Judy Miller says that only six of her stories were based on questionable reporting. I'll have to remember that. By my count, there are way more than six that are totally full of shit, just in her war reporting (and watch out, because I'm looking back at her famous aluminum tubes story--something to look forward to in 2006). But now I will always look at her stories and wonder whether she considers that particular story one of her flawed six.
"Is this one of the ones that even Judy believes to be beyond the pale? How does Judy Miller judge shit?"
As Jane says:
But the curious part comes when Judy says that Libby never told her that Joe Wilson's wife had any part in sending him on the Niger trip.
She's said this before but I guess I've never seized on it, since it is quite an odd assertion that does little to enhance her already sullied reputation.
According to the indictment Libby was most certainly aware as early as June 11, 2003 that people in both the State Department and the CIA were saying Wilson's wife was involved in the planning of the trip, and Libby himself had been poking around trying to find out what paperwork would back this up.
In Judy's own private La Traviata she says:
Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether I ever pursued an article about Mr. Wilson and his wife. I told him I had not, though I considered her connection to the C.I.A. potentially newsworthy. I testified that I recalled recommending to editors that we pursue a story.
So, Ms. Solid Journalist, seeking to "reclaim" your reputation. If Wilson's wife had no role in his trip to the best of your knowledge, what exactly made this story newsworthy? If you weren't simply acting as a smear merchant for those who butter your toast, what possible bearing would the fact that Joe Wilson's wife worked at the CIA have? Judy says:
I said I felt that since The Times had run Mr. Wilson's original essay, it had an obligation to explore any allegation that undercut his credibility.
What allegation was that exactly? The Jill Abramson thing is starting to make sense. If Judy ran back to the Times dithering about Wilson's wife's part in some secret liberal CIA cabal to take down the President well it just isn't surprising that Abramson paid no attention and hoped Judy's shrink would eventually get around to adjusting her meds.
The problem, as I understand it, is that Judy says she didn't hear from Libby the story that Plame got Wilson sent on his trip. But that one of the reasons she wanted to pursue the story is that she considered Plame's connection to the CIA something "potentially newsworthy," something that "undercut [Wilson's] credibility.
Now back when we were emailing about this, I agreed with Jane, that this may suggest Judy interpreted (or Libby alleged) some completely different story about Plame that undercut Wilson's credibility. Remember, on July 8, Libby seems to have been alleging that Wilson's earlier trip for the CIA to Niger (in 1999) was somehow connected with him acting as a liaison between Iraq and Niger. So I could imagine Judy seeing that connection between Plame and the CIA and her husband as discrediting--more so than simply her involvement in recommending Wilson.
But now that Jane lays it out all plain like this, I think there's another possibility.
When Judy insisted that Libby didn't tell her of Plame's purported involvement in sending Wilson to the CIA, she was speaking in her technical denial voice. Check it out. It's a voice akin to scratching a chalkboard with long fingernails, sends chills up your spine. And she's always got that self-satisfied "I'm not going to look at you, I'm just going to look coy and you'll fall for my charms" face. (She also pulled out her use of direct discourse again, to claim she has testified that she can't remember when she first heard the name Plame. Better liars, please!)
So I suspect she wasn't saying that no one had told her about Plame's purported involvement in Wilson's trip. Just that Libby hadn't told her that.
Remember, again according to her own story about this, Judy talked to other people (plural) about this story.
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.
And she has admitted she has other sources for Plame's identity. And remember, Bolton has long been a good Judy source ... and he, or people in his office, likely saw the INR memo making the allegations.
So I think her insistence here is a technical denial that, no, Libby didn't allege Plame arranged the trip. Someone else did.
I just wonder the reasons for the denial. Is she planning to spring this in court in hopes it will exonerate her entanglee? Or is she inviting further speculation about her other sources?
A better journalist would have asked, "well, then, Judy, who told you about Plame's role in sending Wilson." But those are in short supply these days.