Mr. President, were you the one who authorized the leak of the classified NIE?
November 18, 2008 6:57 AM   Subscribe

"Yeah, I did." On November 15, Scott McClellan, former white house press secretary to President George W. Bush revealed to an audience at the Miami Book Fair that President Bush had confided in him that he had personally authorized Scooter Libby to leak the classified information in the Plame affair.
posted by acro (101 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is there still time to impeach the fucker?
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2008


Is there something that's the opposite of a Presidential Pardon? It seems like Bush might have an excellent candidate for whatever that may be.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Which is high treason.
posted by Brian B. at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yeah, i'm sure this will stick.

People need to come to terms with the fact that this dude is going to leave the white house, and then do lots of blow and party with hookers till he dies.
posted by chunking express at 7:08 AM on November 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Once Caesar gives up his imperium, he can be prosecuted. Or is he planning to cross the Mississippi?
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:08 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by The White Hat at 7:09 AM on November 18, 2008


It's still hard for me to tell whether McClellan is a brave whistleblower or a cowardly ship-jumper. On one hand, he wrote his book, on the other hand, he kept the smoking gun in his pocket until after Democrats won the election. I have a feeling if McCain had won, he might not have chosen to reveal this now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:09 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Forgive me if I find McClellan's credibility to be as lacking now as I did when he was press secretary. Maybe even more so now, since he's got books to sell.

If he'd come out with this while he was still press secretary I'd give him points for having a pair and for being a loyal American. As it is now, I see him as meh.

If what Bush did were high crimes and misdemeanor or treason, then by McClellan's own admission, at best, he's an accessory after the fact.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:12 AM on November 18, 2008


Hey now, hey now! Who're ya gonna believe - this Giant Douche or your old buddy Turd Sandwich??

As for me, yeah I would love to see Bush prosecuted, but Scott McClellan? I'd just luke to see him step on a rake about 90 times in slow motion. Or maybe run, full speed, into a sliding glass door. There's a corgi quality to him.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:15 AM on November 18, 2008 [13 favorites]


I think Bush needs a going-away present. We could all pitch in.
posted by pracowity at 7:15 AM on November 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


S...
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:16 AM on November 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


What cjorgensen said. Why believe this guy?
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:17 AM on November 18, 2008


It's over. It was horrible, and traumatizing, and justice was not done, but the bad people can't hurt us anymore. It's all over now.

We have a lot of problems to solve. We should really focus on the future.

*holds metafilter close, rocks gently*
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:19 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


By the way, the FPP should read that Scott McClellan CLAIMS President Bush confided in him blah, blah, blah.
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:19 AM on November 18, 2008


On January 19, 2009 Bush is going to pardon Cheney of all crimes in office. Bush will then resign and Cheney will become president and then pardon Bush for his crimes.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:19 AM on November 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


We let Nixon get away with it and established a precedent that you can do pretty much whatever you want as President. Holding Bush accountable would be a game-changer.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:20 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's over. It was horrible, and traumatizing, and justice was not done, but the bad people can't hurt us anymore. It's all over now.

We have a lot of problems to solve. We should really focus on the future.


Nixon was let off for Watergate for this reason, Reagan was let off for Iran Contra for this same reason, now you want to do it again? No, this all must be stopped or the next wave will operate with even more impunity. I don't care if we have to put off healthcare, and if everyone in America loses their jobs, these men MUST be brought to justice.
posted by any major dude at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2008 [22 favorites]


Why believe this guy?

I agree that McClellan's credibility is shot: does anyone here however believe that Bush was not involved in leaking Plame's name?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:28 AM on November 18, 2008


I don't care if we have to put off healthcare, and if everyone in America loses their jobs, these men MUST be brought to justice.

Justice...or revenge?*


*This is my favorite line from "Clash of the Titans"
posted by ColdChef at 7:32 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm finding McClellan's claim to be very difficult to believe. Bush making decisions in the White House instead of Cheney? It strains credibility.
posted by Legomancer at 7:33 AM on November 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


We should really focus on the future.

We should, by taking care of the "past."
posted by From Bklyn at 7:34 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unamerican traitor. Talk about your High Crimes and Misdemeanors!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:35 AM on November 18, 2008


I see McClellan's attempt at writing a book like I see Robert McNamara's... both had lost all public credibility, but were willing to publicly work to acknowledge their own errors of judgment.
posted by acro at 7:36 AM on November 18, 2008


The U.S. deports 80-year-old German concentration camp guards, but it won't punish it's own leaders for war crimes? The excuse "we have a lot of problems and need to concentrate on moving on" just doesn't cut it. It smacks of Sarah Palin's answer to criticisms "You're playing the blame game" and "I won't get involved in such negativity."

