In an effort to curtail damage caused by the allegations that Bush and Cheney had authorized the leaking of classified information to the press via Scooter Libby, the administration has released videotape recorded by the White House security system. The release is seen as a preemptive strike at the Fitzgerald Grand Jury's investigation into illegal leaks.
The video is meant in part to deal with administration critics who say that Bush has taken the imperial position that anytime he says something, the information becomes de facto public, or as Maureen Dowd calls it, the 'Immaculate Declassification'.
The 52 second video shows that there was a considerably more formal process than critics have claimed. Aside from the president, also visible on the clip are Vice President Cheney and Miss Nancy Whitlow, GS-7 administrative assistant and licensed notary public. Transcript is as follows.
The video shows that not only did the president follow appropriate procedures in declassifying the document, but that he also took the extra precautionary step of having it properly notarized. According to White House spokesman Scott McClellan, the procedure was. "Above board, straight and narrow, and good for the American people. What's not to like? I'm sure that the naysayers will be sure to find something."
McClellan's prediction proved accurate. Within hours of the video's release, the blogosphere was afire with reports that the footage showed Bush wearing a tie identical to the one he had on last Tuesday, indicating that the video might be of more recent vintage.
"That's nonsense," McClellan responded. "The
president has a lot of red ties."