
Mr. McClellan’s publisher, Public Affairs Books, took the unique step of releasing just three paragraphs — 121 words in all — from “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What’s Wrong with Washington.”
The book is not due to be released until April.
But Mr. McClellan’s explosive if somewhat vague charge is sure to spark lots of interest and conversation over the coming months.
The excerpt never specifically says what the “false information” was, though it’s clear from the context that Mr. McClellan is referring to the many assertions he made that no one in the Bush administration had leaked the CIA agent’s name to the press.
“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,” Mr. McClellan writes.
“There was one problem. It was not true,” he writes.
Mr. McClellan says in the quest to “restore credibility [Mr. Bush] lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” the president and four of his top aides let the press secretary run with a lie.
“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,” Mr. McClellan writes.
Cool signature. Obama