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October 09, 2005

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» Treasongate: Lewis Libby and Judith Miller from The Left Coaster
This weekend I decided to shift my sights back to Treasongate (from Miersmania) and I was sifting through some of the news from last week relating to Judith Miller and Lewis Libby's testimony. I discovered something that struck me as... [Read More]

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I don't know how these things work. Are you suggesting that there is a draft of an article that Miller wrote that the NYtimes ought to cough up?

The way I see it, Marky, is that she didn't need to see Libby to write the article which was published (a rehash or previous material), so Judy's notes on that meeting are a part of the 'story' which was never published. It doesn't matter if there is another story written for publication or not.

Judy is such a durable heavy. All these mysterious 'liaisons'. Talk about the 'Banality of Evil'! It's like Dallas!

Carryover questions from the last few threads:

Is perjury really enough to break Judy? If she really is the girl with her finger in the dike, and capable of implicating many Admin people even if she flipped on narrow grounds rather than telling all -- in short, if she is that thoroughly tied-in to the neocons -- then one, wouldn't she be implicating people who could possibly implicate her back on other serious counts, and two, wouldn't she be important enough to the neocons that they would provide for her, to ensure that she won't flip on them over minor charges? She's apparently near-dead as a journalist anyway, a fact she may or may not realize. But if what she knows is so important to Fitz AND to men like Cheney and Rove, how is it that Fitz can put together the more compelling collection of carrots and sticks? Particularly when Bush would have a pardon up his sleeve were Judy to decide to suffer the indignity of a perjury conviction.

However, events surrounding this new set of notes do seem to look like she's giving up something. Is it just stuff Fitz knows and needs confirmed, or is it extra to buy her way out of charges?

Separately, how again did Fitzgerald get assigned to this case? It looks like even an honest lesser lawyer would have bungled it long ago, much less a lawyer who wasn't really all that motivated to win. It seems that in Fitz, our side got some unearned grace.

Texas Dem, a few thoughts to your questions:

how is it that Fitz can put together the more compelling collection of carrots and sticks?

Fitz can, and already has, thrown her ass in jail. That's a nasty, nasty stick to which no carrot can compare. One that she obviously wants no part of anymore. Dick, Karl & Scooter - they were the cool guys in high school after that big disaster that made us all afraid, because they talked really tough and had more money than everyone else. But now Judy thinks that they just seem kinda mean and... she just feels a little like they were just using her because she was on yearbook.


wouldn't she be implicating people who could possibly implicate her back on other serious counts,

I think we need to remember that she's a reporter and not a government official. Reporting or publishing fraudelent information about weapons of mass destruction isn't a crime. Stupid and mendacious, yes. But criminal, I don't think so. At this point - I could be way off on this - it would seem that perjury, and maybe conspiracy, is all they could tag her with. Which is still plenty, but Fitzgerald seems to be out for bigger fish. The consensus right now is that the most likely charges again Scooter and Karl would be conspiracy to leak information crucial to the national defense under the Espionage Act. Since she's not a government official, I'm not sure if she would qualify. I would imagine she could be part of the overall conspiracy. But since she didn't actually have a hand in publicizing Plame's name like novak and Cooper did, she'd seem to have a little bit of daylight there.

two, wouldn't she be important enough to the neocons that they would provide for her, to ensure that she won't flip on them over minor charges?

I think Judy served a useful purpose, and that was that. If they could use her again, great. If not, whatever. But yeah, you make an important point. Since they had to let her peak inside the kimono in order to get her to write the kind of stories they wanted her to write, she evidently does know more than is comfortable. EW and reddhedd at Firedoglake have done outstanding work in putting Libby's letter in context, showing exactly how he signaled to her that it would be OK for her to talk about the July conversations, but nothing more. Obviously they can't make her any overt promises right now. But there were reports of a million-dollar book deal floating around last week. Wonder what major America corporation, and major republican donor, of course, would be behind such a deal...

how again did Fitzgerald get assigned to this case?

Fitzgerald got put on the case by his good buddy James Comey (number 2 at DOJ in 2003/2004), who I believe he went to college and/or law school with. (with which he went...)Fitz has been prosecuting mob guys and corrupt politicians for many moons. One has to wonder at this point exactly what kind of relationship Comey had with Ashcroft.

