Judith Miller to name Scooter Libby

Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 11:27 am
Now we know
Now we know why Judy Miller decided to testify at this time. She reached an agreement with Fitzgerald that she only had to testify about her information from her source, Libby, and no wider. She said she needed both of these assurances, source waiver and limited testimony, before she was willing to testify.

This really confirms that she, herself, is culpable in the CIA info revelations and wanted assurance that she would give only limited scope of testimony in order to protect herself from prosecution.

Now it's up to Fitzgerald to find a way to force her to testify fully about what she knew and what she did with the information. My questions to the lawyers out there is does the Fitzgerald assurance meet the requirements of immunity?

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Bi-Polar Bear
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 11:58 am
she got tired of getting the strap on treatment so she cut a deal... that's what I think.
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Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 12:14 pm
parados wrote:
Ticomaya wrote:

'Why didn't someone call us?'

Tate [Libby's attorney] said Libby signed a waiver of confidentiality more than a year ago, which Tate followed with a phone call to New York Times attorney Floyd Abrams assuring him that Libby's waiver was voluntary.


That headline reminds me of the statement by Brown and others about New Orleans convention center.

It seems the WH doesn't have the time to stay on top of the news.

What's next? "Why didn't someone tell us that Iraq has an insurgency?"

It appears Libby expected Miller and her attorneys to be competent, and perhaps that expectation was in error. Since Libby signed a voluntary waiver of confidentiality more than a year ago, and his attorney followed it up with a phone call to Miller's attorney, assuring him that the waiver was voluntary, what further was expected of Libby? He reasonably assumed there must be some other source she was protecting who had not given a waiver. Finally, after letting his client languish in jail for months, Miller's attorney calls Libby's attorney to request a personal acknowledgement of voluntariness? That was the first he knew she needed something further from him. How can you blame Libby?
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Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 12:31 pm
This whole thing is crazy. As much as I would tend to side with the Times, their posturing about this issue has been annoying me for months. Maybe if Miller was a little more sympathetic, it would be different.

But she ain't my hero...
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 12:41 pm
Statement From Judith Miller After Testifying

Published: September 30, 2005 2:00 PM ET

NEW YORK Statement From Judith Miller After Testifying on September 30, 2005:

I'm so happy to be free and finally able to talk to you all. Recently, I heard directly from my source that I should testify before the Grand Jury. This was in the form of a personal letter and, most important, a telephone call to me at the jail. I concluded from this that my source genuinely wanted me to testify. These were not form waivers. They were not discussions among lawyers. They were given after the Special Counsel assured us that such communication would not be regarded as obstructing justice.

Once I got a personal voluntary waiver, my lawyer, Mr. Bennett, approached the Special Counsel to see if my Grand Jury testimony could be limited to my communications with the source from whom I had received the personal and specific waiver. The Special Counsel agreed to this. This was very important to me. I served 85 days in jail because of my belief in the importance of upholding the confidential relationship journalists have with their sources. Believe me, I did not want to be in jail. But I would have stayed even longer if I had not received these two things: the personal waiver and narrow testimony.

I could not have testified without those things. I said to the court before I was jailed that I did not believe I was above the law, and that I would have to go to jail because of my principles. But once I satisfied those principles I was prepared to fulfill my civic duty and testify. I am hopeful that my long stay in jail will serve to strengthen the bond between reporters and their sources. I hope that blanket waivers are a thing of the past. They do not count. They are not voluntary and should not be accepted by journalists. I am also hopeful that my time in jail will help pass a federal shield law so that the public's right to know will be protected.

I want to thank everyone, my lawyers, and particularly, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and The New York Times, my husband and family, my friends, colleagues and citizens of this country and people from all over the world who wrote to me and supported my position of principle through this very difficult time. I will take a few questions but please bear with me, I am very tired. I have a husband who is cooking a meal I want to eat, a dog I want to hug and I want to go home to Sag Harbor.
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Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 12:46 pm
I like her even less than I did before.
I hope someone gives her a good pension for her services to them.
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Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2005 05:03 pm
Reminder to Judy and the Times: the Spin Always Catches Up With You
By Arianna Huffington

Now that Judy Miller has finished testifying -- and spinning for the cameras on the court house steps ("I testified as soon as I could... Once I satisfied my principles... personal, explicit, voluntary waiver... I would have stayed even longer...") -- she needs to do what Matt Cooper did and immediately publish a full and truthful account of her involvement in Plamegate. And the New York Times must publish it on Page One. Without fear or favor. All the news that's fit to print.

No ifs, ands, buts. And no more grandstanding statements from Arthur Sulzberger and Bill Keller.

In fact, here is my suggestion: Keller is so up to his eyeballs in legal strategy and protecting the reputation of his newspaper, he should recuse himself from overseeing the Times' coverage of this story and turn it over to Jill Abramson, the managing editor, or Suzanne Daley, the national editor. Of course, they could continue to screw things up if they kept looking over their shoulder to see if the boss approves. But at least there is a chance that the paper will stop spinning and start telling it straight -- stop protecting itself and start reporting on itself.

The New York Times needs to make believe they're not writing about themselves. And Sulzberger, Keller, and company need to remember what politicians are regularly told: The spin always catches up with you. Always.
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Reply Sun 2 Oct, 2005 09:14 am
Miller and Her Stand Draw Strong Reactions
Miller and Her Stand Draw Strong Reactions
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 1, 2005; A04

In the end, what did Judith Miller accomplish by spending 85 days in an Alexandria jail?

Not much, say her detractors, noting that the deal the New York Times reporter ultimately made to testify about her confidential source in the Valerie Plame leak investigation was similar to agreements reached by Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and other journalists in the murky case.

Some of Miller's colleagues at the Times, who declined to be identified because they are challenging their bosses' stance, say much of the staff is frustrated and confused.

"People are angry," one staffer said. "Was this a charade on her part for martyrdom, or a real principle? She wanted to resurrect herself from the WMD thing," the staffer said, a reference to Miller stories about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be wrong.

"I am truly depressed," another staffer said. "It absolutely makes no sense. Basically she did the same thing Matt Cooper did, with the intervening weeks in jail. But I just don't buy that she's doing it for her own image enhancement."

Other journalists and media advocates say Miller and her newspaper took a courageous stand in demonstrating that news organizations must not betray their sources.

"I'd be very loath to be critical of what Judith did," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, who visited Miller in jail. She said the public should have "a renewed confidence that when a reporter makes an agreement with a source, the reporter will do whatever possible to keep that confidence unless there was an agreement with the source" to release the journalist.

Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said yesterday: "We have a tradition here that when our reporters stand up for principle, we stand behind them. I'm proud that the tradition is intact."

