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October 16, 2005


btw, Arianna slams Judy's reportorial skills in her update.

Kurtz in the WaPo:

One unusual aspect of the Times account is that it acknowledges what a controversial figure Miller, 57, has been at the paper. One former editor, Douglas Frantz, said Miller once called herself "Miss Run Amok" and said it meant "I can do whatever I want."

Her reputation suffered a "blow," the Times acknowledged, after some of her stories on whether Saddam Hussein harbored illegal weapons did not pan out. "I told her there was unease, discomfort, unhappiness over some of the coverage," said Roger Cohen, the foreign editor at the time. Miller conceded that "I got it totally wrong" but blamed the misinformation on her sources.

Miller would not allow the Times reporters to review her notes and would not discuss her interactions with editors, the article said.

To a remarkable degree, Miller was calling the shots on dealing with Fitzgerald's inquiry. Keller and Sulzberger both told the paper that they did not press Miller for details of her conversations with Libby or ask to see her notes while battling Fitzgerald's subpoena in the courts.

Nothing we haven't hit on.

More WaPo tea leaves:

If those attending yesterday's annual Republican "Pep Rally Breakfast" in Fairfax County did not pay much mind to the scrum of protesters outside, all they had to do was take a seat and flip open the program to see what all the ruckus was about.

There it was, smack in the middle of the first page: The man scheduled to deliver the keynote address in support of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore would be Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser who is embroiled in the investigation of a leak that revealed the name of a CIA operative. Tickets were hot. The press was barred.

But soon after party activists sat down inside the ballroom of the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, it was announced that Rove had been scratched from the lineup. No detailed reason was given.

On Georgie Steph's show:

George Will, Kool Aid drinker.

Preznit stands to gain with no indictments, no report . . . changing charges in mid-stream. . . .

Big if for Will... and a good reason the DC pundits shouldn't be covering this story. They can't handle it. At least Joe Klein admitted conflict of interest (he's fond of leaks).

The WaPo said a couple of days ago that the folks in power are more worried about the tentacles of Abramoff and co. than they are about this. Page A1 of today's paper herethey have a big splash and Digby is all a twitter about this:

"Abramoff quietly arranged for eLottery to pay conservative, anti-gambling activists to help in the firm's $2 million pro-gambling campaign, including Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Both kept in close contact with Abramoff about the arrangement, e-mails show. Abramoff also turned to prominent anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist, arranging to route some of eLottery's money for Reed through Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform."

Got any thoughts a) about this itself and b) about why few others are jumping on it (yet)?

Abramoff is huge... it's far more damaging to DeLay in the long run than the current indictments, and to the entire R establishment. But, it's complex, has yet to be played out, and it will just have to wait until Fitz finishes to get the play it deserves.

Yeah, we can multitask, and yeah, this is FAR more important than Judy, but it's also a lot drier. More importantly, the Abramoff story is just beginning while Fitz' piece is coming to the end.

Lastly, Abramoff is about power and corruption, while the CIA leak is about the reason we're in Iraq. We're at war, people are dying every day, and that trumps nearly everything.

P.S. it isn't as if we've never written about Abramoff. But I expect more starting tomorrow.

Thanks. I know you haven't ignored it nor has Josh Marshall and a few of the others.

So many scandals, so little time.

October surprised indeed!

At first I thought the Times' account was a shea culpa.
Then, I couldn't get over Bill Keller's saying "we wish it were more of a clearcut
whistle-blower case." ...as opposed to a SLIMING of the whistle blower case. Surely he realizes that when they carry water for this administration it's not news, it's propaganda? I guess BK (and by extension "Punch") couldn't let go of his pre-war support for the invasion.
And I'm sure Judy's colleagues at the Times have all had their spirits boosted by the Times admitting that JM has cost them a huge amount of money in legal fees and credibility but she still rates a massage, manacure, steak and martini at the Ritz.

George asks if she sat in jail for 85 days for a source she doesn't remember. Nice.

Welcome to The Next Hurrah, George! You can pay Miss Laura directly, if you want. We're sure she'll cut us in for 10%.

The Abramoff story isn't all THAT dry. Sure, financial transactions are porn only for accountants, but Josh Marshall has had a couple of items that connect him to a gangland hit. His business partner's ex-business partner, IIRC. (As ex as you can get!)

There's nothing like a guy shot full of lead to get attention.

-- Rick

PS - Kagro X, if you're reading this, your F/P riff (ripp?) over at DKos busted me uf.

Rick, we forward his fan mail to make sure he doesn't miss it. It's a TNH courtesy service.

DemPromCT, ip my mail comes in bulk, flease make sure to use PedEx, not UFS.

This is my third try at posting something. I've read only Frank Rich as I am vacationing in the wide open spaces. He is dead on. The real crime here is lying the country into war by hyping flimsy and bogus intelligence. The NYTimes is right in the center of that effort, like PRAVDA. Libby fed info to Judy Miller and the Times dutifully printed it with no editorial supervision. Can we now have an end to the "reproter as celebrity?" Too much power is bad ofr anyone. How many imes do we have to relearn that? Howell Raines was fired for far less. The Times really has a lot to atone for here.

Mimikatz, they haven't done. Yesterday's 'stories' doesn't come close. Calame is next week. Let's see how serious they are.

Part II

The real significance of the Abramoff scandal is that it shows that the GOP could never have won on a level playing field. They had to have the whole corrupt Norquist-Abramoff money machine, shaking down corporations and foreign countries, laundering gambling money etc and funneling it into GOP frint groups, DeLay's redistricting shenannigans and Rove's dirty tricks plus the constant disguising of their real motives in order to get and hold power. The Dems have lost because of a failure of imagination--they couldn;t see what the GOP was up to, and couldn't believe their "colleagues" would sell their souls to this corrupt outfit.

