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Judy Miller and Her June Notes

I like Jane Hamsher's and Empty Wheels' latest theories on RoveGate, as summed up by Mark Klieman at HuffPo, who says, and I agree, they would make a great legal novel, but I see one problem with calling Judith Miller's notes "missing" or "suddenly discovered" or concluding that Miller hid them and may be facing a perjury charge.

Go back to her subpoena. It only asked for notes and documents from July 6 to July 13. It didn't ask for notes from June 2003. From the Court of Appeals decision:

... 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.”

When Fitzgerald agreed to limit Miller's testimony to conversations with Libby about Plame, Miller turned over the notes from the requested time period, redacted to reflect only such conversations.

Adam Liptak reported in the Times:

"The second factor in Ms. Miller's decision to go before the grand jury was a change in the position of the special prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald, concerning the scope of the questions she would be asked, according to Mr. Abrams. Mr. Fitzgerald only recently agreed to confine his questions to Ms. Miller's conversations with Mr. Libby concerning the identification of Ms. Wilson, Mr. Abrams said."

Also, Abrams said the notes she turned over "were redacted to omit everything but the notes taken concerning discussions with Libby about Plame."

If Fitz asked her at the grand jury about June conversations --or whether she had notes from that time period, she naturally either would have said "yes, but I didn't bring them because they were outside the time period of the subpoena, but I'll check with my lawyer about giving them to you" or "I don't know, I'll have to check. I only looked for notes from July."

I don't see anything from which to conclude she hid the notes and is now in trouble or facing a perjury charge. To the contrary, I think Miller is cooperating with Fitzgerald now. She is not going back to jail period. It's interesting because how many times did we hear her say she was going to jail because she didn't want to go down the Matt Cooper road where she'd testify about one thing or person and then Fitz would come back and ask for more and it would never end. Well, here Fitz is, coming back for more - now he wants info about June, not just July. How does she know Fitz will stop here? Why wouldn't he want info about any conversations she had with Libby from March, 2003, when Wilson alleged there was a high-level Cheney staff meeting about Joseph Wilson? Or from January, February or March, 2002 next, when Vince Cannistraro, former CIA Head of Operations, testified at a Demoratic Policy Committee hearing that Libby and Cheney met with CIA analysts about the CIA's not backing the Administration's theory about Iraq and WMD's?

I think the one thing that is clear is the Judith Miller has decided she's not going back to jail for anyone.

Update: More on this from Editor and Publisher.

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  • Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    The real issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war, and how America was misled into that war.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    linky things wonky.... ex: kleiman -> yahoo not huffpo go intarwebs!

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    Thanks, I fixed the links. Sorry about that.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#4)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    I guess jail is good for something.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#5)
    by Patriot Daily on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    Am really intrigued by Jane's theory, but you raise a good point about the subpoena. Question though is does the subpoena govern all aspects of Miller's testimony before grand jury? Prior to testifying, Miller worked out deal with Fitzgerald, whereby he made concessions apparently about the scope of questions in terms of sources. Do not the terms of this deal supercede the subpoena? Could another part of the Fitzgerald/Miller deal have addressed the issue of what notes he wanted? Could he have asked in this deal for all notes regarding her conversations with Libby on the Plame matter regardless of time period?

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    I don't see anything from which to conclude she hid the notes and is now in trouble or facing a perjury charge. Says Kleiman: 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.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    I don't think she testified falsely. I doubt she had even reviewed her June conversations with Libby. She would have been focused on the week in July specified by the subpoena. She might have said she didn't remember, she'd check her notes. But Bennett would have prepped her as to what she could be asked - and I think she would have gone out in the hall to discuss any questions about June conversations with him. My bet is after conferring with Bennett, she told Fitzgerald she may have talked to Libby in June and she'd look for notes to refresh her memory, and if there were notes, she'd turn them over. She turned them over Friday. If the notes would have incriminated her on a perjury charge, I think she would have taken the 5th at that point, not turned the notes over.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:50 PM EST
    Judith Miller is PROTECTING TRAITORS. I'm sure her supoena limits are a real important issue legally, but her moral limits are quite a bit more her obvious problem. She should be deported.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    If Fitz asked her at the grand jury about June conversations --or whether she had notes from that time period, she naturally either would have said "yes, but I didn't bring them because they were outside the time period of the subpoena, but I'll check with my lawyer about giving them to you" or "I don't know, I'll have to check. I only looked for notes from June." I think the speculation is that rather than asking her about earlier conversations directly, Fitz held his knowledge in reserve until she had in some way positively affirmed that nothing of relevance had taken place before the dates in the subpoena. At which point the perjury trap was sprung, which became leverage for prying out the newly "discovered" notes and much else besides, goddess willing. I don't know but whether your account better meets the occam's razor test, but I believe there's a confusion here about whether the notes are supposed to be the source of the perjury leverage or the fruits of it. As I understand it, it's a little ambiguous, but more the latter than the former. And here I thought I was understanding it all so well up to now....

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    Two points. I think it highly likely the excluded testimony concerns the second half of the subpoena--information relating to Iraqi acquision of uranium. Which really was a big concession on Fitz' part, since the appeals judges had alrady said he was entitled to that information. Second, I'm curious why Judy would just be meeting with Fitz on Tuesday, rather than testifying about these new documents.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    Empty-- Judy's meeting w/Fitz rather than testifying because she's all about being "On the bus" now. Meaning, once she's decided to cooperate w/Fitz to avoid prison she's not going to be holding anything back and not going to require Fitz to jump through any big hoops to get what he needs from her, I don't care what she says publicly to the contrary. She's "one of them" now and whatever they need, she'll give. Her recent public statements: that she got Fitz to limit his inquiries were just "face-saving" for her; they were a way, albeit weak, to explain her changed position on testifying to the public without admitting that in fact, nothing at all had really changed except her desire to get out of jail. Remember, she can always exceed her own self-imposed limitations on her cooperation, and she will, IMHO because Fitz is holding over her head her own potential criminal liability as a co-conspirator. If she permits them to debrief her about more than what she has publicly said she would talk about, in order to comply with a deal w/Fitz not to indict her as a co-conspirator, how would we know now? Why would anyone believe her statements that she is limiting her cooperation? I think that's just a PR strategy.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    I don't buy this explanation at all. Miller has been sitting in jail for about three months, and she doesn't have every event related to Wilson at the forefront of her mind? If she wanted to be cooperative when she got out, she could have easily mentioned every meeting *with Libby* that involved a discussion of Wilson, and it's pretty hard to imagine being in her position and not happening to remember meetings in June. It may not have been a perjury trap, but she was certainly not helping Fitzgerald out, either. How he caught her is unclear, sure, but that he caught her is almost assured.

    Re: Judy Miller and Her June Notes (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:53 PM EST
    Libby 'forgot' about Miller in June and now is in deep doodoo. Oh those Aspens..all turning about now but now quite the color Libby had in mind.
    “In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative’s name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame.”
    think progress via atrios