Sunday, October 16, 2005

More on the Judith Miller Case

Some side-notes to the post below-

1. Judith Miller hires Robert Bennett.  The NY Times reports here that "Ms. Miller recalled Mr. Bennett saying while he signed on to her case: 'I don't want to represent a principle. I want to represent Judy Miller.'"  -  Is this a situation that the party needed private representation above and beyond the company lawyer?  Clearly Floyd Abrams is the "name" on First Amendment issues. 

2. Why are there so many misunderstandings?

       A. Judith Miller admits according to the NY Times that "W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong." (Id.)

       B. According to the NY Times article, Ms. Miller "'made a strong recommendation to my editor'  that an article be pursued. 'I was told no,' she said. She would not identify the editor."  But the NY Times story in the next sentence says that "Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation." (Id.)

        C. According to the NY Times, after an article in the Washington Post about two officials in Washington releasing the name of Valerie Plame, "Ms. Abramson's successor as Washington bureau chief, asked Ms. Miller and other Times reporters whether they were among the six. Ms. Miller denied it." Did she not recall her conversations with Libby? Did she not consider herself part of the six, and if so, why not?

        D. She thought that Libby did not want her to testify, but Libby's attorney calls this according to the NY Times - "Outrageous." (Id.) It is apparent from this news report that Libby wanted her to testify. Instead she does 85 days later in jail. Is this a misunderstanding?  Is this a book in the making?  Do you really want to read this one?

3. Judith Miller in her article describing her testimony before the grand jury here states that "During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment 'embedded' with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons."  Does it seem rather odd for the Pentagon to be given a clearance to a newspaper person? Should a newspaper person be accepting such clearance?  On one hand they can't report on it and on the other hand do they have a fiduciary duty to their paper and the public to report news?   If she had security clearance will this preclude a charge against Libby as he might have thought he was discussing confidential information with someone who had clearance? 

4.  And yes, Miller and Libby just happen to meet at a rodeo in Jackson Hole, Wyo. after a conference she attended in Aspen, Colorado - which by the way was on National Security. (Mapquest shows the distance from these two cities to be - 590.96 miles - not that this means anything). But I still don't understand Libby's reference in his letter to Miller that

"'Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning,' Mr. Libby wrote. 'They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.'" 

Was her answer to Fitzgerald's question sufficient?  It seems likely he was looking for a secret code that might allow for an obstruction of justice charge against Libby.  Did Fitzgerald stop with the response reported by Judith Miller in her artticle, or did he ask some additional questions?  Blogsphere offers a good bit here and here on this line in the letter.

Miller was not able to take notes in the grand jury room so obviously she can't be expected to remember everything.  But I keep wondering  - what about the material not in her story about her grand jury testimony.   She was there for four hours - there must be more.  Are we getting the full story here?  And did any of the grand jurors ask questions, and what questions did they ask? And don't tell me I have to wait for the movie to come out.

I keep coming back to the place I started - - The bottom line is that someone leaked the name of a CIA agent.  That's serious and that's a problem. 


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