THE WHITE HOUSE, Office of the Press Secretary, (Helsinki, Finland)


Q: Do you have a comment on this CBS report quoting Rick Nuccio as
saying that George Tenet was responsible for leaking that classified

MCCURRY: Yes, I do have a comment on that. I am deeply troubled by a
major news organization conducting an investigation and reporting on
the sources for another news organization's news reporting. I think
that could lead us in a very difficult direction and I hope that news
organizations in this room will think about the implications. When you
attempt to uncover the sources for news reporting by another news
organization, that can lead, I think, to a lot of results that none of
us would welcome, certainly none of us on this side of the podium. But
I will leave that for journalists and for news organization executives
to address.

As to the issue itself, I would say that Mr. Tenet has always
conducted himself in a way that honors his responsibility to protect
national security information, and I'm sure that he can demonstrate
that he did so with respect to the matter involving Mr. Nuccio.

Q: Mike, back to the CBS report. Does the White House if the
allegation is true, or are they trying to find that out? And if so,
would that be a disqualifier?

MCCURRY: We reviewed this matter in great detail prior to Mr. Tenet's
nomination -- prior to the President's announcement. We're confident
that Mr. Tenet has conducted himself in a way that fulfills his
obligation to protect national security information. We dispute the
account that Mr. Nuccio has given, and we are very troubled that CBS
News would suggest that Mr. Tenet is the source of a report that
appeared in The New York Times. I think there are dangerous
consequences when news organizations start investigating the sources
of their competitors.

Q: Mike, can I just ask a question about that? Since many times
stories that CBS has done have been investigated by other news
organizations, I don't think that we feel badly about this. But I
wanted to ask you if you're saying in all of your answer to Mick that
he was the source or he was not the source?

MCCURRY: I think I answered it very directly and made it clear in our
own review --

Q:  You said he acted appropriately, but you didn't --

MCCURRY: We made it very clear that he did not conduct himself in a
way that betrayed his obligation to protect national security