Water Man Spouts

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Judith Miller & the "many dark actors"

{1} "Two days after the hearing, he responded to a New York Times reporter who had e-mailed him offering encouragement. The reporter was Judith Miller. Kelly had been a source for her on WMD issues, and at 11:18 a.m. that Thursday, he sent her an e-mail that cryptically noted that there were ‘many dark actors playing games.’ He then thanked Miller for her support and friendship.

"It was the last e-mail Kelly ever sent." – Hubris; Isikoff & Corn; page 294

{2} "The newspaper that would be most affected by postinvasion reconsiderations was the New York Times, which for a year had resisted looking under the rock of Judith Miller’s coverage. …On the heels of her reckless prewar coverage of Iraqi WMD, Miller had traveled to Iraq and cut a wide swath. Embedding with an Army unit searching for weapons of mass destruction, she filed a series of articles in the spring of 2003 that suggested that large amounts of stockpiles were about to be uncovered. …. More than a half-dozen military officers said that Miller had played an extremely unusual role as an embedded reporter, effectively operating as a middleman between Chalabi’s organization and the Army unit, MET Alpha." – Fiasco; Thomas Ricks; pages 382-383

The Plame scandal is significant not only because of the crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration, but also because it involves the betrayal of the public’s trust by several members of the corporate media. No journalist comes off looking worse than Judith Miller.

There have been numerous discussions of her role in the Plame scandal, and – by no coincidence – other closely related scandals. And her involvement in the grand jury investigation ended up being appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court. Some people attempted to make her seem a noble protector of the 1st amendment; her friend Marie Brenner’s article in Vanity Fair (Lies and Consequences: Sixteen Words That Changed the World) grants poor Judith the status of martyr.

"I am not above the law, and do not view myself as above the law. I am here today because I believe in the rule of law," Judith told the judge who incarcerated her for breaking the law. After several months, St. Judith would write "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room" (10-16-05) for the New York Times. The same day, her co-workers exposed her as a journalist who did not accept supervision from an editor, which raised questions about exactly who Judith really worked for.

Those questions will not be answered when she testifies in the Scooter Libby trial. Rather, Patrick Fitzgerald is focused upon a series of three interactions Judith had with Libby in the summer of 2003, in which Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame, and parts of a classified, then declassified, NIE were discussed.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s position on Judith’s role is best defined by Exhibit B from the 10-30-06 Document 166, Libby’s "Motion In Limine to Exclude Evidence and Argument Concerning Valerie Wilson’s Employment Status and Actual or Potential Damage Caused by Disclosure of That Status." Exhibit B was the 8-27-04 affidavit of Mr. Fitzgerald, that detailed how Miller’s testimony was needed to prove that Libby was purposefully lying to the FBI investigators and grand jury about the timing of his learning of Plame’s identity, and his discussions with journalists – including Miller.

I expect Judith to come across as "wishy-washy" on the witness stand. I do not believe that she wants to help the prosecutor. But I think that she still is angry that Libby allowed her to sit behind bars for an extended period.

There is a footnote on page 28 of Mr. Fitzgerald’s 37-page affidavit that is interesting: "15. If Libby knowingly disclosed information about Plame’s status with the CIA, Libby would appear to have violated Title 18, United States Code, Section 793 if the information is considered ‘information respecting national defense’." It will be interesting to see if Mr. Fitzgerald or Team Libby have any surprises for Judith.


At January 30, 2007 at 11:30 PM, Blogger Ed said...

Hi Waterman....

I meant to comment yesterday after I first read your post....it actually made following this Libby madness easier.

I compliment you on your extraordinary research on the subject and your patience in explaining it to us.

As I understand the proceedings thus far, things are not looking good for the "scooter-man"...Can the Bush administration afford to have its big guns (KKKarl Rove, and Dick Cheney) put up on the stand to give potentially devastating testimony? Will this force Bush into an early pardon?

I'll stay tuned.

hizzhoner...du ewagner

At January 31, 2007 at 8:34 AM, Blogger Patrick O'Waterman said...

I think the trial is displaying the split between the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President that Joseph Wilson wrote about in his book. It will be interesting to see if Karl, Dick, or even Scooter actually testify.


Post a Comment

<< Home