But Lucie Morillon, Washington representative for Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, said she is disappointed by the agreement Miller struck with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, to testify about their 2003 conversations on Plame.

"We understand Judith Miller didn't want to stay in jail, but the problem is the prosecutor put so much pressure on her that she was forced to reveal her source," Morillon said. She said she does not regard Libby's waiver as voluntary and that the deal is a "setback" for journalism. "The federal courts are getting bolder and bolder in forcing reporters to testify. With this case, it's going to get worse."

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzerald's investigation of whether administration officials knowingly revealed Plame's undercover role in the CIA prompted testimony under waivers of confidentiality by journalists for NBC and The Washington Post, as well as Cooper. But it has not generated widespread public support for the media. One of the most criticized journalists has been columnist Robert D. Novak, who was the first to publish Plame's name and has refused to say whether he has testified.

Even some Miller supporters concede that the journalists involved are seen as protecting presidential aides who may have been retaliating against Plame's husband, a White House critic on the weapons controversy, rather than shielding whistle-blowers who were exposing corruption.

Miller said yesterday that she would have remained behind bars if her source -- Libby -- had not provided a "personal" waiver, as opposed to a blanket offer to reporters, and if Fitzgerald had not agreed to limit the scope of her testimony. "I am hopeful that my long stay in jail will serve to strengthen the bond between reporters and their sources," she said.

A hard-charging Pulitzer Prize winner and co-author of a best-selling book on bioterrorism, Miller was embedded with a U.S. military unit searching for illegal weapons in Iraq in 2003 and dealt extensively with Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi exile who had close ties to the Bush administration at the time.

A Times ombudsman criticized one of Miller's stories from that period for its "apparent flimsiness." Her aggressive brand of reporting has won her devoted fans as well as fierce detractors.

Arianna Huffington, the liberal commentator and blogger, accused Miller yesterday of "grandstanding" by going to jail. She said Miller was "effectively discredited" because of the weapons stories and that jail was "an opportunity to cleanse herself." Huffington also said Miller "has no obligation any more to remain silent" and should provide a full accounting in the Times, as Cooper did in Time after testifying.

Dalglish said she is struck by how "hostile" and "vicious" some journalists are toward Miller, which she attributes to both the weapons controversy and Miller's style.

"She's not exactly a warm and fuzzy person," Dalglish said. "She's reserved. She's not going to go out of her way to make lots of friends."

The case has galvanized support for a federal shield law, which has bipartisan sponsorship, that would limit the circumstances under which reporters could be prosecuted for refusing to reveal confidential sources.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), one of the bill's sponsors, yesterday hailed Miller's release, saying "no reporter should be thrown in jail for doing their job." He added in a statement that the primary purpose of the measure, which the administration opposes, is not to protect journalists but "the public's right to information."
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 10:29 am
Miller's Tale: Book Deal for Judy?
Good pay for a few weeks in prison, especially if she could work on the book while confined. ---BBB

Miller's Tale: Book Deal for Judy?
By E&P Staff
Published: October 03, 2005

Just hours after the announcement that Time Inc. editor Norman Pearlstine, who turned over Matt Cooper's notes to the Plame prosecutor last summer, would write a book about anonymous sources, Arianna Huffington said that sources had told her that reporter Judith Miller has agreed to write a book for Simon & Shuster for $1.2 million.

MIller's longtime editor there, the fabled Alice Mayhew, would be her editor, Huffington wrote at her Web site, Huffingtonpost.com. Huffington says her sources are "senior editors" at the publishing house. Mayhew was on the list of those who visited Miller in jail, according to The Washington Post.

In an update late this afternoon, Huffington wrote that Carolyn Reidy, president of Simon & Shuster, had just told her, "There is no signed deal for the book."

While Miller's tale has not yet been confirmed, the Pearlstine book is certainly real, will be called "Off the Record," and will be published by another legendary editor, Nan A. Talese, at Doubleday, in 2007.

"The Valerie Plame case led to the most difficult decision I have had to make in my 37 years working as an editor and reporter," Pearlstine said in a statement issued Monday by Doubleday.

"But it taught me a lot about how anonymous and confidential sources have been used and misused, leading to some of our best and worst journalism. The professional and personal reflections that prefaced my decision also gave me insights into the standards and guidelines needed to help restore journalism and the publics faith in it."
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 10:50 am
21 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak
The cast of administration characters with known connections to the outing of an undercover CIA agent:
Karl Rove I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Condoleezza Rice Stephen Hadley Andrew Card Alberto Gonzales Mary Matalin Ari Fleischer Susan Ralston Israel Hernandez John Hannah Scott McClellan Dan Bartlett Claire Buchan Catherine Martin Colin Powell Karen Hughes Adam Levine Bob Joseph Vice President Dick Cheney President George W. Bush http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=8649
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 10:52 am
Nice work BBB.

These threads are going to become a lot more popular in the next few weeks, keep it up!


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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 10:56 am
The Scooter-Judy Liaison Dangereuse
Arianna Huffington has been right on target re Judy Miller from the beginning. Miller should lose her journalist credentials as a news reporter. If publishers want to hire the scum bag as an opinion columnist, that's their choice. ---BBB

The Scooter-Judy Liaison Dangereuse
By Arianna Huffington

Judy Miller returned to the New York Times newsroom on Monday, and modestly told her colleagues: "I am very, very proud to be able to say that I got things that no other journalist has ever gotten out of a process like this." Things like what? A jailhouse visit from John Bolton? Or from Simon & Schuster super-editor Alice Mayhew? Did she really think this grandstanding was a good way to curry favor among her fellow journalists?

But despite the fact that she sloughed off Libby's assurance that he had given her a waiver a year ago as White House "spin," the curious whodunit release of the Libby-Miller letters may yet prove to be the tipping point among those of Miller's colleagues who are still on the fence about her. As one source put it: "The Scooter-Judy liaison dangereuse exposes how, during happier times between them, the darkest heart of the Bush administration was able to beat freely on the front page of the world's most important paper, with no hard questions asked."

Like O.J. promising to hunt down the real killers of Ron and Nicole, the Times once upon a time (a year and five months ago, to be exact) promised "to continue aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record straight" about the paper's miserable coverage of the Iraq WMD story.

The question is, will any courageous Times reporters take up that challenge and dig deeper into Miller and Libby's you-scratch-my-byline-and-I'll-scratch-your-policy relationship? Even if it means leaving the Times?

