Bush calls Libby commutation "fair and balanced"

President briefly addresses the possibility that someone in the administration leaked Plame's name.

By Julia Dahl

Published July 12, 2007 5:10PM (EDT)

Though most of the questions at President Bush's press conference this morning focused on Iraq, one, notably, did not:

"If I could just switch subjects for a second to another big decision you made recently, which was in the Scooter Libby case," said one reporter, "one issue that you did not address was the issue of the morality of your most senior advisers, you know, leaking the name of a confidential intelligence operator. Now that the case is over -- it's not something you've ever spoken to -- can you say whether you're at all disappointed in the behavior of those senior advisers? And have you communicated your disappointment to them in any way?"

Bush's response was, well, half candid, half tango.

"First of all, the Scooter Libby decision was, I thought, a fair and balanced decision," the president said. "I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person."

Just a minute: Did the president just concede the possibility that someone -- though, interestingly, he wouldn't say who, even though the sources of the leak, including Libby, Bush's top aide Karl Rove and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, are well known -- in the White House committed a breach of national security? That kind of answer simply begs for a follow-up. But, as if to avoid such a thing, Bush next called on a friendly face (ironically from the "Fair and Balanced" network), Fox News' Wendell Goler, who obligingly turned the talk back to the war.

Julia Dahl

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