One more thing. Billmon points out one more Judy scenario that's been floated before, but bears repeating

I've said it before but I'll say it again: If Miller revealed Plame's affiliation with the CIA to Libby, she deserves to be in jail -- for conspiracy, at the very least. If Plame was a source of Miller's, and she burned her to Libby (or anybody else in the White House snake pit) then Judy deserves to be executed, as slowly and painfully as possible.


http://billmon.org/archives/002242.html

I'm with Billmon. It appears that Hadley, Rove and Libby could have gotten Plame's name and status from any number of inside government sources. But it's not out of the question that they might have heard it from Miller. Lovely bunch of people.

Even if the NYT becomes the owners of Judy's notes under work-for-hire doctrine, they are free to assign that property to Judy. If it's their policy to make such assignments, they wouldn't have to make an explicit assignment either. So it's certainly not that weird that Time, which keeps a property interest in their reporters' notes, could be in a different situation, subpoena-wise, than the NYT.

That said, the NYT is clearly not telling the public something(s). They better not be holding out on the grand jury, too.

I don't know, dj, I suspect Fitz would at least challenge that in court. It's not settled in the law, and after all the whole subpoena journalist thing was a bit of a challenge to existing case law.

bling, I actually think the reason espionage got raised in the NYT article the other day is because Fitz may use it on Judy. The espionage law is not limited to those with security clearances (as the IIPA is). Now, if Judy just published classified information--that she had no way of knowing was classified--then she's in the clear. But what if she knew it was classified, and what if she did spread that information to multiple people? Just imagine if (I don't think this is the scenario, actually, but just for shits and giggles) Judy was giving copies of the INR memo to people, complete with its first paragraph marked [S]. I think in that scenario her journalistic protections would melt away. That's what I think Fitz has over Judy's head.

marky

I suggesting one of the following is possible.

  • The meeting really was, entirely, about Wilson but referred extensively to the earlier plot. NYT was trying to hide that aspect of the plot. So they lied and said it was about WMD (even if that put them at some exposure given their earlier stances)
  • Or, the meeting was about WMDs, as NYT says, but they want to hide the content of that meeting (say, if Judy was talking about the Niger forgery plot) because it is embarrassing to them.

And here's a really basic question. If Jill Abramson is so positive this meeting was about WMD, then how does she know? She did not live in the same city as Judy when this occurred in July 2003. Now, it is perfectly within Judy's MO to not even tell her editor she was coming to town, to DC. That was her practice, not an exception. But at some point, Judy would have had to tell Jill Abramson that the meeting was about WMDs. And that conversation would be the equivalent of Cooper's emails to Time, subpoena-able evidence.

As to who has the most carrots and sticks...

I know I'm inching into tin-foil-hattery here, but having read some of the web pages put up by persons who don't believe David Kelly committed suicide, I think there is a remote possibility that the neocons could have a stick that Fitz doesn't have. There are aspects of witness' testimony about Kelly's death that were ignored by Hutton that should have been explained, at the least. Recall that Kelly was caught talking, and just before his death sent an email about his fear of "dark forces" to...Judy!

Not saying that our government murders inconvenient citizens (though I wouldn't put it past this crowd), but among the neocons are former military intelligence and CIA operatives who may very well be skilled in black ops. If the whole enterprise might go down based on Judy's testimony, who's to say they wouldn't put those skills to use? Certainly they're not concerned about tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq. What's one more civilian sacrificed for the cause?

EW, I don't believe Judy is poised to bring down the whole cabal. I think her access would be compartmentalized. Shadowy co-conspirators hunker down and wait out this inconvenient period, reconvening over time to plot their next misadventure. I tend to believe that Bush/Cheney are not the major players; even if they're taken down, there remains the man behind the curtain.

Curious, the "dark forces"... Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition has long written about the commingling of the military industrial complex with various Occult studies. Fascinating, I think. "Dark forces" seem to prevalent throughout history, really.

It is true that there was a June push to bolster the administration's cred, as Sanger notes in a June 8th piece, dateline Washington: "The comments today by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, were part of a coordinated effort by the White House to quell questions about whether they had exaggerated the threat posed by Mr. Hussein. But the arguments that they put forward varied somewhat from the explanations that senior officials offered to reporters a few weeks ago and appeared to open the possibility that, in the end, American forces might find that Mr. Hussein had several development programs under way, but few or no weapons ready for use."

If we're talking June, then we also have to remember that less than two weeks later there was also a let's attack Iran strategy.

The Times has run an editorial the previous week (6/14) supporting reformists: "Reformist politicians seek wider powers for the elected Parliament. Washington, now a military force in the region with troops in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, demands an end to Tehran's nuclear weapons development and support for terrorism."

