Transcripts from WH Press Briefings and Gaggles Show Faux-Journalist Gannon/Guckert Leading the White House-Approved Attacks on Wilson from the First...
By Margie Burns on 2/4/2007, 7:12am PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by Libby/CIA Leak Trial Correspondent Margie Burns

We do not have a political system of government by one man. By virtue of that fact, by definition the man at the top --- the president --- is responsible for what his people do. When former ambassador Joseph Wilson belatedly published demurrals about purported Iraq efforts to obtain uranium, in July 2003, CIA skepticism about the uranium story also gradually became known to the wider public. In simplest terms, what followed was that the White House including Cheney’s office launched a campaign not only against Wilson personally but also against offices within the CIA that still functioned in intelligence gathering and analysis.

In this endeavor, the Bush-Cheney faction relied heavily on the media, and the Libby trial demonstrates how the administration took a campaign to, and through, major media figures to attribute purported nepotism to a CIA office. But just as a reminder, “Jeff Gannon” -- actually James Guckert --- demonstrates that small fish also had their uses; it wasn't only the Tim Russerts of the world who served.

The excerpts below from White House Press Briefiings and Gaggles during Scott McClellan's tenure represent only a fraction of the faux-journalist Gannon/Guckert's White House-friendly lines and, undoubtedly, helpful Administration-approved attacks on Wilson...

[October 1, 2003]


Q Thank you.

Q (Inaudible) --- answer the question.

MR. MCCLELLAN: You have a hypothetical? (Laughter.) I asked for a hypothetical.

Q (Off mike.) You know, I'm no Bob Novak, but my feelings are really hurt that nobody leaked anything to me. (Laughter.)

Has the White House asked George Tenet or anyone else at the CIA why they would send a partisan like Ambassador Wilson on this mission? And because he is so partisan --

MR. MCCLELLAN: Has who asked? Has who asked anybody?

Q Has the White House asked George Tenet or anyone at the CIA why they would send a partisan like Ambassador Wilson on this mission? He's proven himself to be partisan, and does that cast doubt on the report that he filed in this matter?

MR. MCCLELLAN: Yeah, I think we've kind of been through this issue already. I don't know of any such conversations. Certainly --- you know, I don't think it's my position to get into speculating about someone's motives. I think that is a role for you in the media to determine how to follow, and how to --- and how to present --- but I --

Q Is --- is the White House the least bit curious about how they --- how the process was that Ambassador Wilson was chosen to go on this very important mission?

[October 2, 2003]


Q Scott, in addition to the controversy surrounding Ambassador Wilson's wife we've seen open, public dissension in the State Department, the EPA inspector general has made claims that the White House doctored air quality reports, and Senator Clinton is using this to hold up the nomination of Governor Leavitt for the EPA post. Still others leave the administration, write an op ed criticizing the administration, and then join a Democratic presidential nominee's campaign.

My question is, is the president, or anyone else in this administration, concerned that the Clinton holdovers are undermining the administration?

MR. MCCLELLAN: In a certain department?

Q Yeah, in these various departments.

MR. MCCLELLAN: I think that the president has assembled a team that is working together to implement his priorities. We have a strong team that is in place that is trying to implement what the president's focus is.

Q But time and time again, you'll see one holdover from various departments criticizing the administration and –

[October 7, 2003]

MR. MCCLELLAN: Jeff, you're on this topic.

Q Okay. Let's go back to the CIA. Is the White House looking for an explanation from that agency about why Joe Wilson was sent and who sent him and the process under which --

MR. MCCLELLAN: I think that explanation was provided by the director of Central Intelligence in a statement on July 11th.

Q And what was that?

MR. MCCLELLAN: He spelled it out in his statement. He talked about --- there --- he said that the counterproliferation arm of the CIA were the ones who decided to send him on that mission.

Q Does that include the ambassador's wife?

MR. MCCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Does that include the ambassador's wife?

MR. MCCLELLAN: I don't know. You'd have to ask CIA. I don't know that. I don't know the answer to that question.

[November 5, 2003]

MR. MCCLELLAN: Go ahead, (Jeff).

Q I know that you said you hadn't seen the Rockefeller memo that Jim referred to, but I have, and it clearly outlines a Democrat plan to exploit the information gathered by the committee to undermine the president's reelection chances. Under those circumstances, would the White House consider halting the transfer of documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee until a Senate ethics panel investigates the matter?

MR. MCCLELLAN: We have been and will continue to work cooperatively with the Senate Intelligence Committee. That is our position. We want to assist them and help --- we want to be helpful in their efforts to review the intelligence relating to Iraq. That's exactly what we plan to continue doing. Again, I just have not seen that specific memo. I've seen the news reports. But, you know, we would hope that people are not trying to politicize an issue of such importance.

Q Doesn't the implication of the memo cast a whole new light on the Niger controversy and all of the things that have ensued after the remarks of Joe Wilson?

[July 15, 2004]

MR. MCCLELLAN: Go ahead, Jeff.

Q Thank you.

Q Forgive me if my colleagues --- forgive me if my colleagues have already touched on this subject, but last Friday the Senate Intelligence --

MR. MCCLELLAN: Three if we don't shout all over each other and we have a civil discourse.

Q I have a question.

MR. MCCLELLAN: I'm coming to you, Helen.

Q Last Friday the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that shows that Ambassador Joe Wilson lied when he said his wife didn't put him up for the mission to Niger. The British inquiry into their own prewar intelligence yesterday concluded that the president's 16 words were, quote, "well founded," unquote. Doesn't Joe Wilson owe the president and America an apology for his deception and his own intelligence failure?

MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, one, let me point out that I think those reports speak for themselves on that issue. And I think if you have questions about that, you can direct that to Mr. Wilson.

Q Well, we spent so many weeks here dissecting the 16 words that are now absolutely true. Don't you think –

[excerpts posted previously at]

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