October 15, 2005
'NY Times' Publishes Devastating Judith Miller Article: Raising Serious Questions While Revealing Newsroom Controversy (Greg Mtichell, October 15, 2005, Editor & Publisher)
Shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, The New York Times delivered its long-promised article probing Judith Miller's involvement in the Plame case. It reveals many devastating new details about her experience -- and dissent within the newspaper about her role and the way the Times handled her case.
Among other things, the 5,800-word article discloses that in the same notebook that Miller belatedly turned over to the federal prosecutor last month, chronicling her July 8, 2003, interview with I. Lewis Libby, she wrote the name "Valerie Flame." She surely meant Valerie Plame, but when she testified for a second time in the case this week, she could not recall who mentioned that name to her, the Times said. She said she "didn't think" she heard it from Libby, a longtime friend and source.
The Times' article is accompanied by Miller's own first-person account of her grand jury testimony. In it, among other things, she admits that the federal prosecutor "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."
In this memoir, Miller claims that she simply "could not recall" where the "Valerie Flame" notation came from, "when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled."
But her notes from her earlier talk with Libby, on June 23, 2003 -- belatedly turned over to the prosecutor last week --also "leave open the possibility" that Libby told her that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, though perhaps not using the name "Plame."
My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room (JUDITH MILLER, 10/16/05, NY Times)
In July 2003, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, created a firestorm by publishing an essay in The New York Times that accused the Bush administration of using faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. The administration, he charged, ignored findings of a secret mission he had undertaken for the Central Intelligence Agency - findings, he said, that undermined claims that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear bomb.
It was the first time Mr. Wilson had gone public with his criticisms of the White House. Yet he had already become a focus of significant scrutiny at the highest levels of the Bush administration.
Almost two weeks earlier, in an interview with me on June 23, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, discussed Mr. Wilson's activities and placed blame for intelligence failures on the C.I.A. In later conversations with me, on July 8 and July 12, Mr. Libby, who is Mr. Cheney's top aide, played down the importance of Mr. Wilson's mission and questioned his performance.
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.
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 in a syndicated column published on July 14, 2003. (Mr. Novak used her maiden name, Valerie Plame.)
This is what I told a federal grand jury and the special counsel investigating whether administration officials committed a crime by leaking Ms. Plame's identity and the nature of her job to reporters. [...]
As I told the grand jury, I recalled Mr. Libby's frustration and anger about what he called "selective leaking" by the C.I.A. and other agencies to distance themselves from what he recalled as their unequivocal prewar intelligence assessments. The selective leaks trying to shift blame to the White House, he told me, were part of a "perverted war" over the war in Iraq.
And so, we're still left where we were when the story first broke in July 2003: the White House wanted people to know that Joe Wilson was a mere tool of their enemies in the CIA but no crime was likely committed. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 15, 2005 8:34 PM