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Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots

It's time to keep our eye on the ball - what is Fitzgerald after? The answer: information about Judith Miller's sources. Arianna writes yet another informative post about Miller, How Deep Do Her Connections Go? Many of Arianna's assertions are confirmed in this June, 2004 New York Magazine article. Arianna, graciously, left out the worst of the dirt.

Coincidentally, I've been working on the same question, trying to cull down the mass of information out there to points I think are significant, using some deductive reasoning and Lexis. I had hoped to avoid the WMD and national security issues, because I don't know that much about them, but I've now decided it's not possible to do that and get anywhere.

So here's my shortened list:

  • Judith Miller's subpoena requested information about Libby. She and the Times have asserted she did not believe his waiver was uncoerced. This has been contradicted by Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, who says he assured reporters that Libby's waiver is valid. Details here
  • Judith Miller's lawyers think Fitzgerald learned Miller had information because someone who testified before the Grand Jury told the Grand Jury she was one of the reporters he had spoken to about Wilson's trip.
  • Judith Miller told Aaron Brown of Newsnight she didn't want to respond to the subpoena because she didn't want to be asked about other sources after she talked about the person named in the subpoena. She didn't want to be in Matthew Cooper's situation:

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 question here is what kind of information did Judith Miller have that she's protecting by going to jail? I keep coming back to either a classified document or an oral report with classified information she received from an Administration official, probably someone in the Pentagon or a national security official, or someone in Cheney or Rice's office.

The possibilities:

  • Cheney's staff or someone in the White House Iraq Group. Is it John Hannah, whom UPI reporter Richard Sale identified as being under Fitzgerald's microscope?
  • Deputy National Security adviser Stephen Hadley
  • National Security Council official Robert Joseph
  • Someone in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, headed by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti
  • Someone on the Defense Policy Board, chaired by Richard Perle and whose membership included James Woolsey and Newt Gingrich.

Who am I leaving out? No matter where I start, I always end up at the same place: with Cheney and Libby's visits to CIA headquarters to strongarm the analysts into finding information to support the Administration's position there were WMD's in Iraq. That's what led to the CIA's decision to send Wilson to Iraq. And when he didn't, it led to the Administration's attempt to discredit the CIA - and Wilson, by extension.

< Fitzgerald Knew It Was Rove All Along | RoveGate: Where Does Condi Rice Fit In >
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  • Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    It could always be one of the principles, Rummy, Dick or George.

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    We know that Novak was warned by the CAI itself -- in the strongest terms -- not to expose Valerie Wilson as a CIA employee. Is it possible that while working on her story, Miller called CIA to verify her employment, was warned off, and decided not to publish (or her editors decided for her)? That would explain why she never published a story, and also how Fitzgerald would have known she was working on a story -- because her call to CIA would have tipped them off, and they then passed info about that call onto Fitzgerald. All speculation, but it adds up, no?

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#3)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    From the post:
    “That's what led to the CIA's decision to send Wilson to Iraq.”
    Not exactly. The visit may have led them to send someone, but we know, if we can believe Wilson, that he wasn’t picked by the VP. So the question remains, how and why did the CIA send a non-agent to do an agent’s job? Given Wilson’s wife’s role, the ugly specter of political payback for all those “withering” questions starts to raise its head. They didn’t think Wilson would lie, but they knew his bias would make him demand proof written, if not in blood, in indelible ink. The question of who Miller is protecting is interesting. This exchange is from AIM,since I do not subscribe to TIME, and can’t get into the archives of either Time or Meet the press.
    Cooper says that "on background, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger. Libby replied, 'Yeah, I've heard that too,' or words to that effect." On ..Meet the Press, .. Russert asked Cooper, "Did you interpret that as a confirmation?" Cooper replied, "I did, yeah."…………… Russert went on to say to Cooper: "Did Mr. Libby say at any time that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA." Cooper replied, "No he didn't say that." "But you said it to him," Russert said. Cooper: "I said that she was involved in sending him. Yeah." Russert asked, "And that she worked for the CIA?" Cooper: "I believe so." So here we have it from Cooper's mouth that he volunteered the information about Valerie Plame to Libby But how did he report it? Cooper's piece in Time magazine claimed that "some government officials have noted to Time in interviews…that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
    Note that the last sentence is misleading. Libby confirmed that he had heard, he didn’t “note.” Vast difference. And why make it? Answer: Cooper must have not wanted to say that he brought the subject up to Libby. I don’t have a timeline, but was the Cooper-Libby meeting/conversation before he spoke with Rove? If so it proves that Plame's identity was out in the open, and it brings up the possibility that Miller's sources may have been within the CIA, or Cooper himself. Who may, or may not have, revealed Plame to Miller, or may have revealed his sources. Could it be that Cooper perjured himself and that Miller knows that if she speaks, Cooper will go to jail along with their mutual source?

