The Anatomy of Smear

The White House response to former press secretary Scott McClellan's damning new book would be much more convincing if it weren't so familiar. The administration is following the same script it always uses when one of its own turns against it.

Since last Tuesday, senior members of the Bush administration have largely put aside their governing duties and become character assassins. Their target: Scott McClellan, previously a member of President Bush’s inner circle and, ironically, once a top character assassin himself.

In the world of "loyal Bushies," McClellan’s crime is more unspeakable than pushing fake intelligence to lead a country into war or disclosing classified information, such as the identity of a U.S. intelligence agent. McClellan has dared to criticize his now-former friends. In his new memoir, he goes so far as to say that the Bush administration waged a "propaganda campaign" to deceive the American public into supporting the Iraq war. He also accuses Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Vice President Cheney of encouraging him to "repeat a lie" about their involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.

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