Official Not Forced Out

The White House says an ex-official who altered government reports to minimize humankind's impact on climate change didn't leave because of the controversy.

Press Secretary Scott McClellan says Philip Cooney's departure was long planned and "unrelated in any way" to the furor.

Prior to joining President Bush's Council on Environmental Quality, Cooney was an oil industry lobbyist.  And yesterday, Exxon Mobil announced it has hired Cooney for as-yet-unspecified duties.

Environmentalists attacked Cooney after documents were published showing his alterations overruled language supplied by government scientists and downplayed a link between human activity and global warming.

The administration maintains there's substantial uncertainty about a link.

McClellan says the charge that Cooney was just doing the oil industry's bidding is "absolutely false."