Here are a couple of places they may want to start digging:

The aluminum tubes story. Clearly Libby was not the only source on this Miller-promoted distortion of science and intelligence, but it would be good to know if he was one of the anonymous "Bush administration officials" she cited in her Sept 8, 2002 story "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts," which contained the memorable line (from one of those aforementioned administration officials): "The first sign of a 'smoking gun,' they argue, may be a mushroom cloud." Or is it just a coincidence that on the very day that story appeared, Dick Cheney, Libby's boss, went on Meet the Press and brought up the Miller story -- which conveniently allowed him to talk about information that otherwise would have been too classified for him to mention? "There's a story in the New York Times this morning," the Vice President said, "it's now public that, in fact, [Saddam] has been seeking to acquire...the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge."

The Soviet Smallpox story. Remember this one? It was Dec. 3, 2002. In it Miller pushed the story about "an informant's accusation that Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of smallpox from a Russian scientist." The scary story, which cited a number of "senior American officials," was based on information given to the CIA by a single, unnamed informant. It later turned out that there was absolutely no basis for the informant's story. It's interesting to note that at the time this Judy special appeared in the Times, Cheney and Libby were deeply involved in a struggle with the administration's public health officials. The Vice President wanted to expand the nation's smallpox vaccination program. Miller never mentioned whether her administration sources had a dog in the smallpox fight. How key a source was Libby on this story? Doesn't this deserve some of the Times' promised aggressive reporting?

No wonder Libby wrote in his letter to Judy: "Your reporting, and you, are missed."

P.S. Oh, she also told the Times that "she was uncertain whether she would write her own account, either in the newspaper or in a book." Two questions: (1) Does she really, really, think anybody will believe that? (2) If she intended to maintain her completely selfless pose a little longer, she simply should have refrained from talking to her friends about her $1.2 million book deal because, as she herself proved last week, people talk.
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 11:14 am
"...Dick Cheney, Libby's boss, went on Meet the Press and brought up the Miller story -- which conveniently allowed him to talk about information that otherwise would have been too classified for him to mention?"

Very interesting indeed. Actually, it's probably the most interesting thing I've read involving Plamegate so far.
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Reply Tue 4 Oct, 2005 11:15 am
Oh MoDo Where Art Thou?
Oh MoDo Where Art Thou?
Jane Hamsher

The Judy Miller affair is perfect Maureen Dowd material. NeoCon princess with a history of spreading misinformation for her Pentagon pals across the front page of the New York Times like a fine layer of nuclear waste, the "irresponsible martyrdom" that lead her to wrap herself in the First Amendment with all the subtlety of Norma Desmond begging for a klieg light, the paltry parade of C-list defenders and a "compromise" so self-serving even the mouth breathers mock her. The barbs verily write themselves.

And yet not one word has MoDo written about the woman who now brags to her friends about her $1.2 million book deal. Her lip must be in utter shreds for having been bitten so hard for so long.

In fact, not a peep on Miller has been uttered by the entire Times punditry corps. One can only conclude that they have been effectively muzzled. This is a tragedy of epic proportions for the blogosphere, who are still reeling from the loss of these voices behind the $49.95 TimesSelect wall (as blogger Attaturk lamented, "Well goodbye to bashing Bobo and Tierney....[that's] half my act.")

If the columnists are mute, the executive offices are not. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger has turned the editorial page into a veritable Judy mash note, and Judy publicly returns the affection. Following her grand jury testimony, Judy clutched Sulzberger so ardently it was anyone's guess whether she would make it to the microphones without giving him a spontaneous hand job, while simultaneously dragging husband Jason Epstein behind her like some used bowling ball who looked on the whole like he'd prefer to still be "supporting Judy" from aboard his Mediteranean cruise with bosomy dirty book writer Shirley Lord.

But what of the people in the news department? Actual reporters whose credibility and careers were unwillingly yoked to the poxy reporting and embarrassing First Amendment flogging of Judith Iscariot?

They don't seem too happy. Did some bloodless coup occur in the newsroom whereby Bill Keller was tied up and locked in the closet while damning letters were posted on the Times website, written to Judy from master of treacle Scooter Libby ("Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work---and life")?

According to sources within the Times, Miller is furious that she's somehow been rendered absurd by their exposure.

Oh if only MoDo were around to set her straight.
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Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 12:30 pm
News Comes in Code: Judy Miller's Return to the Times
News Comes in Code: Judy Miller's Return to the Times
By Jay Rosen

Just one man's opinion, but now is a good time to say it: The New York Times is not any longer--in my mind--the greatest newspaper in the land. Nor is it the base line for the public narrative that it once was. Some time in the least year or so I moved the Washington Post into that position.

The Post, I believe, is our great national newspaper now; the Times is number two, with the Wall Street Journal close behind.

Still a strong fleet. With a new ship in the lead perhaps it will sail to unexpected places.

It was a long time in the making, this change in my half-conscious rankings of the great players in news. The Web has a lot to do with it, for the Post has been bolder, more willing to experiment online, less hung up. (Plus it hired this guy, a key move.) TimesSelect has something to do with it, too, for the reasons I explored in an earlier post. The breakdown in controls in reporting Weapons of Mass Destruction is, of course a factor-- along with earlier episodes: Jayson Blair, Wen Ho Lee, Paul Krugman's correction trauma. It's an accumulation of things; the Post is just more agile, better able to adjust to a changing world, and to the exploding marketplace in news and views.

The switch happened a while ago, but I only realized it last night, as I was about to read Katharine Seelye's account of Judith Miller's return to the newsroom of the New York Times. When I clicked on the story about 1:00 am I thought to myself... They're not up to it. And while it may seem strange to some Huffington Post readers, I had never really felt that way before in reading a news story in the New York Times.

On plenty of occasions since I began reading the paper (in college) I would say to myself after finishing a Times article, "nah, I don't trust it." Often I have waved an imaginary hand at what I had just read, as if to say: get out of here with that! There were columnists whose way of arriving at opinions I didn't trust, and periods when I lost trust in the editorial pages entirely. But I held to my assumption as a news reader (and paying subscriber) that the New York Times would always try to tell me what it knew when it covered a story, and it would always try to cover the stories it knew were news.

Fairness, you know, is a two-way medium. If I am not fair in my expectations, I will never find the Times fair as a news provider. As a critic I have found it more effective to hold the Times to the elevated (and self-conscious) public interest standard it set for itself, which does in the end mean buying into "the newspaper of record" mythology, so as to point out where the newspaper and its record fall short.

Clicking on to Seelye's article last night, I realized that I didn't expect the Times to try to tell me what it knew. I expected what I said Sunday: it's Judy Miller's New York Times. She does with it as she pleases. On Sunday the Times had not tried to tell us what it knew, prompting Howard Kurtz of the Post to say: "I was hoping I would wake up this morning and see in my 'New York Times' [a] 5,000-word piece by Judith Miller telling us everything that was involved. She has no more legal liability here. Matt Cooper did it."

