MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
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SCARBOROUGH: Now to the storm over the president's top adviser, Karl Rove. Did he leak classified information to a reporter, and should he be bounced from the White House?
With me now to talk about that is Congressman Peter King.
Thank you so much for being with us, Congressman.
It's a fascinating case. And I just got to start by saying, you and I served together during the Clinton administration. We attacked the Clinton administration for not taking national security more seriously. I got to just tell you, I mean, bottom line is, if Clinton's chief of staff or top adviser had leaked the identity of a CIA agent, you and I would be up in arms and say, Clinton had to fire that person immediately.
Should Karl Rove be treated at the same standard?
REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: No, in fact, I think Karl Rove should get a medal, Joe. I really mean that.
I think this is much do about nothing, because let's look at the facts very clearly.
SCARBOROUGH: For revealing a CIA agent's identity?
KING: First of all, it's only a crime if she was undercover, if he knew she was undercover, and he did it deliberately.
I think, Joe, this thing was such a hoax. Joe Wilson was a shameless self-promoter. Everything about his story was either a lie or a hoax or he was incompetent. And when Karl Rove-even just looking at the e-mail. If you are talking to a reporter and you have someone like Joe Wilson, who was totally discrediting the president of the United States, unfairly and untruthfully, and you say, how come this guy was sent over to do this?
And to say, you know, looking at the fact that he is-was sent over
by his wife, who was in the CIA.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Congressman. Hold on. Let me just stop you right there, Congressman King.
SCARBOROUGH: I agree with you. Joe Wilson is a joke. He lied about who sent him over there. He lied about what he found over there. And when he came back home...
KING: Also about the conclusions, exactly.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold it a second. When he came back home, he lied and wrote a book that, ironically, was called "The Politics of Truth."
KING: Right. Right.
SCARBOROUGH: That still doesn't justify Karl Rove or anybody-and we don't know if Rove did it for sure-but justify the outing of CIA agent, does it?
KING: It's only wrong if he knew that she was undercover and that the CIA was making every attempt to keep her undercover. He didn't give her name. He didn't know she was undercover.
SCARBOROUGH: But he said it's Joe Wilson's wife. I mean, that's the same thing, isn't it?
KING: Joe Wilson listed his wife's name in his own bio. It was on-it was in his Web site. He listed his wife's name. So, it was no secret that she was his wife. And to me...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, yes, but Joe Wilson didn't say, she's an undercover CIA agent, Peter.
KING: And neither did Karl Rove say she was undercover CIA agent. He said she worked for the CIA. She was working at the CIA headquarters. It was no secret she was working there, and he brought this out.
And, to me, if you have someone who is over there, and we are-and we're in time of war and he is actually falsifying what he heard in Niger. The fact is, nobody in the media is pointing out that the British in the Butler report said that what President Bush said about Niger was true. They said that in 2004. Why isn't the media saying that?
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Peter, who else is saying that? You know who is saying that in the media? You actually have the publisher of "The New Republic," who wrote it a year ago, saying that...
KING: Right. He did.
SCARBOROUGH: That everything that was said was the truth in that report, and if journalists weren't anti-war activists, everybody would have known by now.
I mean, I am hearing it on news all throughout the day, again, that President Bush lied about the yellow cake uranium.
KING: Not at all.
SCARBOROUGH: Not the case.
But, again, I want to circle back around. We can all debate that. We agree on that.
SCARBOROUGH: But, again, I would say, even if everything you say is true...
KING: It is true.
SCARBOROUGH: A White House official should not reveal the identity of a CIA agent. And if that White House official had done it, or let's say they had done it in the Clinton administration, you and I would be calling for the resignation of that official, would we not?
KING: No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't, Joe, because I think this is important.
If we are in time of war and you want to know what the president said, what the president didn't say, whether it's accurate or not, and you have someone who says, I am sent over there by the vice president of the United States and George Tenet to investigate this, and instead it turns out, he was sent over at the recommendation of his wife, that to me became a key element.
It's not just because you're outing her or you're saying she was in the CIA to take a shot at Joe Wilson. You are taking it to undermine the credibility of his case, which was attempting to undermine the president of the United States in time of war about a key allegation that was made. I think once...
SCARBOROUGH: But, Peter, what I would say if I were a Democratic...
SCARBOROUGH: If I were a Democratic senator, what I would say was, the last thing you want to do, because you keep talking about the fact we are at a time of war.
SCARBOROUGH: The last thing you want to do at a time of war is reveal the identity of undercover CIA agents.
Joe Wilson, she recommended-his wife recommended him for this. He said the vice president recommended him. To me, she took it off the table. Once she allowed him to go ahead and say that, write his op-ed in "The New York Times," to have Tim Russert give him a full hour on "Meet the Press," saying that he was sent there as a representative of the vice president, when she knew, she knew herself that she was the one that recommended him for it, she allowed that lie to go forward involving the vice president of the United States, the president of the United States, then to me she should be the last one in the world who has any right to complain.
And Joe Wilson has no right to complain. And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot, not Karl Rove. Listen, maybe Karl Rove was not perfect. We live in an imperfect world. And I give him credit for having the guts.
And I really-I tell you, Republicans are running for cover. They should be out attacking Joe Wilson. We should throw this back at them with all the nonsense that has been said about George Bush and all the lies that have come out.
KING: Let's at least stand by the guy. He was trying to set the record straight for historical purposes and to save American lives. And if Joe Wilson's wife was that upset, she should have come out and said that her husband was a liar, when he was.
SCARBOROUGH: Congressman, I appreciate you being with me.
And you know what. The bottom line is the fact, Joe Wilson has lied. He hasn't been called out on it. But, again, I think we hold Karl Rove to the same standard that we would hold Sidney Blumenthal or President Clinton's administration.
Now, I certainly would have been very concerned. Maybe you wouldn't have been. But at the time, I would have.
But, Congressman, as always, thanks a lot for being with us. You know what? We are going to continue following this story as we move forward.
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