David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Thursday, July 12, 2007
At a White House press conference Thursday, President Bush acknowledged that someone in his administration leaked the name of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, but he avoided addressing the question of whether he saw it as a moral issue or was at all disappointed in his senior advisers.
Michael Abramowitz of the Washington Post asked Bush about his commutation of Libby's sentence, saying, "You spoke very soberly and seriously in your statement about how you weighed different legal questions in coming to your decision on that commutation. But one issue that you did not address was the issue of the morality of your most senior advisers leaking the name of a confidential intelligence operator. Now that the case is over ... can you say whether you were at all disappointed in the behavior of those senior advisers, and have you communicated that disappointment to them in any way?"
"First of all," responded Bush, "the Scooter Libby decision was, I thought, a fair and balanced decision. Secondly, I haven't spent a lot of time talking about the testimony that people throughout my administration were forced to give as a result of the special prosecutor. I didn't ask them during that time, I haven't asked them since. I am aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person, and, you know, I've often thought about what would have happened had that person come forth and said, 'I did it.' Would we have had this -- endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter? But it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House and it's run its course and now we're going to move on. Wendell..."
Bush then turned to a question from Wendell Goler of Fox News about "the consequences of failure" in Iraq.No follow-up questions were asked about Bush's initial pledge, which was not kept, to fire anyone in the administration found to be involved in the leaking of Plame's name. Critics say Plame was outed in political retaliation against her husband, Joe Wilson, who was critical of the administration's rhetoric on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.