Update on Judith Miller: How Did They Know

Thanks to an astute reader who found these quotes on how the Government learned Judith Miller had information on Valerie Plame:

  • "Fitzgerald determined which reporters were talking to government officials during that period by reviewing government phone logs."
    Source: The Washington Post, July 7, 2005, p. A13. This sentence appears in the print edition but not the online version.
  • "Investigators studied government telephone records to learn which reporters had spoken to officials in the Bush administration. Among them were Judith Miller and Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper."
    Source (interestingly): Voice of America

  • "Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel in December 2003 and began pursuing the case aggressively. The White House had turned over telephone logs, e-mails and memos to the FBI in October 2003, so Fitzgerald presumably had records of who had called whom. The prosecutor then demanded sworn testimony from a number of senior aides. According to the New York Times, the FBI interviewed Karl Rove and top vice presidential adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and a grand jury heard testimony from press secretary Scott McClellan, Cheney aide Mary Matalin and others. Fitzgerald even conducted interviews with President Bush and Vice President Cheney....."Fitzgerald subpoenaed journalists to testify about their conversations with the possible leakers."
    Source: Washington Post

Telephone records and logs would show who talked to whom, but not necessarily the subject matter of the calls - and not everything that was discussed during the calls. For that, Fitzgerald would have questioned the officials.

Chicago Tribune, March 5, 2004:

In the grand jury sessions, press aides were confronted with internal White House documents, mainly e-mails and telephone logs, between White House aides and reporters and questioned about conversations with reporters, according to sources and reports.

The logs indicate that several White House officials talked to Novak shortly before the appearance of his July 14 column, the Washington Post reported. According to the New York Times, the set of documents that prosecutors repeatedly referred to in their meetings with White House aides are extensive notes compiled by I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff and national security adviser.

The FBI has interviewed Rove, Libby, McClellan, Levine, Matalin, White House communications director Dan Bartlett, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and Cheney aide Cathie Martin, the Post reported.

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    Re: Update on Judith Miller: How Did They Know (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    sounds like he's doing his job. after the ken starr debacle, this is good news. interesting to watch all these confident big-mouths now clam up to save their own hides. godd*mn children is what they are.

    Re: Update on Judith Miller: How Did They Know (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    I seem to remember reading somewhere that the White House has still not complied with all of the subpoenas for telephone records, but maybe that referred only to the Air Force One Africa trip telephone records which I believe still have not been produced.

    Re: Update on Judith Miller: How Did They Know (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    Hey, I guessed right!

    Re: Update on Judith Miller: How Did They Know (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:09 PM EST
    I'm confused. Almost all the companies I've worked for have had a more sophisticated phone system than this. Generally, if they have, say, 400 employees on-site, they have a service that provides 120 "lines" in and out of the building, because it's extremely unlikely that everyone in-house will be on the phone at the same time. (And you notice this only during a blizzard (or a terrorist alert.) To be more specific, an employee named, say, "Matt Cooper" would be on Line 115 at 8:32 AM, but on Line 324 at 8:55. No way to tell who in the range of phone extensions was actually utilizing the line in question. Have the Times and the Post somehow figured out how to screw the big-shot reporters legally by allocating dedicated lines to them? And if so, aren't the Millers/Coopers smart enough to use the phone in the conference room? (NOTE: I am - and I'm not all that smart.) I just don't get it - it's 2005, after all. Did these people not read "All the President's Men" with comprehension? Or is there a part of Patriot Act I concerning telephone security that I missed?