I expect the Obama administration to clean house thoroughly and to hold the responsible people accountable for each and every illegal action they find. And that goes for anyone from any administration who went rogue, be it the administration of Bushes Jr. or Senior, Clinton, Reagan or Carter.
posted by orange swan at 7:37 AM on November 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Scott McClellan is a vile turd. Where were you when you didn't have a book to pitch Scottie? Oh yeah, you were up there in front of the podium every day, lying for a living.

Not content with being the Information Minister and public face for this bunch of crooks, Scottie now shamelessly bashes them for profit. If there's any prosecution to be done, let's start with the guy who knew the truth and lied to us about it for money.
posted by rusty at 7:38 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


...this all must be stopped or the next wave will operate with even more impunity.

Exactly. Stop the cycle. Rove and Cheney both came from previous administrations. If they'd had more mud on them (or been in jail already) Bush would not have happened.
posted by DU at 7:38 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Perhaps Jesus will save us the next time someone or several someones hijack our country's government. Where is this fucking Jesus when you need him? I call BS.
posted by IvoShandor at 7:39 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Coldchef, one of my favorite quotes is this:

true peace is not merely the absence of tension. It is the presence of justice - MLK

Just because justice in this situation will be very messy doesn't mean it isn't absolutely necessary.
posted by any major dude at 7:41 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


McClellan's made a lucrative post-press secretary career blabbing about secrets and scandal in the Bush administration. The concept of loyalty seems to completely elude him (which, given its target, is fine by me). He's a worm of the highest order, selling the story of his former lap dog days when the political climate makes it safe for him to do so. As long as he keeps revealing juicy bits like this, he'll never have to work a day in his life.

I also have no reasons not to believe this claim. Bush, guilty of treason? Color me shocked. Wake me up on the day he hangs for it.
posted by tiger yang at 7:43 AM on November 18, 2008


Bush is going to pardon Cheney of all crimes in office. Bush will then resign and Cheney will become president and then pardon Bush for his crimes.

This theory has been floated for years. It seems pretty unlikely, though I would actually love to see that happen. That would cause this great little 44* asterisk forever in the record, necessitating footnotes every time it's mentioned, which would highlight the criminality of the whole term for all history books to come.
posted by rokusan at 7:46 AM on November 18, 2008


I think it'd be awesome if Bush gets his comeuppance. There is an article in Harpers this month about sending all their asses to jail. I just don't see it happening.

It'd be hype though, if on day 1 of Obama's presidency their hauling peoples asses into court.
posted by chunking express at 7:47 AM on November 18, 2008


I love the hate for McClellan in this thread; it reminds me of the hate for Mark Felt when he exposed himself.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:48 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree with Pope Guilty upthread that it's our fault for letting Nixon off this way. Doing it again, with Ms. Pelosi's help no less, just paves an even easier road for future crook-presidents.

I also agree McLellan is a vile little turd, though I doubt that puts me on the cutting edge. A conscience five years too late? Go to hell, buddy.
posted by rokusan at 7:49 AM on November 18, 2008


And that Bush pardons Cheney pardons Bush game sounds like a good way to make sure you look like criminals if there was any doubt whatsoever.
posted by chunking express at 7:50 AM on November 18, 2008


And that Bush pardons Cheney pardons Bush game sounds like a good way to make sure you look like criminals if there was any doubt whatsoever.

The fuck do they care? They've got pardons at that point and nobody can touch them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2008


Where is this fucking Jesus when you need him?

He's busy lining up the blow and hookers. He's just so great that way.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fuck do they care? They've got pardons at that point and nobody can touch them.

It's not like a pardon is magic. People can still touch them, with guns, sticks, stones, etc. A situation like that sounds like the sort of thing that would get people fired the fuck up. It's like a big Fuck You to the country. You don't think that would play out badly? It's not like the media needs to protect his ass because if they report badly about him they lose ratings. The Bush pardons Cheneys Pardons Bush thing is never going to happen.
posted by chunking express at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2008


The interesting thing about this is that Bush authorizing the leak makes all this legal, I think. All US classified information is classified under the (sole) authority of the President as per Executive Order 12958 (for the Bush administration). The has been a similar executive order for previous administrations and there will be another for the Obama administration. In no way do I think Bush is any better off as a result of this. However, strictly speaking, I'm not sure Bush has really done anything illegal.

General disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, I have no intention of becoming a lawyer, and I would definitely not represent anyone in a war crimes trial.
posted by saeculorum at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2008


Of course, when I meant Executive Order 12958, I really meant Executive Order 13292.
posted by saeculorum at 7:58 AM on November 18, 2008


> Justice...or revenge?*

Justvenge.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:00 AM on November 18, 2008


Serious question here: Can't Bush just pardon himself?
posted by DanSachs at 8:00 AM on November 18, 2008


People can still touch them, with guns, sticks, stones, etc.

Secret Service?

Also, 20-30% of the public still supports Bush even now. Go over to RedState (let alone FreeRepublic) and then try to convince yourself that they'd stop supporting Bush once the 59271st piece of evidence came in that he's a lying war criminal.
posted by DU at 8:03 AM on November 18, 2008


There's no way the Obama administration is going to prosecute these guys - doing so would imply that the administration would take as an important political goal the unwinding of all the executive power that the last, what, six or seven presidential administrations have carved out.

Even though I bet Barack Obama, the man, thinks that the office of the President has garnered enough unaccountable power that it is a danger to the political foundations of the Republic, Barack Obama, the President, will have an infinitude of intractable messes to clean up, and the most expeditious way to begin cleaning them up will be to rely on the powers of the executive office. There will be much screaming from the right, even though they designed the powergrab.
posted by mwhybark at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


People can still touch them, with guns, sticks, stones, etc.

So your solution is mob violence against the President and Vice-President?

chunking, buddy, I'm enough left-wing whacko for one thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:06 AM on November 18, 2008


Hi Secret Service guys!
posted by educatedslacker at 8:08 AM on November 18, 2008


Hey, I *like* corgis.

In the aftermath of the elections, I have been wondering how the media will focus on the current administration. They have been speculating on Obama's cabinet members and Michelle's wardrobe decisions (yawn) but how about that current president who we have had a shocking lack of leadership in the middle of an economic crisis? And not only has he been notably absent in being any sort of president whatsoever, the public have also be notably not aware or particularly care.

I mean this happened November 15, here it is 3 days later and what is supposedly a call for treason, impeachment, even a fucking slap on the wrist and all the news outlets have nada. Is it that people are so eager to get on with the next president they'd rather forget the current one exists at all, even when faced with overwhelming evidence of evil doings?

Or have they just had enough of politics and they're just wondering when the next episode of Grey's Anatomy is on?
posted by like_neon at 8:11 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


So your solution is mob violence against the President and Vice-President?

My solution isn't mob violence. WTF? Read my comment.
posted by chunking express at 8:12 AM on November 18, 2008


I love the hate for McClellan in this thread; it reminds me of the hate for Mark Felt when he exposed himself.

It is feeling a bit vile in here. But it's only natural, people are still bitter, in large numbers, about all things Bush. Worse yet, a Bush traitor, that's like Benedict Arnold working for Nixon and then Benedict Arnolding. Like he does, you know. That said, he did endorse Obama (no need to fight the wave when you see it comin' I guess), and he has exposed a lot of easily believable lies, even with the book deal, does anyone doubt this stuff could very well be 100 percent true? So I can't completely knock the guy, but I do remember his press conferences, and his douche hattery (known as "public relations", somehow), so I can definitely understand the ire. I guess I'm a Scott McClellan-agnostic.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:15 AM on November 18, 2008


To be more clear: Bush doesn't need to do anything. He doesn't need to jump through any weird legal hoops. As I said up thread, Bush is going to leave the Whitehouse and do lots of blow and party with hookers till he dies. There is no one coming for him. That's how America deals with its criminal administrations. They ignore them.
posted by chunking express at 8:21 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think he was probably involved in the leak, but I don’t think there’s any way it was as straightforward as Bush coming out and saying it.

I mean - ‘say there boss, did you commit a felony?’ Why, yes, yes I did. Why do you ask?
C’mon.

Probably was something like -
McC: Mr. President, I have to know so I can represent this to the press appropriately and protect us - did you or did you not authorize the leak on Plame, yes or no?
Bush: Uh..no.

McC: No, you did or no you didn’t?
Bush: Uh...yes.

McC: So -yes, you authorized the leak or yes, you did not?
Bush: What was the other thing there, with the ‘no’ on...uh.

McC: Look, it’s very simple, am I right in thinking you did not authorize the leak?
Bush: Er, no.

McC: Then I am wrong in thinking you didn’t... or did?
Bush: Uh, sorry, I meant ‘no’ meaning yes.

McC: Mr. President, please, I need clear direction on this, did you or didn’t you leak the information, yes or no?
Bush: Ah...yes?

McC: Yes you did? Or yes you didn’t?
Rumsfeld *walking in*: Uh, it’s getting late. Are you two going to speak to the press or not?