And Bill Keller could have ordered "it." But Judy does as she pleases.

I like how Kurtz said he was "hoping." I think there is something very basic to Times journalism about this kind of hope, which I shared with Kurtz that day. "They're the New York Times," we probably thought to ourselves. They're going to tell us what they know-- now that they can tell us. After all, we have been waiting while Miller's ordeal wound down. "No piece in the paper today," said Kurtz on "Reliable Sources." He was surprised, and seemed a little sad too. The day before he had reported in Media Notes on frustration among Miller's colleagues at the Times:

"People are angry," one staffer said. "Was this a charade on her part for martyrdom, or a real principle? She wanted to resurrect herself from the WMD thing," the staffer said, a reference to Miller stories about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be wrong.
Actually, I don't buy it that she wants to "make-up for WMD failures," and rehabilitate herself. The key to understanding Miller is to realize: she doesn't think she failed one bit in her reporting before the Iraq war. (I explain here and here, if you're really interested. Okay, one more.)

So on Sunday, day of reflection, no one in the Times reflecting about Miller, though according to the editorial page scribes history had been made that week. "No newspaper reporter has ever spent so much time in custody to defend the right to protect confidential sources." Sounds Week-in-Reviewish to me.

On Monday, Oct. 3 (normally a big day for media coverage in the Times) more nothing. And in Tuesday's "Miller returns" story very little beyond the official narrative, summarized quite well by the American Prospect's Greg Sargent: "that Miller is a Gandhi-like figure driven solely by principle and unswayed by the worldly discomforts of prison, and that the Times is her steadfast defender." And I don't think its Katharine Seelye's fault; almost any Times-person writing that article would have stuck to the known script. That's the only safe thing to do. You get the message from the photo too: hero's welcome.

So limited and empty and "stiff" is the official story about Judy Miller that some are reminded of the old Soviet style in public communication. News comes in code, and mostly the silences speak. Steve Lovelady of CJR Daily said so:

Our colleague Mike Hoyt has noted, reading the Times about the Times lately is a lot like reading Pravda about the Kremlin 20 years ago: You better bring to the task a microscope, a magic marker and an ability to read not just between the lines but between the words.
For example: The only quotes in Seelye's piece are from Judy Miller, returning home, and Bill Keller, welcoming her back. There's your official narrative at work. The staff does not speak. Incredulous professional peers are silent. There is no debate out there worth bringing into the account. No book deal the Times can find out about, although Miller gets to say she's "unsure" about doing a book about her ordeal.

Pulling back a bit from that story, we're supposed to believe, I guess (no one's told me) that Maureen Dowd (who appears on Wednesdays and Saturdays) doesn't see any column-writing promise in the "grandstanding" charge, or the "one-third of a martini in a gorgeous glass, along with a fruit tray," brought to Miller by Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., or the "meal I want my husband to prepare," or the big battle of wits--and totally conflicting stories--between Lewis Libby's lawyer Joseph Tate and the First Amendment sage Floyd Abrams. No column material there, right?

With many unanswered questions, some of which only the Times can address, being itself a huge actor in the drama, the newspaper has gone into editorial default, as if a plea of nolo contendere had been entered at Supreme News Court in the matter of Judy Miller, prosecutor Fitzgerald and the sputtering New York Times.

Notice that in her first few days out of jail Miller could not manage to: 1.) compose a statement for the Times that reveals anything, 2.) answer a single question from reporters that reveals anything, 3.) say a thing about her grand jury testimony that reveals anything, although it is legal to do so and Matt Cooper of Time magazine did, or 4.) admit that Lewis Libby was her source, even though letters from her lawyer to his lawyer were posted for all to see by the New York Times! (She did admit it Monday, four days after the whole world knew. This is journalism?)

From what I understand of the code that binds reporters, if you have big news because it happens you are a participant in the news, then you phone the desk because you think of your colleagues and they deserve the scoop. Of course you answer questions from the press when it's time for that because you're a source and they can't write their stories without you. You behave with an awareness that you're usually in their position, trying to squeeze information out of harried people, who sometimes just want to go home and have a quiet meal. You remain a journalist, even though you have to operate as a source, and defend your interests.

Judy Miller has behaved like she understood not one word of this.

Miller is a longtime friend of the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. They socialize. It's not a scandal, but it is a fact. Sulzberger has stood behind her in a show of support that anyone watching can see is personal, and strongly-felt. She has the full support of Executive Editor Bill Keller, who has said (more or less) she's a First Amendment hero-- not a martyr, Keller would say, but a hero in the sense of acting with exemplary courage and personal conviction in civil disobedience to the law. (Because she could do no other.)

Colliding ominously with these two facts are several others. The weight of professional opinion--once solidly behind Judy Miller, for a long time split 60/40 for her--is now decisively against. (I would think reader opinion is similarly thumbs down.) Most journalists seem baffled by her explanations, and dubious about the waiver that wasn't, then was. They do not see her cause as necessarily just.

Within the Times, I don't know what the feelings are, but it isn't possible that people there are insulated from the above facts. They know what their peers in the press think. The Washington bureau, in my opinion, has been humiliated by the plea of nolo contendere. And I doubt that I am the only one who sees it that way.

I don't expect the editorial default to last. It's possible that once the news coverage, column-writing and self-examination starts to flow (next week? the week after that?) the Times will recover its journalistic senses, and get back some of the reputation points that are expiring because it's become Judy Miller's Times.

The official story now is wait for the official story, the big piece of explanatory journalism Bill Keller has said will happen. "A full account of Ms. Miller's case," in Seelye's words.

"I know that you and our readers still have a lot of questions about how this drama unfolded," he told the staff members. He said the paper had been wary of revealing too much about the case for fear of compounding Ms. Miller's legal problems, but added, "Now that she's free, we intend to answer those questions to the best of our ability in a thoroughly reported piece in the pages of The New York Times, and soon. We owe it to our readers, and we owe it to you, our staff."

"In an interview after her appearance, Ms. Miller said she would cooperate with the newspaper's reporters," Seelye reports. That would be a switch, huh? "In the interview, she declined to reveal what she had told the grand jury." Oh, no switch. Says Lovelady: "So much for cooperation."

You see at Judy Miller's New York Times, Judy decides when she cooperates. There is a code operating here but I assure you it is not the one shared among most reporters. (As I type this I learn that she will be on CNN with Lou Dobbs tonight. Update: Transcript.)

After watching the short video of Miller speaking in the newsroom, and reading the coverage again, it's clear what her story is for the weeks ahead: Judy Miller won significant victories for all journalists with her decision to go to jail for her principles. Therefore she made the right decision, and so did Sulzberger and Keller by backing her.