Then Bush gave a June 19 speech rattling sabres about Iran's nucular ambitions.

Safliar June 19, 2003, dateline Washington: Fortunately, engagement advocates have become an endangered species even at the State Department. Colin Powell is on board, and President Bush's message to "those courageous souls who speak out for freedom in Iran" hit the right note: "America stands squarely by their side, and I would urge the Iranian administration to treat them with the utmost of respect."

It sounds like State and the National Security Advisor were in charge of defending SOTU. Meanwhile, Libby, the VP and the Neo-Cons were advocating a "strong offense" and looking ahead to Iran.

Another thing I noticed doing a Lexus search to figure out what the NYT Washington bureau was doing in June 2003 was an article on Feith giving a speech. The article mentioned that cabinet officials were offended by the speech, and the general tone was condescending. As I was driving back home, I wondered whether someone like Powell or Hadley decided to give up Feith as a scapegoat, and started feeding info to their docile pal at the Times about OSP. Alternatively, Feith's defense of OSP was part of a NeoCon strategy to avoid being blamed or scapegoated for the SOTU, and the Miller thing was a part. Remember that in July someone else fingered Hadley as having messed up the vetting of the SOTU and he had to make a public apology. I had thought that was part of the CIA/WH conflict, but it may have been an earlier VP&OSP/STATE conflict.

If I remember Libby letter correctly, it discussed Judy Miller coming back to work to report of biological threats AND Iran's nuclear program.

Low and behold, what were two of the most reported stories this week?

The threat of a flu epidemic and Mohammed El-Baradei wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Interesting confluence of events...Maybe Libby was simply giving Miller the gameplan for the 06 midterms!!!

The plot thickens...

I kind of think the most salacious point of the original post has gotten a little lost here in Los Comments, and I would like to re-visit it, because I love salacious.

The NYT may be in some serious trouble itself, because Jill and Bill (Keller) know damn good and well what Judy was working on, but didn't get published. (OK, the passive voice is wrong; they spiked the assignment). I think the story was probably based on what we now know to be Judy's June, 2003, conversation with Libby.

I think Jill & Bill may be involved in obstruction, and that's why they've adopted such absurd postures in stonewalling about whether Judy was working on a Wilson-related article in late June/early July.

Even Jill & Bill & Pinch could wind up as at least unindicted co-conspirators, and the damage that would do to Pinch's reign at the Times would be exactly what they all fucking deserve.

I'm gettin' happy feet!

Even Jill & Bill & Pinch could wind up as at least unindicted co-conspirators...

Nah. If they conspired, they conspired among themselves, and for different reasons than the White House conspirators. That makes it a separate conspiracy.

> One has to wonder at this point exactly
> what kind of relationship Comey had with
> Ashcroft.

I am no fan of Ashcroft and his politics. But I don't know anyone in the Midwest (lawyers, politicians, etc) who ever thought he was /corrupt/.

Now, I know he had a serious illness, and perhaps that combined with taking all the legal abuse over Patriot, torture, etc got to him - maybe he really did leave for personal reaons.

But I find it highly suspicious that Ashcroft and Fletcher disappeared at essentially the same moment, clammed up, and have not been seen in public since. I wonder if those two are either heavily involved in TraitorGate or know full well what is coming.

Cranky

who at the NYT decided to publish wilson's oped (and why)? that's one of the things i just can't seem to get to fit..... makes me wonder if i'm not missing something big.

any possilbe explanations from the experts? thx.

I'm pretty sure the reason that Ashcroft left was that he was faced with a no win choice. His own FBI agents were telling him that Rove was lying. So he either took action against Rove or set himself up for obstruction of justice by spiking the FBI. Recusing himself was a convenient out, and then the remaining months were just a winding down for everyone to figure out how to clean up Al Gonzales, both for the torture memos and any advice he would have given the WH on this issue.

Ari was on a phone call with Novak that we haven't heard about in the media, but will eventually. Check the timeline at dkospedia for more.

Emptywheel is spot on about the possibility of an espionage charge certainly being laid on Judy, or possibly conspiracy, or maybe both. That's a lot heaver than perjury.

As for the NYT, Pinch is simply clueless and Bill is trying to keep him that way. But Jill Abramson? C'mon, she can't be that clueless. I think Fitzgerald needs to get her ass hauled before the grand jury this week, too.