McC: Sir, there still seems to be some confusion as to whether I’m right or not that the president leaked the information about Mz. Plame.

Bush: I said ‘no’ already.

McC: No, there’s no confusion? Or no I’m not right in thinking you leaked the information?

Rumsfeld: ....lol, whut?

etc.

On the other... who could lie to ‘Scottie’?

“I have a feeling if McCain had won, he might not have chosen to reveal this now.”

I agree. And if y’all remember - there was a lot of talk back and forth between McClellan and Pat Fitzgerald.
And he has implicated Bush in the past. April of ‘07 I believe.

Pretty much just puts the ball in the court of whomever Obama’s AG will be.

And remember all the dicking around with prosecutors Bushco did? Yeah, well connected lawyers who are among the best at pursuing high level criminal cases - probably not the right group to wantonly screw with.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


If America has to go down the tubes, I hope it ends like Reservoir Dogs did.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


My horse SHIRLEY loves eating THIStles...
posted by kittyprecious at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2008


Bush Jr., Cheney of the Scottster ever stand in front of a judge I'll buy everyone in this thread the beverage of their choice.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2008


send bush to gitmo before it's too late!
posted by JVA at 8:28 AM on November 18, 2008


Why impeach Bush? I'd rather give him immunity, make him testify, and ruin the political careers of all the younger republicans employed by his administration.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:28 AM on November 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Was that a conscious Clue parody?
posted by DU at 8:32 AM on November 18, 2008


Executive Order 12958

Is that the one where they kill all the Jedis?
posted by rokusan at 8:34 AM on November 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'll give 2:1 odds to anyone that thinks Bush will actually be convicted of anything.
posted by electroboy at 8:39 AM on November 18, 2008


Good luck getting Paraguay to extradite the motherfucker.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:40 AM on November 18, 2008


“Obama, the President, will have an infinitude of intractable messes to clean up, and the most expeditious way to begin cleaning them up will be to rely on the powers of the executive office.”

Maybe. That bothers me. Although I think he has the fortitude to drop the reins. Still - even if he doesn’t it’s been the U.S.’s M.O. to practically beg for a charismatic unitary exec.
But - and I think this is his saving grace - it is not only not how he thinks, that is, his way of doing things - it’s also not how his power structure is formed.
His strength is in his breadth, not in the depth of his control. He is an oar not a reed. (By ‘he’ I mean Obama’s organization and administration, not the man himself).

That could change of course (Lord Acton). But we tend to rely on what works for us.
Pretty much all that is why I voted for him.
I don’t think stripping the powers of the office president would affect him much.
Which makes his charisma and gift for influence - damned dangerous as it is - an absolute boon, since he doesn’t need to augment it with unilateral control.
So it’s really a matter of patience. (Which it should be pretty clear from the campaign he has in spades).

Still, I could be wrong. And even if I’m right, the future isn’t static.

I’d like to see him prosecute. The only real question, if I’m Obama, is how divisive it would be and if it would hurt the country more than it would help it.
Tough call.
I’m glad he’s smarter than I am.

Maybe a symbolic thing. Bit of sugar to help it go down. Cut some deals with individuals, but permanently change the apparatus so it can’t happen again. Seize some assets.
I wouldn’t mind watching Bushco twist, but deep a change in the country might be worth it.

I mean, that’s the goal isn’t it? Reform and making sure what occured under the Bush administration never happens again.
...course, it’d be nice to get some of the money back. And disincentivize war and profiteering (which is at the heart of what occured). The whole strike at the root thing. Hell, I’d let them all walk if we get that done.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2008


DU - yes (what with the crime and ‘mystery’ air and such)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:45 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bush Jr., Cheney of the Scottster ever stand in front of a judge I'll buy everyone in this thread the beverage of their choice.

Damn, From Bklyn, how am I going to make any money when you're giving away free stuff?
posted by electroboy at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2008


FWIW, I don't think Bush authorized anything. He may claim that after the fact, since as President, he's the only person who COULD do that legally, but that's a retcon designed to make the problem go away.

Admitting anyone else authorized it would expose that person (Cheney? Rove? Some lower-level operative?) to prosecution. So they claim that Bush instantly/magically declassified the information (without any record of doing so)... presto chango, legal.
posted by rokusan at 8:58 AM on November 18, 2008


The law giver, of all beings, most owes the law allegiance. He of all men should behave as though the law compelled him. But it is the universal weakness of mankind that what we are given to administer we presently imagine we own. - HG Wells
posted by rough ashlar at 9:09 AM on November 18, 2008


I kick myself every morning for not acting on a business impulse I had a number of years ago. Think of the money I could be rolling and bathing in if I had actually created the "George W. Bush Head on a Stick" rubber head on a stick. Fuck!
posted by Manhasset at 9:11 AM on November 18, 2008


There's no way Bush and crew will face any serious legal repercussions. That sucks. I think it would send a great message to the world, and hopefully deter similar things from happening in the future. Unfortunately, it won't happen. It'd be seen as partisan, divisive, petty, etc.