The first victory she claims is: "the blanket waiver is dead." Meaning no one in the press will believe it any more and testify when a source gives a blanket waiver to all journalists. Miller showed what a sham it was, forcing Libby to give her a personal waiver, over the phone, and demonstrate that he really, really meant it.

The second victory is that, though she was forced to submit her notes, she and the Times got to redact the notes to remove all references to other cases, other sources, rather than have a third party--neither the prosecutor nor the journalist--do the redacting. That will somehow become a precedent, she suggests.

She is very proud of these victories. "I got things that no other journalist has ever gotten out of a process like this." Her reference point is not what the press may have won or lost from the state, but what Miller got compared to other journalists who tried it. There's your First Amendment hero.

Miller claims that Fitzgerald was not willing to limit her testimony to one source and one story, as he did for others, and Lewis Libby did not give her a personal waiver, as he did for others, so she could not negotiate a way out, as did others. But then the pressure of her public stand forced Fitzgerald to relent and Libby to relent via negotiations. And so, her victories won, she ended her jail stay and testified.

That's Judy's story and she will stick to it.

Whether the Times can free itself, remember its loyalty to readers, and tell that larger story that incorporates and corrects hers is... totally unclear. Frankly, the organization may not be up to it. But this doesn't matter to what I said at the start. There's a new flagship paper, and just as the Times needed the Post to steam alongside and challenge it, the Post will need a strong New York Times to remain true.

So I hope it goes back to being the New York Times one day soon.

Jay Rosen teaches journalism at New York University. His weblog is PressThink, where you can often find updates and reactions. See his Oct. 2nd post, Judith Miller and Her Times.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 5 Oct, 2005 12:45 pm
The True Miller's Tale?
The True Miller's Tale?
Robert A George

Now that Judith Miller has been sprung - and reportedly about to cash in big time for her difficult time in jail, let's revisit those "Two Tense Weeks in July." When I posted this extended timeline a few weeks ago, it produced some perplexity. So, open up the timeline in another window and compare and contrast as we take another trip down memory lane in July, 2003.

Well, the reports on what Miller has told Patrick Fitzgerald helps fill in some more of the dots of this interesting intergovernmental/international/judicial flap.

The Washington Post says:

Libby had a second conversation with Miller on July 12 or July 13, the source said, in which he said he had learned that Wilson's wife had a role in sending him on the trip and that she worked for the CIA. Libby never knew Plame's name or that she was a covert operative, the source said.
This is interesting, because if we go back to our timeline tracking the furious developments that were going on in both the U.S. and the U.K., we note that July 12, 2003, was the one of the two days not really accounted for in previous news stories. In between the first and second times Miller and Libby spoke, the following things occurred:

On July 9, in the UK, Blair's government has orchestrated the outing of scientist David Kelly as the source of BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan's explosive report that the Blair government "sexed-up" its Iraq intelligence dossier. In the U.S., Robert Novak talks with Karl Rove (Wilson's op-ed had appeared three days before).

On July 11, George Tenet releases a statement asserting that the "16 words" about yellowcake uranium shouldn't have been in the president's State of the Union address. The same day, Karl Rove talks to Matt Cooper about, among other things, Joseph Wilson and his wife.

Which makes The Post's conclusion somewhat odd. In the original story posted on the Web, Friday, September 30, the paper's final paragraph reads:

"Miller's role had been one of the great mysteries in the leak probe. It is unclear why she emerged as a central figure in the probe despite not writing a story about the case."

In the full story in Saturday's paper, that passage is no longer there. Instead, there is the less speculative: "Miller never wrote an article on the matter."

Yet, even editing out the earlier passage, the question hangs in the air: Why was Miller behind bars for three months concerning sources to a story which that she never wrote about?

The answer is obvious: Judith Miller emerged as a central figure because she MADE herself a central figure and, arguably, BECAUSE she didn't "writ[e] a story about the case." This is the Judith Miller who, four days later, wrote words of encouragement to British scientist David Kelly: "David, I heard from another member of your fan club that things went well for you today. Hope it's true, J."

These don't seem like the words of a disinterested journalist. These are the words of someone who has some sort of interest in how a witness performs in a parliamentary hearing.

How is it that - two years later and after Judith Miller has spent 90 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with a criminal investigation - not one media organization has deemed it important to wonder: Who is the other "member of [Kelly's] fan club"? Is it Scooter Libby? Is it John Bolton (who visited Miller in jail and we know was questioned by the State Department Inspector General the same day Kelly's body was found)? Is it someone else? If it is indeed an American, exactly what is that person's interest in a British Parliamentary inquiry?

Judith Miller is the missing link between two different investigations. She's not a mere reporter. How do we know? Because, she has "reported" none of this.

Despite these multiple conversations with Libby, Miller never wrote about Joseph Wilson.

Despite the fact that she revealed the content of her e-mail to her Times editors - and one of her colleagues wrote about her receiving the "dark actors" e-mail - she never was inclined to pursue what drove a major source of hers to suicide.

Despite the fact that both Wilson and Kelly were critical actors in twin transatlantic challenges to the integrity of government assertions in the run-up to the Iraq War, Miller never offered even an analysis of what was occurring - even though it is clear that she was in close contact with individuals close to both controversies.

Despite the fact, that the challenges were about validity of intelligence related to weapons of mass destruction - journalistic turf that she had made her own in The New York Times.

And Miller wrote nothing about this in the days following either the Wilson op-ed (published in her own newspaper) or the suicide of an individual with whom her e-mail indicates she shares a familial intimacy that goes beyond the usual reporter-source relationship ("Hope it's true, J.")

Isn't this peculiar?

And, again: WHO is the "member of [David Kelly's] fan club" in a position to tell Judy Miller that "things went well for" him in his testimony on July 16th?

Upon which side of the Atlantic was that person?

The question is, will the true story ever come out?

If what Miller says is true in terms of the concession that Patrick Fitzgerald made to get Miller's testimony, the answer may be - probably not.

According to the transcript of her press conference after being released, Miller states:

Once I got a personal voluntary waiver [from my source], my lawyer...approached the special counsel to see if my grand jury testimony could be limited to the communications with the source from whom I had received that personal and voluntary waiver. The special counsel agreed to this, and that was very important to me...
...I know what my conscience would allow. And I was -- I stood fast to that.

Well isn't that interesting? Given that we know that her source (Lewis Libby) had essentially given her a full waiver a year before, the only thing that was different was that Fitzgerald finally allowed Miller to dictate the scope of the investigation! Wow!

