NBC's David Gregory Falsely States Libby 'Went to Jail'

November 21st, 2007 11:10 AM

NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory, accused of being a partisan, made a false statement about the "Scooter" Libby case. In reporting former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s charge that the Bush administration fed false information, Gregory claimed Libby "went to jail for obstructing the leak investigation."

Although Libby was sentenced to 30 months of prison, Libby never actually went to jail as Gregory claims. President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence, eliminating the prison term yet still upholding a hefty fine and probation.

"Today," however, did not spend a lot of time on the McClellan charge, just a brief story. The transcript is below.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Now to Washington and the scandal that just won't go away. Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan is writing about the CIA leak case in a tell-all book and he's pointing fingers all the way to the Oval Office. NBC's chief White House correspondent David Gregory has the story.

DAVID GREGORY: A new twist in the CIA leak case that landed White House advisor "Scooter" Libby in jail. The president's former press secretary Scott McClellan in a new book claims the president himself was involved in spreading false information about the Valerie Plame leak case. McClellan writes in the book what happened. quote, "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." from the White House podium, McClellan exonerated advisers Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: They're good individuals. They're important members of our White House team. That's why I spoke with them so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved.

GREGORY: In the book, an embittered McClellan writes "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." McClellan has said before he felt misled by Rove and Libby. The president's role, however, has never been clear. And despite the book's provocative excerpt, it still isn't. Today McClellan is still standing by what he told CNN earlier this year, that the president was as much a victim as he was. He told Larry King, quote, "I said what I believed to be true at the time. It was also what the president believed to be true at the time based on assurances that we were both given." "Scooter" Libby went to jail for obstructing the leak investigation. Karl Rove was never charged with any crime. The president's exact role in all of this is still, for now, caught up in a publishing house's promotion and a press secretary's story, which won't come out until next spring. For "Today," David Gregory, NBC News, the White House.

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