Couple that with a cynical press and DC culture that is afraid to seem to want something better than this cesspool of corruption, and we are where we are now. I just hope enough is unravelling that the enterprise will swtart to crumble of its own weight and the participants will trun on each other.

"GOP could never have won on a level playing field". Indeed. Neither could Tonya Harding. Both relied on toadying surrogates to whack the competition.

And both have armies of die-hard admirers to this very day.

And both have armies of die-hard admirers to this very day.

Because they're 'tough" (not like those Dems? Because the core admirers are stupid (watch half of them disappear when the indictments come and/or they're out of power)?

Kevin Drum makes an acute observation about Miller's obtuse memory here.

My easiest prediction: there will be rationalizations, and denials, and demurrals, and obfuscations, and diversionary ploys ... and some of them will be hilarious.

from the AP:

New details about Judith Miller's decision to cooperate in the CIA leak probe raised questions Sunday about whether Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and his defense lawyer tried to keep the New York Times reporter from testifying and tried to steer what she would say under oath.


One of Miller's lawyers, Robert Bennett, was asked Sunday whether he thought Libby's letter was an attempt to steer her prospective testimony.

"I wouldn't say the answer to that is yes, but it was very troubling," Bennett said on ABC's "This Week."

"Our reaction when we got that letter, both Judy's and mine, is that was a very stupid thing to put in a letter because it just complicated the situation," Bennett said.

"It was a very foolish thing to put in a letter, as evidenced by the fact that you're highlighting it here," Bennett said. "It was a close call and she was troubled by it; no question about it."

Note Miller's wording in the NYT article - my notes don't indicate ... , it doesn't appear from my notes... Obviously, with the Valeria Flame & Victoria Wilson crap, Libby/Miller can *honestly* say he didn't divulge Wilson wife's name. Whew, what a stink.

this piece is interesting and troubling:

Having now waded through The Times's articles on Judy Miller, one new fact struck me as particularly bizarre -- Miller, by her own admission, was cleared to see secret information as part of her assignment as an "embedded" reporter in Iraq. I had no idea journalists could receive security clearances -- and I had no idea that the mainstream media would allow their reporters to have such clearances. After all, one of the most important obligations of a person receiving security clearances is not to reveal that information at any time, while one of the most important obligations of a reporter is precisely to reveal information the public has a need and right to know.

Can someone explain why this glaring conflict of interest is acceptable? And does anyone know whether Miller's clearance was an exception or whether this is a common practice in journalistic circles, be it today or in the past? And, finally, as I note below the fold, could it be that this fact becomes the key to Libby's defense?

This piece is also interesting:

As the devastating Times article, and her own first-person account, make clear, Miller should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism -- and her own paper. And her editor, who has not taken responsibility, should apologize to readers.

I don't think Calame will be satisfied with today's articles, judging from the tone of his post last week.

marky, that's my impression, but the NY times has to prove itself big time, now.

Arianna Huffington's and Kevin Drum's comments are dead on. Miller structured her notes in such a way that she could deny the most important aspects. How could she go to jail for 81 days to protect the information that she puts in her article?

The only way this makes sense is that (1) Miller has another source she is protecting or (2) she is still lying. (1) she has contradicted herself. So that leaves (2).

The other thing I find interesting in her account is that she has Libby angry in June and July 2003 because the CIA is now trying to hedge the info about WMD so that they don't have to take the fall when they can't be found. And the blame would fall on the WH? I can't believe the WH folks all really believed that they would find WMD. The knew perfectly well they wouldn't, and that is why they didn't take more precautions or send more people in to secure the country. Someone at the WH also knew the Niger documents were forgeries. Assuming Libby isn't that stupid, and knew what the score was, then Judy's whole story is a fabrication.

The one thing that her story does validate is the role that Cheney's vanity played. Part of the reason for smearing Wilson was to make it clear that Cheney didn't send him or wasn't the reason for Wilson's trip.

Another interesting turn of phrase is her statement that Wilson's report never made it back to the VP. It never got beyond the "bowels of the CIA" was what he said--the same thing Condi Rice said on TV. So that doesn't sound too plausible. What happened to the info Wilson brought back? Did it get to Cheney or not? Did someone not pass it on because it wasn't the kind of thing the boss wanted to hear? Or was it ignored because it didn't add anything, since they already knew the Niger yellowcake story was based on forged documents?

These are the questions we need answered. How much was the war based on propaganda churned out by the WHIG Group? Who was behind the Niger forgeries and what was thier original purpose? Judy Miller is titillating, but she isn't the real story here. She is a sideshow in all the meanings of that word. The real issue is the war and the how and why of how we got into it. Once the lies are acknowledged, we can begin to talk about finding a way out.

Digby has some interesting observations. After reporting that Rove and Libby are going to resign if indicted, Digby comments:

"George W. Bush is a creature of Karl Rove's imagination. He invented him. I would bet money that Dick Cheney is no longer a trusted second in command. It looks like he and his little dog Scooter may have taken Turdblossom down with them. If Rove goes, for better or worse (and I don't actually think it could be worse) the United States will effectively no longer have a president."

Truly scary. Time for a change.

Digby's comments noted and subject to an am post.

Aye, we face the plausible prospect of a US executive administration disbanding, and at a time when we're up to our asses in alligators.

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