Peter Osnos, the founder and editor-in-chief of Public Affairs Books, which is publishing McClellan's book in April, tells NBC from his Connecticut home that McCLellan, "Did not intend to suggest Bush lied to him."
Hrmm. When things aren't totally clear, its best to go back to the original source document.
What Happened Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington
The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
There was one problem. It was not true.
I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself.
The key word here seems to me to be "involved" in the last sentences. How could Bush be involved in "unknowingly passing on false information" and not be lying? Was Bush passing false information to the press secretary because he was told false information? Someone in that group of five people must have known the information was false.
There is another side to this. McClellan "Did not intend to suggest Bush lied to him." Maybe not, but the publisher knew damned well the stir that those three short paragraphs would cause. A little bit of scandal helps hustle dead trees, everyone knows that. And that is the real reason for all this. The idea that McClellan might know who gave Valerie Plame's name to those reporters is a tease. A tease as surely as a flash of lace at the top of a stocking.
The scandals that haunt this administration do little more than haunt. They players get shuffled on and off the stage, get rearranged a bit, cause a little panic each time a new one shows up. But nothing substantial seems to have really happened. We still have no time table for withdrawal. We still have detainees being tortured I'm sure. None of these scandals seems to be able to solidify into anything that can throw the White House off track. All the ghosts of all the dead in Iraq don't even seem able to scare away the saber rattling with Iran. Maybe they've got some killer ghost traps over there.