A Washington observer with a keen sense of history told me, "That's like when Woodward and Bernstein expected Hugh Sloan, Treasurer for CREEP and former Halderman aide, to name names to the initial Watergate grand jury but he didn't. "Woodstein" were stunned and pissed off at Sloan until they learned the initial prosecutor never dreamed to inquire about anything beyond the the seven burglars."

If Fitzgerald made this major concession to Miller, he may have made it impossible to get a clear picture as to the full motives of the White House with respect to Joseph Wilson.

If that interest extended across the Atlantic into the BBC/Blair contretemps (and given Miller's role in both of them, that is not too wide a leap), Miller may have succeeded in shutting down that particular avenue.

NEXT: A deeper reading of the parallel challenges to the transatlantic "official stories."
0 Replies
Reply Thu 6 Oct, 2005 10:10 am
Judith Miller's Eight Bogus Arguments
Judith Miller's Eight Bogus Arguments
David Fiderer

To put it charitably, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson didn't read the court decision he sought to overturn. Still, 30 other state attorneys general co-signed Edmondson's amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court. All endorsed Edmondson's claim that the D.C. Circuit Court ruling against Judith Miller "bucks the clear policy of virtually all the states".

"State policy" in this context meant recognizing of a "reporter's privilege" that, according to Edmondson, would exempt Miller from testifying before the Plame grand jury. Edmondson wrote: "In applying the privilege, most states employ a balancing test that weighs the public interest in protecting a reporter's newsgathering and the free flow of information against the relevance of the information, the availability of alternative sources and the public interest in compelling disclosure."

But the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Miller by employing the exact same balancing test. The Federal judges ruled unanimously that the clear-cut balance was against Miller.

So why would 30 attorneys general embarrass themselves before the Supreme Court? Answer: Because their publicity stunt never would never get any real scrutiny. Miller's flimsy legal arguments always got a free pass from the media.

Miller's latest assertion - she waited a year to hear Scooter Libby's waiver was sincere - is the latest in her litany of headscratchers. It's not too late to subject the New York Times reporter's statements to a reality check. This would be a first.

1. "Forty-nine states, all but one state, in our country have now given journalists' sources protection under the state law or by judicial action.. So the federal standard is really out of whack with what the will of the states is at this point." News Forum with Gabe Pressman (WNBC New York) June 19, 2005

But 49 states would never excuse Miller from testifying. Under the qualified privilege extended by most states, Miller would still go to jail. Only 14 states offer an absolute privilege that exempting Miller from testifying under any circumstances. But state laws do not protect national security; that's the exclusive domain of the Federal government. So any argument about "bucking state policy" in Miller's case is fatally flawed.

2."If psychotherapists do not have to tell grand juries about what their patients tell them, surely the public's right to know is just as important in terms of protecting individuals who come forth and talk about wrongdoing to the press." Pressman, June 19, 2005

A reporter's privilege is not the same as a doctor or lawyer's privilege. Nor should it ever be.

First, doctors and lawyers have no privilege protecting client statements made in pursuit of a crime. If you ask your lawyer, "What's the best Panamanian bank for money laundering?" Or tell your doctor, "Double my oxycontin prescription; I'm trying it on my 12-year-old," your words have no protection from the law. Ever wonder why Tony Soprano never talks shop with his psychiatrist?

Conversely, a reporter's privilege is designed to protect illegal statements, because the confidential source often violates his legal duty of non-disclosure.

Second, doctors and lawyers are licensed and duty-bound to enforce legal behavior. Priests are regulated by the Catholic Church. Journalism is open to anyone with access to the internet, where ethical lapses are irrelevant. Which is why 35 states and all federal circuits recognize the need for a reporter's privilege, but also deem judges - not journalists - as final arbiters deciding what stays out of the court. Again, nobody believes that Scooter Libby came forth to "talk about wrongdoing."

3. "I didn't write a word. So I'm doubly adamant that I'm not going to talk about individuals who may have come to me with information that I didn't even write." The Charlie Rose Show February 22, 2005

On planet earth, witnesses are called to testify about what they observed, not only about what they did. Jay Leno testified in the Michael Jackson case even though he did nothing. Here, Miller panders to the dumb and dumber set.

4. "[T]here are many ways in which the government can get this information before [special counsel] Fitzgerald subpoenas journalists." -- Pressman

A flat out lie. Writing for the entire three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge David Tatel wrote, "we must take care to ensure that the special counsel has met his burden of demonstrating that the information is both critical and unobtainable from any other source. Having carefully scrutinized his voluminous classified filings, I believe that he has."

5. "And I think part of the problem here is we are dealing with a special prosecutor. And you don't have kind of the normal political balancing tests. .we've seen this again and again with special prosecutors, where they really do carry on with an extraordinary zeal, without any checks and balances of politics or anything else." The Charlie Rose Show February 22, 2005

Again, the D.C. Circuit decision discredits Miller's claim. Judge Tatel scrutinized the case for any specter of prosecutorial abuse. "The dynamics of leak inquiries afford a particularly compelling reason for judicial inquiry of prosecutorial judgments" he wrote, because the prosecutor "may pursue the source with excessive zeal." So the Court itself should consider whether Miller's "sources released information more harmful than newsworthy."

"Were the leak at issue in this case less harmful to national security or more vital to the public debate, or had special counsel failed to demonstrate the grand jury's need for the evidence," he wrote, "I might have supported the motion to quash [the subpoena to testify]."

6. "Victoria Toensing.. helped write the law that protects the identity of CIA agents. And her view is that no crime was committed here because Ms. Plame may not meet the standard of what constitutes a covert agent; that is, she may not have been operating undercover. The person or people who leaked her name may not have intended to harm her or damage national security." -- Pressman

As Miller's cheerleader, attorney Victoria Toensing spearheaded a media campaign to misrepresent the law. Toensing's talking points are recounted in her amicus brief, submitted with Bruce Sanford of Baker & Hostetler, to request a rehearing of Miller's case before a full panel on the D.C. Circuit. The brief argued that Miller and Matt Cooper should not be compelled to testify before the grand jury because of "ample evidence on the public record to cast considerable doubt that a crime has been committed."

Toensing put the cart before the horse. Grand juries are gathered to determine if a crime has been committed. Since grand jury proceedings are secret, Toensing didn't know what she was talking about. She presumes the only possible crime under investigation is the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. But any prosecutor would also investigate for perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, or other crimes against national security.

In the quote above, Miller paraphrased Toensing's deceptive spin on the Identities Protection Act. Toensing claimed, on WashingtonPost.com, "Just giving someone a false identity and a front does not meet the legal standard of affirmative measures [to protect Plame's cover] especially when she has a desk job at Langley and is driving in and out every day." But no court ruling or legislative history supports Toensing's interpretation.

