(CNN) – A top aide to former President George W. Bush confirmed Wednesday that he became ill while attending a 2007 meeting with world leaders, but noted that the sickness was likely the result of a virus, and not intentionally poisoned food.
Former first lady Laura Bush suggests in a new memoir that she, her husband, and several aides may have been poisoned during a 2007 visit to Germany for the G8 summit.
Frances Townsend, Bush's Homeland Security adviser and CNN contributor, said there was "no indication" that the President had been poisoned, but doctors and the United States Secret Service did consider the possibility, during an interview broadcast Wednesday on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
"The truth was ultimately we didn't really believe there was a basis to think they were poisoned, but you can understand – you would have thought us not competent if we hadn't considered the possibility and looked at it," Townsend said.
According to the former first lady, doctors and the Secret Service investigated the possibility a poisoning had occurred but were unable to make a definitive conclusion, an account backed up by Townsend.
"As the first lady indicates, the Secret Service, as you can imagine, as more and more of the U.S. delegation are getting sick, they were concerned," Townsend said. "The doctors that tend to the president were on site and looking into it with them. They believed it was just a virus, a local virus."
News reports during that time show the White House did disclose Bush missed a series of morning sessions at the summit because he had contracted an apparent virus, but White House officials did not provide further detail.
"Nearly a dozen members of our delegation were stricken, even George, who started to feel sick during an early morning staff briefing," Mrs. Bush writes in the memoir. "[O]ne of our military aides had difficulty walking and a White House staffer lost all hearing in one ear. Exceedingly alarmed, the Secret Service went on full alert, combing the resort for potential poisons."
"George felt so ill that he met with [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and did not even stand up to greet him," she continues, adding later, "We never learned if any other delegations became ill, or if ours, mysteriously, was the only one."
–Alex Mooney contributed to this report