The questions that won't be asked

From the White House, word of a "press availability" that doesn't exist.

Published June 13, 2006 6:08PM (EDT)

Karl Rove may be off the hook in the Valerie Plame case, but there are still plenty of questions to ask the White House: Why did Scott McClellan insist that Rove wasn't involved in outing Plame? Why hasn't the president lived up to his promise to fire anyone involved in the outing? Why does Rove still have a security clearance?

The good news is, the press can put those questions to the president during a "press availability" scheduled for 2:30 this afternoon in the White House Rose Garden.

Or not.

The press availability is listed on the "Press Schedule of the President" the White House distributed Monday, but it -- like everything else on the schedule -- was a work of fiction, designed to hide the fact that Bush would be off on one of his secret trips to Baghdad.

It turns out that White House reporters weren't the only ones deceived. As the New York Times reports, several top Cabinet officials -- including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- were kept in the dark about Bush's trip. Good thinking, that. After all, you never know when somebody might leak.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq Iraq War Karl Rove Middle East War Room