What we need to do as responsible Americans is to make sure that Bush is remembered as the worst president ever. When future school children learn about Bush's presidency I want them to know just how corrupt and inept and self serving he was. I'd like his family name to become synonymous with failure. I want this to become part of our standard historical narrative, along with Washington chopping down the cherry tree and JFK banging Marilyn Monroe. These last 8 years should be viewed as the nadir of American history. The time when America almost jumped the shark and irrevocably lost its way.

Granted, some kind of legal hand slap would help. I don't think it's going to happen. We at least need to cement Bush's reputation so that this sort of thing doesn't happen again for a long time.
posted by Telf at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


DU - yes (what with the crime and ‘mystery’ air and such)

so communism was just a red herring?
posted by bowmaniac at 9:26 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Frankly, I just don't care anymore. Let's just pretend that Bush doesn't exist for the next few months.
posted by hazyspring at 9:31 AM on November 18, 2008


The time when America almost jumped the shark and irrevocably lost its way.

I'd like to see if we clear the tank before we start counting chickens.

While I'm mixing and scratching metaphors, wouldn't jumping the shark be better than almost jumping the shark?
posted by JaredSeth at 9:41 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm in the "tried for war crimes" rather than "impeachment" camp. But this -- isn't this hearsay? McClellan reports what Bush said to him?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I predict the following will happen as a result of this revelation:
posted by tommasz at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


While I'm mixing and scratching metaphors, wouldn't jumping the shark be better than almost jumping the shark?

Hmm. Good point.
posted by Telf at 9:50 AM on November 18, 2008


But this -- isn't this hearsay? McClellan reports what Bush said to him?

There's a hearsay exemption for admissions by a party to a lawsuit that are offered as evidence against that party. Now, actually getting to the part of the trial where McClellan takes the stand is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Heck, getting to the trial at all is probably expecting too much, sadly.
posted by jedicus at 10:18 AM on November 18, 2008


I kind of wish that Obama would simply have the Secret Service strangle Bush in his sleep, so that the "healing" could begin.

But then, I always had a soft spot for the Roman Empire.
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't know, is Bush crafty enough to do such a thing? Maybe it was Cheney in disguise.
posted by starman at 10:51 AM on November 18, 2008


Let's just pretend that Bush doesn't exist for the next few months.

He's still keeping busy.
posted by Tehanu at 11:14 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks for that, jedicus. I especially appreciated the section differentiating between party admission and statements against interest, which is what I thought at first you meant.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:51 AM on November 18, 2008


Nixon was let off for Watergate for this reason, Reagan was let off for Iran Contra for this same reason, now you want to do it again?

August, 1974 - A young man wearing a kind of cheap-looking wizard suit (look - there's a Woolworth's tag on the hat) stands on the White House roof. He raises his wand. He speaks: "The Nixon has resigned! No further efforts are needed! Let the healing begin!"

March, 1987 - A somewhat older man, wearing a magician outfit with a KMart label stands on the roof of the White House. He raises his wand and speaks: "The Teflon Chief accepts full responsibility! The Commission of Tower has spoken! No further efforts are needed! Let the healing begin!"

January, 2008 - An old man wearing a wizard costume from iParty is on top of the White House. He lifts his wand and speaks: "The Dubya has left the building! The Cheney has gone to Dubai! No further efforts are needed! Let the healing Begin!" He turns and mutters to himself "This time it'll work for sure."



posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wizard's calendar courtesy CompUSA.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:07 PM on November 18, 2008


It'd be seen as partisan, divisive, petty, etc.

Yup. Nothing's worse than treating every little thing like it's some kind of high treason.
posted by rokusan at 12:16 PM on November 18, 2008


Bush is going to pardon Cheney of all crimes in office. Bush will then resign and Cheney will become president and then pardon Bush for his crimes.

That would make a complete mockery of that special power and the Constitution itself. At the very least it exposes a major weakness in the doc itself: it assumes that only people of virtue inhabit these offices.

