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Judith Miller: Why is She Protecting Lewis Libby

Back to Judith Miller and who she is protecting. The Washington Post today says her source is Lewis Libby.

...two sources say Miller spoke with Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, during the key period in July 2003 that is the focus of Fitzgerald's investigation.

The two sources, one who is familiar with Libby's version of events and the other with Miller's, said the previously undisclosed conversation occurred a few days before Plame's name appeared in Robert D. Novak's syndicated column on July 14, 2003. Miller and Libby discussed former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, Plame's husband, who had recently alleged that the Bush administration twisted intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, according to the source familiar with Libby's version.

It's not that Libby didn't give Miller a waiver, he gave all the reporters he spoke to a waiver. Miller isn't sure the waiver isn't coerced.

"Judy's view is that any purported waiver she got from anyone was not on the face of it sufficiently broad, clear and uncoerced," [laywer Floyd] Abrams said.

On November 28, 2004, the Washington Post reported:

Fitzgerald wants Miller to testify about her talks with Libby, even though she never wrote a story about Plame. Libby has signed a letter saying he waives his anonymity, but Miller still refuses to talk. Her position is that no such waiver under pressure from a prosecutor can ever be voluntary.

As I pointed out here, Fitzgerald knows who her source is. Look to the subpoena to Judith Miller (from this DC Court of Appeals decision (pdf) upholding Cooper and Miller's contempt orders:

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.”

Note that it requests conversations between her and "a specified government official" - that's Libby. And that the time period is the week before Novak's article was published. And, it refers covers conversations pertaining to Valerie Plame Wilson by either name or as the wife of Joseph Wilson.

The question is what did Libby tell Miller that she is so intent on concealing that she's willing to go to jail over it...and does it implicate Dick Cheney, other members of his staff and/or Karl Rove?

Another piece, the Chicago Tribune, July 7, 2005:

Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, has said for months that his investigation has concluded except for the testimony of Miller and Cooper. On Wednesday, he told the court that with Miller's refusal to testify, "we are having this whole thing derailed by one person."

Judith Miller told Aaron Brown on Newsnight (CNN Aaron Brown Newsnight, CNN October 25, 2004 Monday (Lexis.com):

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.

I think the issue is, did Libby tell Miller about a meeting he was at with Dick Cheney - or other members of the White House Iraq Group - at which a plan to discredit Joseph Wilson using his wife's CIA status was hatched? It's seeming more and more likely.

And even if Libby didn't tell her about a meeting, he had to have told her something that puts someone else in jeopardy, or her statement to Brown doesn't make sense.

Billmon, on the other hand, thinks Judith Miller might be the leaker.

The issue isn't whether Miller is covering up for a source, the issue is whether she was a source for Operation Slime Wilson.

Balloon Juice thinks Judith Miller should be forced to tell. One of his commenters responds:

Suppose she is in jail six months from now. How will you "force" her to talk, then? Play loud music in her cell 24 hours a day, perhaps?

Maybe they'll play Glenn Frey's Smuggler's Blues:

From the Office of the President
Right Down to Me and You

Update: I just saw this from today's Newsday over at Digby's - Miller was in Washington on July 8 and met with a Government official:

The disclosures also highlight the special prosecutor's interest in jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller and her meeting in Washington with an unnamed government official on July 8, 2003, the same day, according to the disclosures, that Rove spoke with Novak.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Judith Miller: Why is She Protecting Lewis Li (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kitt on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:18 PM EST
    So...Joe Wilson is correct. He figured it was 'Scooter' and Rove. I can't imagine what kind of grown man has the nickname 'Scooter' - still. Also, the Idaho Statesman has a poll: Should Bush fire Rove? 22% Yes /\ 78% No. Boise is a 'blue' area in the midst of a 'red state.' Damned freeper.

    Re: Judith Miller: Why is She Protecting Lewis Li (none / 0) (#2)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:18 PM EST
    I have a feeling judy is more worried about the 5th than the 1st amendments. JMHO.

    scooter and turd. yuck. miller's principled stance gets on my last nerve. the media protection exists for the public interest, not to shield criminals. she also wasn't too principled to print whatever neocon puppet chalabi told her without checking it. she's epitomizes what's broken in today's media. at least she got a more flattering haircut.

    Yes! Force her to talk! Make her wear women's underwear! Oh, uh...

    I would prefer they play Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" (lyrics below. So many of the verses apply.... Once upon a time you dressed so fine You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you? People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall" You thought they were all kiddin' you You used to laugh about Everybody that was hangin' out Now you don't talk so loud Now you don't seem so proud About having to be scrounging for your next meal. How does it feel How does it feel To be without a home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone? You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely But you know you only used to get juiced in it And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it You said you'd never compromise With the mystery tramp, but now you realize He's not selling any alibis As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes And ask him do you want to make a deal? How does it feel How does it feel To be on your own With no direction home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone? You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns When they all come down and did tricks for you You never understood that it ain't no good You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat Ain't it hard when you discover that He really wasn't where it's at After he took from you everything he could steal. How does it feel How does it feel To be on your own With no direction home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone? Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things But you'd better lift your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe You used to be so amused At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal. How does it feel How does it feel To be on your own With no direction home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone? Copyright 1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

    Re: Judith Miller: Why is She Protecting Lewis Li (none / 0) (#6)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:18 PM EST
    et al - What happens if she agrees to testify, and then takes the 5th? Couldn't the judge grant her immunity to force her to talk?

    PPJ - she could take the Fifth and then Fitzgerald, not the Judge, would have to decide whether to offer her immunity. If he offered her immunity, the Judge basically rubber stamps it. At that point, she would have to testify or be held in civil contempt. She's already in civil contempt. To take the Fifth, she would have to admit that she thinks she has criminal exposure. It's not enough that she thinks she would be incriminating someone else. That's a very unlikely scenario..I really doubt that she has any criminal exposure. She didn't even write a story on Plame's identity.

    Scooter!!! Ooooh, yer gonna be right on this one, Jeralyn. That crystal ball of yours is working just fine.

    I think Judy might be protecting someone higher up. While embedded in Iraq in her quest for WDM, she continually threated to contact DoD and/or Rumsfield when she wasn't getting her way. Where was Rummy on July 8th, and was he the government official she met with on the day in question?

    Re: Judith Miller: Why is She Protecting Lewis Li (none / 0) (#11)
    by DonS on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:18 PM EST
    TL, re 5th "she would have to testify or be held in civil contempt. She's already in civil contempt." Should read criminal in first instance no doubt. "That's a very unlikely scenario..I really doubt that she has any criminal exposure. She didn't even write a story on Plame's identity." This is true, but Ms. Miller may have been involved up to her eyeballs in activity and information which link her to possible criminal activity regardless. Its hard to imagine that this most loathesome of "reporters", a WH propagandists without peer, would suddenly become a paragon of journalistic virtue -- despite the NYT assuring us that is the case -- and choose to take months in prison. One thing seems certain; if the political higher ups start taking criminal hits for their activity, they will not go out of the way to spare her . . . unless . . . her role is very central.

    Just in case anyone's interested, you can find a good history of Miller's reporting style here.