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#4)
    by theologicus on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    Who am I leaving out? David Wurmser?

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    I think the question here is what kind of information did Judith Miller have that she's protecting by going to jail? I keep coming back to either a classified document or an oral report with classified information she received from an Administration official This is THE fifth amendment jackpot question. I wonder who among her contacts in State could have maybe given her a copy of the secret Plame Memo, although I suppose telling her about it would be just as much of a problem for her if she conspired to disseminate it further.

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:44 PM EST
    Jim: "Note that the last sentence is misleading. Libby confirmed that he had heard, he didn’t “note.” Vast difference." Too bad for Libby that even this 'confirming' is ILLEGAL reference to a classified topic. Your attempts to flog the DISPROVEN claims about the Wilsons just shows how desperate your side is to hide from the consequences of substantive crimes. Ques: When are national security breaches for political payback equivalent to oral sex? Ans: When they are confirmed.

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#7)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    PIL - And Cooper's question shows that her CIA employment was widely known. And that takes it out of a criminal area. But the real question is, who told Cooper? Remember. This meeting was before his telcon with Rove. I think. Does anyone have the dates?

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    "If somebody broke the law to get back at Mr. Wilson, every eyewitness should come forward to testify," Fitzgerald told Hogan. "The grand jury wants to know the truth. We are having the whole thing derailed by one person." Do you have any doubt Judith Miller is an eyewitness to a potential crime? Do you have any doubt the special prosecutor and Judge Hogan have information that leads them to believe it is highly likely a crime was committed? I will hazard a guess it was Judith Miller's source who first disclosed classified information and Ms. Miller's testimony is what the prosecutor needs to indict a senior white house official. Have no doubt the special prosecutor will coerce Ms Miller to testify with incarceration through October, and if that fails, bring charges of criminal contempt against Ms Miller. What other interest - besides her journalistic integrity, pledge of confidentiality and the identity of her source - does Ms Miller serve by her silence and civil contempt?

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#9)
    by Fredo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    Plame's former boss says her work at CIA was common knowledge among friends and neighbors. Andrea Mitchell says Plame's employment was widely known in Washington. Judy Miller did extensive reporting in the field in which Plame worked, i.e. WMD. Any doubt Miller knew Plame worked there? Anyone to whom she mentioned that fact would have no reason to suspect that her employment there was classified information, unless she mentioned that Plame was covert--which Miller herself may not even have known. Thousands of people are employed at the CIA, and their employment there is not classified. Why should Libby or Rove think they were being given classified info by Miller? For eithr of them to say, "yeah, I've heard that" in response to a reporter's question is simply not a crime, despite the fervent prayers emanating from the fever swamps. Miller's source about Plame's involvement in the decision to send Wilson to Africa (not to Iraq) could have come from anyone who had seen the memo, or from someone in the CIA.

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    I believe that Judith Miller, whatever her previous sins were on reporting of WMD, did the only thing she can be reasonably be expected to do. She kept her word, protected her source and her newspaper. For that she is being demonized. I believe she has conducted herself in an ethical manner.

    Re: Back to Connecting Judith Miller Dots (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Was the Walter Pincus Article of July 6, 2005 a hint as to who talked with him July 12th, 2003? This was at the time of the Air Force one trip to Africa. Condi had given her July 11, 2003 press gaggle...she was also (obviously) pressing reporters to inquire about the Wilson trip. We also know she was faxed a briefing book while on the trip to Africa for talking points on her return. And we also have a hint that Tenet fell on the sword for her mistake of the 16 words in the SOTU. See the boldened words in the quoted paragraph from the Pincus article July 6,2005:
    On July 12, 2003, an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t write about that information at that time because I did not believe it true that she had arranged his Niger trip. But I did disclose it in an October 12, 2003 story in The Washington Post. By that time there was a Justice Department criminal investigation into a leak to columnist Robert Novak who published it on July 14, 2003 and identified Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. Under certain circumstances a government official’s disclosure of her name could be a violation of federal law. The call with me had taken place two days before Novak’s column appeared. I wrote my October story because I did not think the person who spoke to me was committing a criminal act, but only practicing damage control by trying to get me to stop writing about Wilson. Because of that article, The Washington Post and I received subpoenas last summer from Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor looking into the Plame leak. Fitzgerald wanted to find out the identity of my source.
    I refused. My position was that until my source came forward publicly or to the prosecutor, I would not discuss the matter. It turned out that my source, whom I still cannot identify publicly, had in fact disclosed to the prosecutor that he was my source, and he talked to the prosecutor about our conversation. (In writing this story, I am using the masculine pronoun simply for convenience). My attorney discussed the matter with his attorney, and we confirmed that he had no problem with my testifying about our conversation.