As fitting as it might be for Cheney and Bush to piss and then shit on the Constitution on the way out, the litigation that such a turn of events would trigger makes it completely impractical.
posted by psmealey at 12:20 PM on November 18, 2008


In looking up Scott McCLellan on Wikipedia now, it's astonishing how this man has said things and gone back on his word. Could it be that he wants to tell the truth but is afraid for being killed for it? I don't know what to think. At the very least his choosing Obama is a declaration of loss of faith in the Bushco regime that would have had some impact on the Republican Party in this election.

According to his Wikipedia bio:
"When asked about his testimony McClellan said: 'I don't have anything incriminating to say here if that's what you're looking for.'[11] During the actual testimony McClellan said: 'I do not think the president had any knowledge" [of the revelation of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity]; 'In terms of the vice president, I do not know.'"

I figure Scott McClellan had to be handpicked by the BushCo administration as somebody who would be on their side and so it must have taken a huge inner shift for him to reverse his direction. But he seems unable to say the same words in a court as he does outside of court.

His bio on Wikipedia:

"Karen Hughes, then Governor of Texas George W. Bush's communications director, hired McClellan to be Bush's deputy press secretary. McClellan served as Bush's travelling press secretary during the 2000 Presidential election. McClellan became White House Deputy Press Secretary in 2003. McClellan replaced Ari Fleischer, who stepped down as White House Press Secretary on July 15, 2003. McClellan announced his resignation as Press Secretary on April 19, 2006. On April 26, it was announced that Tony Snow would succeed him in the position."

So he worked for BushoCo in good faith in the 2 3/4 years from August 2003 to April 19, 2006 right after all the 9/11 War on Terror hype was at its fever pitch.

The Iraq War had started 5 months before.

Plame retired from the CIA in Dec 2005 due to her cover being blown.

McClellan resigns 6 months later.

"McClellan stopped short of saying that Bush purposely lied about his reasons for invading Iraq, writing that the administration was not "employing out-and-out deception" to make the case for war in 2002,[6] though he did assert the administration relied on an aggressive "political propaganda campaign" over well-established facts to sell the Iraq war His book was also critical of the press corps for being too accepting of the administration's perspective on the war[5] and of Condoleezza Rice for being "too accommodating" and overly careful about protecting her own reputation."

But then I read:
In a Washington Post article on June 1, 2008, McClellan said of Bush: "I still like and admire George W. Bush. I consider him a fundamentally decent person, and I do not believe he or his White House deliberately or consciously sought to deceive the American people."

What he says here is what I think the Republicans tell themselves now, after 88,967 – to over a million Iraqi dead. Yeah, "very troubling" that mass murder and invasion of another country. Not to mention the Americans killed or wounded.

"Speaking frequently on the TV circuit, McClellan told Keith Olbermann in an interview on June 9, 2008, regarding the Iraq War planning: 'I don`t think there was a conspiracy theory there, some conspiracy to deliberately mislead. I don`t want to imply a sinister intent. There might have been some individuals that knew more than others and tried to push things forward in a certain way, and that`s something I can`t speak to. I don`t think that you had a bunch of people sitting around a room, planning and plotting in a sinister way. That`s the point I make in the book. At the same time, whether or not it was sinister or not, it was very troubling that we went to war on this basis.'"

The Plame mess is part and parcel of the BushCo administration's arguments that Iraq was proliferating weapons of mass destruction so as to justify its preemptive war in Iraq.

This is a big deal. I just wish this McCLellan guy had a better character to back up his disclosure.
posted by nickyskye at 12:34 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


What I like about this link is how utterly bored the audience appears to be.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:36 PM on November 18, 2008


I think my progressive friends, for the sake of their blood pressure, should make peace with the fact that Bush and Cheney will never be tried for their crimes (war crimes and otherwise). Obama doesn't seem to be the vengeful type, and frankly Congressional Democrats aren't exactly as ruthless as that old Starr gangbang the GOP unleashed against Bill Clinton, guilty of enjoying some consensual fellatio with a woman of legal age not his wife.

I suspect that the Obama campaign has also run the numbers on, what would you rather get, some decent health care initiative or a Bush prosecution, if you can't have both? (and God knows you can't have both, let's be realistic). I also suspect their numbers say "health care". I mean, Justice with a capital J is awesome, but putting Bush on trial how many 2010 votes is going to win you if you compare it to health care and other more practical stuff. even if you think Obama is awesome, he's still a politician, and politicians care about votes (as I argued here during the FISA fiasco, a statesman is a politician who got himself elected).