If he can lay an actual espionage charge on Judy, and Jill's been sitting on those notes, knowlingly, doesn't that point toward conspiracy on her part?

I agree with Nixon Watch's post. The reason the NYT’s notes (or arguing whether Judy’s notes were work product for NYT) weren't subpoenaed was NYT’s position that "Judy wasn't working on a story for the Times", so they didn't have to turn over notes (editorial meetings), unlike Newsweek. It's apparent that Bill and Pinch were lying and hiding information.

It was the LATimes

That call still bothering me.

Selise wrote: who at the NYT decided to publish wilson's oped ...?

David Shipley (follow link for more details.)

As for WHY, I guess some people at the NYT are actually interested in informing the public.

Great piece of detective work and analysis. Thanks so much!! You are doing the MSM's job for them. Excellent!

pollyusa,

thanks for the reply. it's just that there have been so many important opeds that the nyt has declined to run that i have a hard time believing that shipley (or his boss) are genuinely motivated by a desire to inform the public. it just doesn't seem consistent with history - although i don't know how long shipley has been at his current job, so maybe there is some explanation.

too much tin foil i'm sure - but i can' help wondering if there isn't more to it than that.... it does seem that we are witnessing a split in the elite (i mean both the political elite and the media elite combined) consensus. last time that seriously happened it helped take down a president (nixon), so maybe this is all wishful thinking on my part.

If Judy was working on an article about Wilson, wouldn't she have talked to him? Clearly this didn't happen, as Wilson's reason for writing the op-ed was that he'd heard through a third person that such an article was going to be written. Of course, this goes for any reporter. If Judy was the one, then her purpose would have been to discredit Wilson by claiming that he was not qualified to look into the question of whether or not Iraq had sought uranium from Niger, and that he'd only gotten the job through his wife's efforts. Is there any evidence at all that any of them knew that Plame was undercover, or that they had any idea of the consequences of revealing that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA? I know that this doesn't make any difference legally if they are going to be charged under the Espionage Act. Now that I know that Libby et al. were working on discrediting Wilson for weeks (rather than only for hours after the op-ed was published) I'm wondering how they could have been so stupid as to have missed this.

NHL

That's probably the best explanation of Ashcroft's recusal I've ever heard. Thanks for that.

selise

Don't underestimate teh amount of factionalism at the NYT. Yeah, Pinch and Judy and Jill are the kool kids faction (at least for the next two days). But there are other--respectable--factions.

Just a simple Canadian legal type here but.....

Does anyone think that Fitz is also playing this like a RICO case?....

And if not then why not?....

If RICO was being utilized...Would the NY Times then be considered as part of a criminal enterprise?...

Anybody know the answers for this Curious Canadian?....

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable receiving.
--Albert Einstein

canadian hoser: There was some RICO talk a while back and some significance was attributed to the fact that both Bush's & Cheney's personal lawyers are "RICO lawyers". However, this weekend, (at www.firedoglake.blogspot.com), former prosecutor Reddhedd was saying that RICO is becoming an increasingly unpopular tactic because it's so complex, thus making it harder to make the case to the jury. That's my completely uneducated parrotting back of what I've read. Search for "reddhedd RICO" to get the full story.

DJ Moonbat: you're right, under most scenarios, it would be a separate conspiracy from the presumed Rove/Libby/et al., conspiracy; then again, that's what I meant, but in my giddiness, I failed to state that I think any Pinch/Jill/Bill complicity is in their dealings with Judy.

I believe the discovery and rendering of notes about a Judy-Scooter meeting in late June, WITHIN 48 HOURS of Judy finishing before the grand jury scream that Dear Judy is almost undoubtedly looking at criminal charges, perhaps perjury, though more likely obstruction.

I'm suggesting Pinch/Jill/Bill conspired, if not overtly supported, Judy's obstruction.

Of course, if Judy's looking at espionage charges, then Pinch/Jill/Bill are looking like, at minimum, conspirators, if not overt actors in support of a criminal plan.

Am I getting too far out? Quite possibly, of course. Then again, Fitz does have that old beef with Judy's probable sabotage of his Islamic charity-terrorist investigation. Hence, Judy could really be in trouble, and the NYT senior team would be getting off easy to be only co-conspirators unindicted because the prosecutor has a very full plate.

(Thanks for the support, Leslee Hippert).

I'm still trying to find the Nixon angle in this, but, so far, no luck...

