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October 15, 2005

Judy Miller - Obstruction of Justice

-- by Dave Johnson

Judy Miller talks about what she told the grand jury investigating the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, covert CIA agent: My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room - New York Times. (See also The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal).

She is clearly describing (herself) obstructing justice, but in a way that will be hard to prove. Where there are notes that show she discussed the agent with Libby, she gives other reasons those notes might be there or "can't recall" why they are there. Where there are no notes it's "can't recall" and no useful information.

My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A.

Note the use of the word "may." He "may" have told me is not useful in trial testimony.

My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr. Wilson's wife by name. Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a covert agent or "operative," as the conservative columnist Robert D. Novak first described her...
But elsewhere she says,
On one page of my interview notes, for example, I wrote the name "Valerie Flame." Yet, as I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from, when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled.
Could not recall. Right. Later,
Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.
Could not recall. And again,
Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.
Could not recall. And another example of covering for Libby here:
Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believed so, but could not be sure.
In other words, in case another witness said so, better say something vague but not provable. Nothing, however, that could be used as trial testimony.

Another point, where notes of a conversation with Libby identify Wilson's wife:

I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I was not sure whether Mr. Libby had used this name or whether I just made a mistake in writing it on my own. Another possibility, I said, is that I gave Mr. Libby the wrong name on purpose to see whether he would correct me and confirm her identity.

I also told the grand jury I thought it was odd that I had written "Wilson" because my memory is that I had heard her referred to only as Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether this suggested that Mr. Libby had given me the name Wilson. I told him I didn't know and didn't want to guess.

This is a person being evasive to a grand jury, and providing cover stories for a person she obviously knows committed a crime. She is committing the crime of obstructing justice, but has been carefully coached on how to avoid indictment herself.

Also see eRiposte and Steve at Left Coaster.

TalkLeft:

Does Judith Miller have too many convenient lapses of memory for us to believe her, even though Fitzgerald is giving her a pass? For anyone who still thinks she is going to be indicted, please understand that her lawyers would have carefully vetted this article before they allowed her to send it in to the Times. If Miller was in jeopardy from Fitzgerald, there would have been no article.
Firedoglake will have more later. Arianna on "can't recall",
This is as believable as Woodward and Bernstein not recalling who Deep Throat was…
Political Animal, AMERICAblog,
So President Bush ordered the White House staff to cooperate fully, tell everything they knew, and waive any reporter privileges they had. Scooter Libby turned around and behind the President's back told Judy Miller, ignore the president and don't accept my waiver.
BuzzFlash:
Bill Keller's "Ace Reporter," Judith Miller, Claims She Can't Remember Who Told Her the Name of a CIA Operative. That's Some "Ace Reporter."
Brad DeLong,
If Cheney and Bush had been taking care that the laws be faithfully executed, they would have told Libby to turn himself in more than two years ago. They didn't.
James Wolcott,
The Publisher and Editor of the New York Times: Guilty of negligence.
Think Progress,
For two pieces that comprise over 8700 words, there isn’t much useful information conveyed.
The Moderate Voice,
It is certainly QUITE unusual for a journalist to forget who gave them a KEY part of info in a major story — let alone one that has legal implications.
The Next Hurrah,
Okay, having read through everything a few times, I see nothing that makes me trust the NY Times, Keller, Abramson or Miller more now than a few hours ago before this went on-line. What am I missing? Does the coverage of this entire story suddenly get substantially better? Prove it.
Buzzmachine,
She blames her sources for getting WMDs wrong, Libby for going to jail, and her editors — who stood by her at cost to them — for her unheroic welcome. In a phrase: what a case she is.
All Spin Zone connects dots.

Later - Now Firedoglake has,

Come on! You had 85 days to sit on your butt and do nothing but think about this case, and you can't remember who first told you the name of the CIA NOC at the center of this mess? You have to be kidding me if you think any of us are buying that, let alone Patrick Fitzgerald.

I mean, honestly, there are memory lapses. And then there is just plain idiocy and obstruction. I'm voting for the latter.

Posted by Dave Johnson at October 15, 2005 5:10 PM

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Judy Miller - Obstruction of Justice:

» Treasongate: Miller and the NYT Fail to Come Clean from The Left Coaster
In today's articles by the New York Times (Don Van Natta, Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy) and Judith Miller, I was looking for clarity on two crucial aspects of the Valerie Plame case/expose. Will the NYT and Miller... [Read More]

Tracked on October 15, 2005 7:15 PM

» FROTHINGS AND CONCLUSIONS from The Heretik
FROTHINGS AND CONCLUSIONS Judy Martyr Miller was not much of a reporter, but apparently was the secret editor running the sorry New York Times. The Times that stood by her side as she stood in the way of justice [Read More]

Tracked on October 16, 2005 7:53 AM

» Rove grilled on CIA leak conflicts from Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator
The grand jury investigating the CIA leak case pressed White House senior adviser Karl Rove Friday t [Read More]

Tracked on October 16, 2005 5:31 PM

» Treasongate: Miller and the NYT Fail to Come Clean from The Left Coaster
In today's articles by the New York Times (Don Van Natta, Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy) and Judith Miller, I was looking for clarity on two crucial aspects of the Valerie Plame case/expose. Will the NYT and Miller... [Read More]

Tracked on October 17, 2005 6:40 AM

» Treasongate: Miller and the NYT Fail to Come Clean from The Left Coaster
In today's articles by the New York Times (Don Van Natta, Jr., Adam Liptak and Clifford J. Levy) and Judith Miller, I was looking for clarity on two crucial aspects of the Valerie Plame case/expose. Will the NYT and Miller... [Read More]

Tracked on October 17, 2005 7:16 AM

» Treasongate: Miss Run Amok - Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s and Tom Friedman's Idea of a Great Journalist from The Left Coaster
Among Judith Miller's various claims is her astonishing lack of memory on most issues of importance in this investigation. Combine this with her lack of transparency, her recourse to misleading or false statements, her disregard for fellow journalists... [Read More]

Tracked on October 17, 2005 8:44 AM


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