Either you make peace with that, or you can write a letter to the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, maybe he'll start subpoeans and all...

my suggestion: does the thought of Bush and Cheney free as the proverbial birds upset your stomach? just think about an army of racist scumbags the McCain Belt watching the news every day to find a black guy with a Muslim name as their President. it's four years drinking gallons of antacid for them, much worse than any kind of distaste you might have for Bush getting away with murder. I think it's pretty good payback, these people living under a black President, Bush and Cheney be damned.
posted by matteo at 12:41 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


my suggestion: does the thought of Bush and Cheney free as the proverbial birds upset your stomach? just think about an army of racist scumbags the McCain Belt watching the news every day to find a black guy with a Muslim name as their President.

I don't care about that. I'm worried about the people they're burrowing into posts who'll be around to dig in their heels and make mischief long after Cheney's retired to a brand new Batcave and Bush's memoirs are finally marketable.
posted by Tehanu at 1:01 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm torn. I think it would be unreasonable to start believing the things McClelland says now. The man's a professional liar.
posted by pompomtom at 1:06 PM on November 18, 2008


To be fair, I think any press secretary is a professional liar. But yeah he doesn't strike me as someone with any real integrity, before or after his role in the Bush administration.
posted by Tehanu at 1:18 PM on November 18, 2008


Tangentially related:

Obama to pick Holder as Attorney General

Any thoughts, MeFi collective wisdom, on what this appointment might mean?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2008


Scott McClellan (in his best Don Addams voice): Would you believe that George W. Bush told me that he authorized the Plame leak?

MeFi: I find that hard to believe.

SM (i.h.b.D.A.v.): Would you belive Vladimir Putin?

Mefi: No.

SM (i.h.b.D.A.v.): Jenna Bush wearing a fake mustache?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 2:36 PM on November 18, 2008


Good luck getting Paraguay to extradite the motherfucker.

If the US wanted him out of Paraguay, they could probably just pull his secret service detail. Although he could afford his own security, his efforts to ensure loyalty above all else would probably sabotage the competence of his team.


As for pardons, isn't it technically an amnesty if he's not already convicted? Also, there is no need for him to resign and have Cheney grant him an amnesty., he can amnesty himself.

If he does though, what's to prevent the next administration from extraditing him to the ICC aside from the political fallout? That same political fallout would probably prevent a domestic prosecution.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:05 PM on November 18, 2008


This just in: Vice President Cheney and former Attorney General Gonzales indicted by Texas Grand Jury.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on November 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, McClellan was a Bush toadie press secretary who then jumped ship to write a tell-all book. Why is he being reviled for it, his loyalty questioned, being called a worm? Barring the idea of not being Bush's press secretary in the first place, what should he have done, then? Stayed on? Continued lying to the American people? Write a book praising the administration for all the wonderful accomplishments it made? I'd personally welcome anyone who decided to side with the truth, for a change, no matter how late in the game, instead of their boss. As opposed to calling them names and questioning their fidelity. Jesus, are we really letting this guy have it for breaking his loyalty to Bush?! Come on, already. Give the other zombies a bit of incentive to cross over to the light.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:02 PM on November 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


revealed to an audience at the Miami Book Fair

Hell yeah, that's the first place I'd choose to make revelations of criminality at the very highest echelons of the American government too!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:08 PM on November 18, 2008


Bushies Burrowing Into Career Posts At Interior, Other Departments
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


New Senate Report On US Attorney Firings Finds Rove Helped Compile List
posted by homunculus at 5:36 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


McClellan's made a lucrative post-press secretary career blabbing about secrets and scandal in the Bush administration.

But he probably could have made much more if he cashed in as a lobbyist or as an exec at one of the corporate cronies. At least he has gotten off the bus. He's a small fry in all of this, more of a pawn and a cog than a player.

Yes, it would have been better if he had spoken sooner ... it would have been better if Powell had spoken sooner ... if any of them had spoken sooner. But this is a case of better late than never. These revealations confirm what many people knew but couldn't prove. Sooner is indeed better, but I don't care if it comes in deathbed confessions 35 years from now, I want it all out so that history and the record books show the truth. It may be unrealistic to hope that this criminal administration will be held to any meaningful accountability standards, but at the very minimum, it would console me to have a steady stream of conversions from the dark side, however belated. I'm with Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on that.

but the bad people can't hurt us anymore. It's all over now.


If only that were true! "The bad people" were totally unabashed after the Nixon debacle and lay patiently burrowed underground building strength only to resurface
like zombies in the Reagan years and again with greater force, toxicity, and numbers in the Bush years. The bad people won't go away, they will just go into hiding and figure out how to surface again. We dismiss or underestimate them at our peril.

