Former Press Secretary McClellan: White House Should ‘Answer Questions’ Now on CIA Leak Case

By: E&P Staff

Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan said tonight that if he was still advising the president he would urge him and his team to drop their policy of not talking about the Libby/CIA leak case.

“I would advise the White House to find a way to get out there and talk about it and answer some of the questions,” he said on Larry King’s CNN show tonight. He said it would be “interesting to see” if the White House can sustain its refusal to say anything through the appeal process.

Libby was convicted today on four of five counts in the federal court, including charges or perjury and obstructing justice.

Former White House adviser David Gergen raised several questions that the White House should address, especially why Libby lied and why Libby and Vice President did not testify at the trial. “There’s clearly something they don’t want to come out,” he said. There’s “a lot more to know,” he said.

King had opened by playing a clip of McClellan’s famous statement to the press in October 23 — that he had gone to the suspects in the White House and they had told him they had nothing to do with any leaking. Were you lied to? King asked.

“I said what I believed at the time, based on the assurances given,” McClellan said. “Knowing what I know now,” he added, he would not have made that all-clear statement.

Gergen commented: “He was betrayed,” adding, “It was terribly unfair to him.”

John Dickerson, also on the show, said Ari Fleischer at the trial had not spoken truthfully on the stand when he said that he had leaked Plame’s name to Dickerson. How did he react when he heard Fleischer’s testimony? “Having covered the White House when Air was press secretary,” Dickerson replied, “I was used to him saying things that weren’t true.”

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