RETRACTION: the late June, Judy-Scooter meeting notes were not found/rendered within 48 hours of Judeh appearing in front of the grand jury...more like a week. Nonetheless, it does seem the need for the notes was determined very quickly on examination of the redacted crap she submitted along with her GJ testimony.

Still, I'll stand by my central point: Judeh's in deep, deep do-do, and she is dealing fast, and if she ain't dealing fast enough, it may be the sultans of the NYT who are dealing really fast.

I now suspect the Nixon involvement here could well be somewhat revealed in the inaccuracy of my previous post, as, hopefully, corrected hereby.

Grand Jury testimony of Karl Rove leaked by Rove-ing reporter (fictional). Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret. I could call in and have my voice disguised and/or my face blocked out. Please send me an email if you plan to use this. Thanks.

Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner
MnMnM50@hotmail.com

Testimony of Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff (of the United States) [COSTUS]. How much will COSTUS cost us?

It is posted at: http://rovesayswholeakedfirst.blogspot.com/

To me the central issue is why Bill Keller and Jill Abramson have still kept Judith Miller on the payroll.It is as though Miller is an untouchable at the Times no matter how egregious her sins turn out to be.

There are some possible scenarios that will unfold in due time. One would be that the NYT owes Miller something from the past and Miller is not above collecting on that debt. The second possible scenario is that the entire Niger,Wilson, Plame project was sold to the Times by the Bush administration as a National Security project and the Times was coopted into providing the "respectability" that items planted on its pages would provide.Judith Miller, of course, needed no coaxing because she was a True Believer from start to finish.This is probably why she was not fired when she was found fixing the WMD evidence and ahy the Times wrote not one, not two but three editorials glorifying her as a martyr for press freedom.

Time will tell. For the time being, this is peculation on my part.

This is the first time I have read this blog. It's good. But if one author knows enough grammar to castigate somebody for "passive constructions" that hide the actor, that person should know enough grammar to make a pronoun agree with its antecedent. The New York Times is an "it," not a "them." lee de cesare

keep digging kids....you are almost there

the call to the LAT is what you need to concentrate on

Lee,

Perhaps you missed my snark. I was not castigating Isikoff for his passive. I was noting it--and assuming he did it with full knowledge.

And while my grammar here may be sloppy (unlike Isikoff, I'm not working with an editor), my use of "they" with NYT is every bit as intentional as Isikoff's use of the passive.

emptywheel,

I am not in a position to say whether or not this is an "obsession" with you. (No relation to the poster by that handle). I doubt it is, but what I can say is that the ongoing credibility of the NYT is critical to the Republic.

Metaphor: you are probably familiar with two facts about the Watergate burglars. It was some $5.50 an hour security guard who called the D.C. police. No problem, the burglars had two-way radios and someone watching in case uniformed cops showed up, just in case. Wouldn't you know it, as luck would have it, a "plain-clothes" team responded to the Security Guard's call and nobody noticed them going into the Watergate to make the bust.

You are no $5.50 an hour security guard, but what you do at the Last Hurrah matters. The fact that no one has raised problems with your theory either here or in the Times does not mean that the more "respectable" factions at the Times are unaware of your work. If they knew of facts you had wrong, you would have heard about it.

It may feel a little obsessive to you, because you are so far out in front of everyone else. There are so many stories breaking right now, that there is not enough "oxygen" in the MSM to support the ongoing qc issues at the NYT.

BTW, in a prior article you mentioned writing an article about the similarities between Enron and WHIG. WHIG manipulated CIA and State just as Enron defrauded credit issuers, analysts, and credit rating agencies, such as Moody's and Standard & Poors. Once stories started to break in the MSM, both Enron and WHIG manipulated the press. I hope you will tell us where it appears.

Coming back full circle, you are a whistleblower's whistleblower. You are blowing the whistle on the the whistleblower. It's a dirty job, and it looks as though you got selected by your conscience.

In my heart of hearts, I do not think you are being obsessive about this, I think you know how important it is. WH is trying to get traitorgate off the front page. If they can provoke something
with Sryia, that works for them. A tougher NYT can block such unbalanced leadership.

Thanks again for all you do.

Posted by John Casper

Jill, watched and listened last night to you with Bob S & rest of the guys - You are awesome!

Helen Thomas was last news and journalistic personality that influenced me as much as you did.

I place you up there with the all-time GREATS!

Shall pay closer attention to NYT and all its' constituency.

from a BIG fan of yours!

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