This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: First, our top story tonight is the political firestorm that's surrounding Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove (search). Reports surfaced earlier this week that Rove had a discussion with "Time" magazine reporter Matt Cooper (search) about CIA agent Valerie Plame (search). Rove does deny using Plame's name in the discussion, but the president has insinuated in the past that anyone involved with a leak shouldn't be working at the White House. As a result, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan (search) got hammered by the press corps for the second straight day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: You have said to the public, dating back to 2003, affirmatively Karl Rove was not involved. And now we have evidence to the contrary. So how do you reconcile those two things?
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If I were to get into discussing this, I would be getting into discussing an investigation that continues.
QUESTION: We know what the facts are. We know that Karl Rove spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife, referring to the fact that she worked at the agency.
MCCLELLAN: Now, that's a question related to an ongoing investigation.
QUESTION: There's a difference between what's legal and what's right. Is what Karl Rove did right?
QUESTION: Bill Kristol on FOX News, a friendly news channel to you, said that the conversation lasted for two minutes, and it was just at the end that Rove discussed this. So someone is providing this information. Are you behind the scenes directing a response to this story?
MCCLELLAN: And again, you're asking questions that are related to news reports about an ongoing, continuing investigation. And you've had my response on that.
QUESTION: At the very least, though, Scott, could you say whether or not you stand by your statement of September 29, 2003, that it's simply not true that Karl Rove disclosed the identity of a CIA operative? Can you stand by that statement?
MCCLELLAN: John, I look forward to talking about this at some point, but it's not the appropriate time to talk about those questions while the investigation is continuing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: And joining us with reaction to this developing story is radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy, and the author of the book "Bush Must Go," Bill Press.
We welcome you both back to the show.
Gordon, let me begin with you. It seems disingenuous to me. Scott McClellan is now all of sudden saying he can't talk about it because of an ongoing investigation. That investigation began in September 2003. All of a sudden, he can't talk about it?
G. GORDON LIDDY, CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Mr. Fitzgerald is the special prosecutor, and Mr. Fitzgerald has specifically asked that they not comment on it. So that puts him in a situation where he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
But I want to point out that people keep referring to Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. That is a term of art. It is by no means established that she's an operative. An operative is someone who works for the director of operations.
My understanding is that she was in the agency at headquarters having to do with research and what have you on weapons of mass destruction. She was not an undercover operative operating out in the field, the kind of person that the statute seeks to protect.
Secondly, I'd point out that the name of Valerie Plame was made public by a friend of mine, a very fine columnist named Robert Novak. Mr. Rove was in conversation with Mr. Cooper of "Time" magazine. Here no good turn goes unpunished.
Mr. Cooper was about to embarrass himself in his publication by putting out a story that Vice President Cheney had sent former Ambassador Wilson over to Niger. That was incorrect. And Mr. Rove simply told him, "Look, it wasn't Cheney."
COLMES: All right, let me...
LIDDY: "It was this fellow's wife, who apparently," he said, "works over there at the agency." That is not violating the statute, and he didn't name her.
COLMES: Let me get Bill Press in here. First of all, this is White House spin, Bill.
BILL PRESS, AUTHOR, "BUSH MUST GO": Totally.
COLMES: Joe Wilson (search) claims that it was the vice president's office. This prosecutor has been on the case since September 2003. And furthermore, Michael Isikoff, in his story, surmises that Rove learned about this from a classified file that Colin Powell (search) had access to on an Air Force One trip with President Bush, which means he might know it was classified.
PRESS: Well, look, let's face what's happening here, Alan, is we know Karl Rove denied that he had anything to do with Valerie Plame, and yet now we know he deliberately leaked her identity. Maybe he didn't name her name, but he said it was Joe Wilson's wife and she worked at the agency. The agency only means one place in this town. It means the CIA.
Secondly, we know that Karl Rove compromised our nation's national security by blowing the cover of an undercover CIA agent. Believe me, that is worse than a political trick. That is worse that anything that G. Gordon Liddy did at Watergate.
This is not just a burglary operation. This is compromising our national security. This is more than a dirty political trick. I think it is an act of treason, and Karl Rove should not only be fired, he should be marched off to prison where every traitor belongs.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Well, I love that now the Clinton defenders and the Berger defenders are out there calling Karl Rove treasonous and finding him guilty without a trial, but that doesn't surprise me, Bill Press.
PRESS: What is it, Gordon? I mean, he compromised our nation's security. Why isn't that a serious matter? And why are you defending this guy?
LIDDY: Because the nation's security was not compromised.
HANNITY: Look, there's no evidence...
PRESS: It sure was.
PRESS: Lives were at stake. She was an undercover agent.
LIDDY: Let's review what happened here. Oh, no, no. Some years ago, a rogue central intelligence officer, not agent, published a list of other officers who were undercover stationed throughout the world. That subsequently got one of them assassinated, so Congress passed a law saying you may not do that. Mrs. Plame, or Ms. Plame, whatever — however she calls herself — was not part of the DDO. She was not posted abroad. And so far as I know, she was not undercover.
PRESS: No, no, no. Here is what happened here. Here's what happened. What happened is that George Bush knowingly put false information in the State of the Union address about Saddam Hussein (search) trying to buy yellow cake uranium in Niger.
HANNITY: Bill Press, Bill...
PRESS: Wait, let me finish. Joe Wilson blew his cover, and Karl Rove went after Joe Wilson as an act of political revenge. That's what happened.
HANNITY: All right. Let me bring some evidence to the audience here that hasn't come out so far. Finally, Byron York did a piece tonight on National Review Online (search).
PRESS: I read it.
HANNITY: Bill, before you get even more — before you get even more hysterical than you are...
PRESS: I read it.
HANNITY: ... you need to go back and read it.
PRESS: I read it.
HANNITY: What we're discovering — I know you want to condemn him right out of the box. You don't believe in any evidence. But now Karl Rove's lawyer has said, first of all, it was Cooper who originally called Karl Rove.
PRESS: So what?
HANNITY: Hang on. Learn something, Bill.
It was Cooper who wanted to talk about welfare reform, and then later turned it to the other issue here. And more evidence that Karl Rove wasn't on a witch-hunt to get a story out about Valerie Plame. Karl spoke to him on "double-secret-background," even according to his information. And thirdly, G. Gordon Liddy, Karl Rove released these guys to tell their story back in late December in 2003 and early 2004.
HANNITY: So this is not — this is for G. Gordon Liddy. This is not a big surprise, G. Gordon.
PRESS: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I thought that was addressed to me.
HANNITY: That was for G. Gordon Liddy.
PRESS: I hope you'll let me answer, as well. You started out talking to me.
HANNITY: I know, but...
LIDDY: Look, the point that should be made here is that Mr. Rove did not disclose her identity. He attempted to keep Mr. Cooper from embarrassing himself by putting out a false story.
The woman was not what is known in the trade as an operator. She worked at headquarters, probably doing some kind of research on WMD. She sent her husband, a former ambassador over there, who, according to his account, sat at a swimming pool drinking green tea talking to some people.
And then he came back and said that there was no attempt by Iraq to purchase uranium ore from Niger. The fact is, they did.
PRESS: Let me get in here.
COLMES: Bill, five seconds. We've got to go.
PRESS: Let me just tell you. I don't care who called whom. In that conversation, Karl Rove told Matt Cooper that it was Valerie Plame...
HANNITY: Bill, you're hysterical.
PRESS: ... she worked at the CIA. He leaked it, and he's lied about it for two years. And George Bush said he would fire whoever did. Why doesn't George Bush fire Karl Rove?
COLMES: Thank you very much. Thank you both.
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