I'm worried about the people they're burrowing into posts who'll be around to dig in their heels and make mischief

exactly - like some dormant demon plague that is activated every decade

just think about an army of racist scumbags the McCain Belt watching the news every day to find a black guy with a Muslim name as their President.

ha, that is good revenge.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:02 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love the hate for McClellan in this thread; it reminds me of the hate for Mark Felt when he exposed himself.

You make it sound so dirty. Also, Felt leak stuff early in Nixon's second term. If Scotty Mac had been saying this stuff in 2005 it would have been a lot more interesting.

Obama to pick Holder as Attorney General

Digby found this:
Calling Guantanamo Bay an "international embarrassment," Eric H. Holder, Jr., one of the two remaining appointees on Barack Obama's vice presidential search team, said the next president must close the detention facility and transfer prisoners to military prisons.
...
He insisted it was disgraceful that the Supreme Court "had to order the president to treat detainees in accord with the Geneva Convention."

In the months and years since 9/11, the Bush administration took many steps that were excessive and unlawful," Holder continued. "We authorized torture and we let fear take precedence over the rule of law, as we overreacted to perceived danger."

In addition to closing Gitmo, Holder insisted the next president should:

* Declare without qualification a policy that the United States will not torture political detainees, engage in forced interrogations or submit people to degrading treatment in prison;

* End all programs, covert or otherwise, to transfer detainees to nations that practice torture;

* Stop domestic search and seizures without warrant and end wiretapping of citizens.
...
"We have lost our way before," Holder told the 350 attendees at the Friday evening session. "Now we must step back into the shining path envisioned by our founding fathers in such icons of liberty as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights."
So, the new AG is someone who called bush's activities "unlawful" at least. Doesn't mean they'll be prosecuted, but it's nice to know it will at least be someone who's aware of the problem.
posted by delmoi at 10:41 PM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


By the way, I don't think it's too out of place to think Rove might end up in prison over the Don Seigleman thing. That was a guy who's only crime was being a successful democratic politician, but he ended up in jail on bullshit charges. Even if your average Washington insider doesn't care about a bunch of poor brown people getting locked up, they certainly will care about one of their own getting the same treatment.
posted by delmoi at 10:44 PM on November 18, 2008


There is an article in Harpers this month by Scott Horton on prosecuting the bush administration. (It's quite good, I think Scott Horton is some sort of lawyer, but you need to subscribe to read it.) He thinks that the crime to go after Bush Co for would be authorizing Torture, because they are on record as saying they waterboard prisoners -- amongst other things -- which is all kinds of illegal. Also, Torture, being a war crime, has universal jurisdiction, so in theory Bush and the administration could be tried anywhere in the world, though this probably wouldn't happen. There is a great quote in the article which addresses the point made up thread about moving on:
Reasserting the rule of law is no simple matter. A new administration may—or may not—bring an end to open torture in the United States, but it will not bring an end to our knowledge and acceptance of what has already taken place. If the people wish to maintain sovereignty, they must also reclaim responsibility for the actions taken in their name. As of yet, they have not. Pursuing the Bush Administration for crimes long known to the public may amount to a kind of hypocrisy, but it is a necessary hypocrisy. The alternative, simply doing nothing, not only ratifies torture; it ratifies the failure of the people to control the actions of their government.
Scott Horton is great.
posted by chunking express at 6:30 AM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I want to talk this morning about a disturbing pattern of conduct by the people around President Bush. They seem to be willing to do anything for political purposes, regardless of the facts and regardless of what's right.

I don't have the time this morning to talk in detail about all the incidents that come to mind....

[outlines of various incidents, including the Plame leak]

The purpose of government isn't to make the President look good. It isn't to produce propaganda or misleading information. It is, instead, to do its best for the American people and to be accountable to the American people. The people around the President don't seem to believe that. They have crossed a line–perhaps several lines–that no government ought to cross.

We shouldn't fire or demean people for telling the truth. We shouldn't reveal the names of law enforcement officials for political gain. And we shouldn't try to destroy people who are out to make country safer.

I think the people around the President have crossed into dangerous territory. We are seeing abuses of power that cannot be tolerated.

The President needs to put a stop to it, right now. We need to get to the truth, and the President needs to help us do that.


March 23, 2004
Floor Statement of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle


I found it in response to Daschle's Health and Human Services nomination, but given that it is awesome and I missed it in 2004, I thought I'd link to it in this thread where it is so very relevant.
posted by Tehanu at 11:42 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


orange swan, I love you, but please don't don't say 'gone rogue' -- Snowbilly Barbie has ruined that phrase for me for life, via Tina Fey. Otherwise, I heartily agree with you!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:27 PM on November 19, 2008


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