Judith Miller: How Did They Know?

Atrios picks up on a question over at Romanesko: If Judith Miller never wrote about the Valerie Plame leak, how did the Government know she had information about it?

According to her lawyer Floyd Abrams, they've assumed it's because one of the white house officials told the grand jury he had talked to her about it.

Asked why prosecutors sought Miller's testimony when she never wrote a story about Plame, Times attorney Floyd Abrams said, "We don't know, but most likely somebody testified to the grand jury that he or she had spoken to Judy."

Who would it be? Most likely, in my opinion, Lewis Libby. Miller has said that even though her source gave a general waiver, she can't be sure it was not coerced and therefore wouldn't credit it. Also, the subpoenas she received only concerned communications with a single, identified person. From the DC Court of Appeals decision (pdf):

In the meantime, on August 12 and August 14, grand jury subpoenas were issued to Judith Miller, seeking documents and testimony related to conversations between her and a specified government official “occurring from on or about July 6, 2003, to on or about July 13, 2003, . . . concerning Valerie Plame Wilson (whether referred to by name or by description as the wife of Ambassador Wilson) or concerning Iraqi efforts to obtain uranium.”

See also, here and here.

Update: Judith Miller on why she is not testifying:

CNN Aaron Brown Newsnight, CNN October 25, 2004 Monday (Lexis.com):

BROWN: Mr. Fitzgerald has, I think, aggressively, try to do his work. Some people have, it seems, have made agreements either with the sources or with Mr. Fitzgerald. Is there any room here to negotiate that you see?

MILLER: Well, I can't talk about what other journalists have done. And I don't want to start dividing journalists, putting myself in a different category. I can just tell you what I decided and why.

I felt that I didn't want to start to go down the road of testifying about someone who may or may not be a source, because, at this point, the focus of Mr. Fitzgerald's inquiry has been on one person. But, as we've seen from Matt Cooper, if you make a deal to discuss that one person who may or may not have given a voluntary waiver, what about what happens when Mr. Fitzgerald's target of interest or person of interest shifts?

And then there's another person and another person who comes under suspicion. And, eventually, somebody might actually get to one of your sources, if they haven't already. I just decided that the position has got to be, if I promised someone confidentiality, whether or not he was a source on a particular story, I'm not going to go in and testify about what that person told me. Otherwise, I can't do my job.

People won't come to you and me and say, will you protect me if we give you information if they think we're going to fold and give them up. Our job depends really on this confidentiality.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Judith Miller: How Did They Know? (none / 0) (#1)
    by theologicus on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:07 PM EST
    Does Miller's refusal to cooperate possibly make her an accessory to a crime?

    Re: Judith Miller: How Did They Know? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    Isn't possible that her name came up in phone records?

    Re: Judith Miller: How Did They Know? (none / 0) (#3)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    Bush is behind this, its a setup and its for a bush-Rat Reason, watch-out people you are about to be "bombed", by bush. Bush is bin laden, Bush is just a tool of others, who want your rights dead and you inside the third world of mass death.

    Re: Judith Miller: How Did They Know? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    Miller isn't protecting anyone but herself. She and her legal team aren't even smart enough to frame the confidential source protecting in a context that makes her look better. And that would be this: even though she's protecting someone who obviously ISN'T a whistle blower, there will be plenty of times when a whistle-blower, at first, seems like a criminal, and because of that i need to shield here. But she isn't saying that, because...THE OBVIOUSNESS OF THIS CASE IS, WELL, OBVIOUS!!!

    Re: Judith Miller: How Did They Know? (none / 0) (#5)
    by theologicus on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    Our job depends really on this confidentiality. Confidentiality is certainly important, as Miller indicates. But is it always an overriding value? If we are looking here at treason or perjury (and not just dirty tricks), then it's hard to see how one could stand by a commitment to confidentiality without making oneself culpable in a serious crime.

    Re: Judith Miller: How Did They Know? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:08 PM EST
    Misplaced Patriot, Good call on the phone records.