A former White House spokesman told Congress on Friday that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney wanted him to say that Cheney’s chief of staff was not involved in the leak of a CIA operative’s identity, an assertion that turned out to be false.

Scott McClellan, Bush’s spokesman from 2003-2006, said he had reservations about publicly clearing the name of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff at the time. Later, Libby was convicted of obstructing the investigation of the leak of Valerie Plame’s CIA identity.