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House Judiciary Asks: What Happened

A House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Valerie Plame leak scandal just kicked off. The committee is hosting former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, whose memoir, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, says Karl Rove and Scooter Libby lied to him about leaking Valerie Plame’s identity as a covert CIA agent. We’ll be following the proceedings here on The Streak.

Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) describes McClellan’s book, which looks back on the five-year-old Plame scandal, as more of a "confirmation" than a "revelation" that the administration lied about the leak. It looks like Conyers is using McClellan’s book (as is House Oversight Committee chair Henry A. Waxman) as a way to point out that the Justice Dept. still hasn’t released transcribed interviews George W. Bush and Dick Cheney taken by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald during the course of his investigation into the Plame affair. Top committee Republican Lamar Smith trashed the book for saying that it had no footnotes (Is McClellan’s assertion that Bush is more "instinctive than intellectual" substantiated?!).

As for McClellan himself, he just gave a written statement claiming that his book isn’t about his own role in Bush administration scandals but the "larger issues" of "partisan warfare" and the "permanent campaign." McClellan says these things are bad. He also "regrets that he played a role in giving false information to the public" about the Plame leak. Now it’s time for questions.

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