The "ample evidence" used in Toensing's brief is a joke. To prove that "the CIA was cavalier about, if not complicit in, the publishing of Plame's name" Toensing cites: (a) the esteemed Washington Times, using anonymous sources to claim Plame's covert identity was first disclosed in the mid-1990's, (b) Robert Novak's claim that the CIA "failed to give him a serious request not to publish her name," and most ridiculously, (c) the fact that Joseph Wilson publicly spoke about his travels to Niger on behalf of the CIA - as if somehow that made Plame's CIA-status an open secret and somehow newsworthy. Toensing embellishes her arguments with bitchy suggestions about the Joseph Wilson and the CIA. But judges aren't stupid. They know the difference between fanciful speculation and real evidence.

Nor do stupid lawyers work for Baker & Hostetler, Reuters, ABC News or any of the 36 major news organizations signing on this embarrassing work product. But, to paraphrase Tina turner - what's law got to do with it? The Washington Post reported "The 40-page brief [only 15 pages of substantive text], . argues that there is 'ample evidence . . . to doubt that a crime has been committed' in the case." And, "Attorneys for the news organizations said yesterday that their decision to submit the brief underscores deep concern in the journalism community over special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's tactics." In the interest of brevity, the Post offered no specifics regarding the "ample evidence" or the prosecutor's "tactics."

7. MILLER: "[S]omething that is even more astonishing to some of us, that the reasons that one of the justices gave for deciding against us are redacted. That is, they're censored from the ruling. So, we don't even know a lot about the thinking of one of the three judges. And I just find this an astonishing turn of events."
BLITZER: "Redacted, presumably for security classified purposes."
MILLER: "Exactly."
CNN: Wolf Blitzer Reports February 15, 2005

Miller knew perfectly well the reason why Judge David Tatel ruled against her and Cooper. What she didn't see was four pages of redacted evidence used in support of that reason. All this conforms to longstanding law. For over 200 years, grand jury proceedings have been secret. Well-established precedent says that a judge, based on his ex parte review of evidence, may impose exceptions to a professional privilege against testifying before the grand jury. Judge Tatel wrote: "Just as due process poses no barrier to forcing an attorney to testify based on the court's examination of the evidence, unseen by the lawyer, that the client sought legal advice in pursuit of a crime, neither does it preclude compulsion of a reporter's testimony based on a comparable review of evidence, likewise unseen by the reporter, that a source engaged in a harmful leak."

8. "What's at stake here is the public's right to know, because we depend for our business on confidential sources, as you've seen with Watergate, as you've seen with the Pentagon papers, as you've seen with Abu Ghraib, as you've seen with the Enron abuses. All of that, all of those stories depended on an individual coming forth and speaking to the press often at the risk of their jobs, their careers, and they ask us in exchange, when their jobs are in jeopardy or their lives are in jeopardy, to protect their identity but use the information. And we must really carry through with our pledges when we promise to keep somebody's identity confidential, or people won't come forth. So this is not about me. It's not about The New York Times or Time or Matt Cooper. It's about the public's right to know." -- Pressman

Watergate and Enron? What about "the public's right to know" if White House officials committed crimes and compromised national security? Or is that the sacred and private domain of a few in the Washington press corps?

When she spoke with Scooter Libby on July 8, 2003, Miller knew that her source had credibility problems over uranium sales from Niger. One day earlier, the National Security Agency had conceded "the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech" rendering Joe Wilson's motivations all but irrelevant. But Libby's boss, Dick Cheney, was known for trashing those who questioned his WMD intelligence.

Fourth months prior, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced that that the CIA's "documents" used as proof of a Niger uranium sale were "not authentic." Sources cited "crude errors," like a "childlike signature" and stationary from a military government that had been out of power for over a decade.

Cheney's response: "Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq's concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid this time than they've been in the past." Prophetic words indeed.

So why did Miller believe Libby deserved a pledge of confidentiality? Let's get real. Miller isn't protecting anyone's "right to know". She's protecting the dirty little secrets of Washington insiders like herself.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 6 Oct, 2005 11:33 am
Judith Miller: The Grossest Kind of War-Profiteer
Steve Clemons

Judy Miller seems to be engaged either in some kind of perverse self-deception, or she is simply brilliant at manipulating the rest of us. As has been widely reported, she seems to have unnecessarily gone off to jail as she was protecting a source who never wanted protection. . .or she strong-armed a deal with Prosecutor Fitzgerald in which she didn't have to tell anything beyond her interactions with Vice President Cheney's Chief-of-Staff Scooter Libby.

Nonetheless, we have all been duped. It felt like moments after Matt Cooper was ordered by the courts to testify, he not only suspended his resistance, he immediately told his story in Time magazine.

But in Judith Miller's case, NOTHING has appeared under her by-line in the New York Times explaining this case or her behavior. She's no reporter. She's a huckster, and we are all being duped.

Arianna Huffington seems to have insider knowledge that Miller is securing a $1.2 million book deal from her public swindle:

P.S. Oh, she also told the Times that "she was uncertain whether she would write her own account, either in the newspaper or in a book." Two questions: (1) Does she really, really, think anybody will believe that? (2) If she intended to maintain her completely selfless pose a little longer, she simply should have refrained from talking to her friends about her $1.2 million book deal because, as she herself proved last week, people talk.
The New York Times should immediately fire her and discredit her immediately. This whole episode has been as fake and contrived -- and corrupt -- as Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair, and Armstrong Williams.

She is planning to get rich off her shenanigans, which included misreporting about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and helping to set up an environment conducive to America's invasion of Iraq.

An apologist for Judith Miller -- and someone very close to her legal team -- told me recently that "George Bush did not go to war because of or inspite of Judy Miller's reporting. These soldiers didn't die because of her."

Well, I disagree. Judith Miller helped tip the balance. She carries a significant portion of the blame and bears a burden of responsibility for the deaths of American service men and women as well as tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

But what is more disgusting is that she is planning to CASH IN on this war and on her contrived battle that had nothing to do with freedom of the press and the protection of sources.

Judith Miller is a war-profiteer of the grossest kind.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 9 Oct, 2005 11:54 am
'N.Y. Times' Scooped Again, This Time on Miller's Notes
'N.Y. Times' Scooped Again, This Time on Miller's Notes
By E&P Staff
Published: October 08, 2005 10:35 AM ET updated 11:00 PM

As the Plame/CIA leak case continues to unfold, The New York Times is maintaining its recent track record of getting scooped by others--many others--on critical developments in the legal twists and turns involving its own reporter, Judith Miller.

Last week, the paper was late in revealing that Miller had left jail. Thursday it was behind the curve in disclosing that the federal prosecutor in the Plame case had scheduled another meeting with Miller next week. And Friday, it was scooped by, first, the New York Observer (a weekly) and then Reuters, in reporting the rather significant news that Miller had somehow discovered notes of a conversation with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby that took place about two weeks before the discussions that were the focus of her testimony to the grand jury last week. This was significant enough, Reuters reports, that the newly-found notes could help form the basis for a wide-ranging conspiracy charge.

When the Times did get around to covering this latest development, it provided few details, such as how, why and when the discovery took place, or why the newspaper has been so slow to cover its own employee. This was the extent of its report on this fresh angle:

"The meeting [on Tuesday] is expected to focus on newly discovered notes compiled by Ms. Miller that refer to a conversation she had with Mr. Libby on June 25, 2003, according to a lawyer in the case who did not want to be named because Mr. Fitzgerald has cautioned against discussing the case. Until now, the only conversations known to have occurred between Ms. Miller and Mr. Libby were on July 8 and 12, 2003."

The June chat with Libby pre-dates Joseph Wilson's July 6 op-ed in the Times which accused the White House of twisting intelligence on Iraq, and was thought to spur the administration backlash against his wife, Valerie Plame.

Late Saturday, Newsweek's Mike Isikoff reported on the magazine's Web site an interesting detail missing in the Times' account: the Miller notes apparently had been found in a notebook in the paper's Washington bureau.

The Los Angeles scooped the Times on another tantalizing item: Fitzgerald phoned Wilson on Sept. 29, the same day Miller, the New York Times reporter jailed for refusing to divulge her confidential source, was released from jail after agreeing to testify in the case. Miller's decision to testify has seemed to set off a round of reaction--including another appearance by Karl Rove before the grand jury--making all the more bizarre the Times' lagtime.

And, apparently, the strange discovery of the new Miller notes will slow the Times' promised full accounting of her role in this drama.

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, told the paper's David Johnston that Miller had been cautioned by her lawyers not to discuss the substance of her grand jury testimony until the prosecutor finished questioning her.

"We have launched a vigorous reporting effort that I hope will answer outstanding questions about Judy's part in this drama," Keller said. "This development may slow things down a little, but we owe our readers as full a story as we can tell, as soon as we can tell it."

A Times spokeswoman told E&P on Friday, "The timing is still yet to be determined."

A Washington Post report on Friday hinted that there's a chance that Miller's testimony last week may have added to Karl Rove's vulnerability, and triggered his fourth appearance before the grand jury later this week. It suggested that only three people have testified since Rove's last appearance: Matthew Cooper, Miller, and Rove's secretary.

And Johnston observed, "Recently lawyers said that they believed the prosecutor may be applying new legal theories to bring charges in the case.

"One new approach appears to involve the possible use of Chapter 37 of the federal espionage and censorship law, which makes it a crime for anyone who 'willfully communicates, delivers, transfers or causes to be communicated' to someone 'not entitled to receive it' classified information relating the national defense matters."

NOTE: Go to current column by E&P's Greg Mitchell on Miller, Libby, Jon Stewart, and the infamous "aspens turning" letter, found on our main page, right side, under Columns.

Links referenced within this article

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http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/mailto:[email protected]

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0 Replies
Reply Sun 9 Oct, 2005 12:11 pm
Patrick Fitzgerald's Mousetrap
Patrick Fitzgerald's Mousetrap
Mark Kleiman

Just back from the LA Blogger Bash, where Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake patiently explained to me her theory, and that of emptywheel of The Next Hurrah, of how it came to pass that Judith Miller suddenly discovered some notes about her meetings with "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, after her grand jury testimony.

If it's not -- as I suspect it is -- a brilliant and plausible inference that accurately ties together disparate facts, it's one of the best pieces of legal fiction ever penned. You should read both of the linked items in full, but here's the idea as I understand it:

1. The revelation of Plame's identity to Cooper and Novak (among others) was part of an attack on Joseph Wilson's credibility that started before, and not after, his NYT op-ed of July 6, 2003. Wilson had already been the unnamed source of press reports casting doubt on the uranium-from-Niger story, and the White House Iraq Group was out to get him, for self-protection and retaliation.

2. Miller planned to write a story about Wilson, prompted by Libby and members of the W.H.I.G.; those plans were pre-empted by his op-ed. (Or perhaps when he learned that his role as a source for Kristof was going to be revealed anyway, he decided to tell the story himself.)

3. Libby had told the grand jury about his conversations with Miller in July, but not about conversations in June relating to the story that Miller planned to write but never wrote. Those conversations would have been hard to reconcile with the story Libby and his friends were trying to peddle: that their attacks on Wilson were purely defensive responses to his op-ed.

4. Unbeknownst to Libby and Miller, Fitzgerald had learned of those June conversations, either from Wilson or from someone at the Times.

5. As Fitzgerald expected, Miller in her testimony did not mention the June conversations with Libby. (Libby's letter to Miller contains language that might be read as signaling to her that she should confine her testimony to the July conversations.) Fitzgerald asked her leading questions which, without tipping her off about how much Fitzgerald knew, put her in the position of having to testify falsely in order to avoid mentioning those conversations.

6. Once Miller's testimony was over, Fitzgerald called her lawyer and said, "Why didn't your client mention the June conversations when she was asked about them?" It was that phone call that triggered Miller's sudden discovery of the June notes.

7. Having caught Miller committing perjury, Fitzgerald is now in a position to, in effect, renege on his agreement to ask her only about her conversations with Libby. Under the terms of that agreement, Fitzgerald can't compel her to testify about conversations with other people, but she can of course do so voluntarily. And Fitzgerald can tell her lawyer that if she fails to volunteer, she may be looking at substantially more than 85 days behind bars on charges of perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, being an accessory to Libby's violations of the Espionage Act, or being a co-conspirator with him and others in those violations. (This is perfectly acceptable prosecutorial conduct, not even close to any ethical line.)

Instead of a mere percipient witness, Miller is now a potential defendant, and Fitzgerald can try to "flip" her against all of her sources, not just Libby.

Jane concludes:

Note to self: do not EVER play poker with Patrick Fitzgerald.

Well, right. And I would add: do not enter a spy-novel-writing contest against Jane Hamsher or emptywheel. I don't often encounter anyone with a mind more devious than my own, but in this case I bow to either superior penetration or superior invention. Whether this is Fitzgerald's plot or Jane's, its author has a wickedly brilliant intellect.


Tom Maguire notes that Fitzgerald's subpoena to Miller covered only documents after July 6. So why, Tom asks, is Ms. Miller suddenly so talkative? Count that as another puzzling phenomenon that the Hamsher theory explains nicely.
0 Replies

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