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November 05, 2005


Don't worry about boring us with the discussion about narrative voices -- there are plenty of us PhD types in your audience who eat it up. The weirdness of Judy's distancing via "My notes said" has been noted in a number of discussions about that article, but this is the first I've seen that suggests it is a "tell", like the "of course" that betrays when Bush is lying. That voice of Judy's also has a flavor of lawyerly parsing that conveys the strong impression that a whole lotta truth is being withheld.


That lawyerly comment is interesting, since we know Bennett reviewed this. It would suggest Bennett willfully helped Judy minimize the legal jeopardy of telegraphing what she said. I'll suggest in my next installment why that may be true.

And trust me, I realize my readers are damned smart. I just try to keep that PhD crap under the hat--who'd have thought it'd come in useful!

emptywheel - your PhD efforts were well worth it! Thanks for taking the time to study the tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive...Mata Hari Miller and Ad-Libby are no match for your talents!

This is great! So the NYT allows its pages to be used for collusion in a national security case. And, note that Judy still works there, with full support of management. How patriotic of NYT management!

The use of indirect discourse (e.g. "According to my interview notes") is really weird from a "journalist" but is undoubtedly a device to protect herself: if Fitz presses her on contradictions, she can always say "I quoted my notes, but I must have made a mistake in transciption" or something like that. That raises a question: to waht extent was the attempt to protect herself (if I'm right) a tacit admission that there were other witnesses to or other materials from the meeting between Judy and Scooter? And how well acquainted is Fitz with them?

Emptywheel, is your Ph.D in a relevant area? In other words, did you study a lot of rats? :)

Since we are educational, I had a mentor attempt to direct mine toward a century XV monk who every day wrote a complete recension of the prior morn's matin. The process was to depict how church scribes actually grew the language in an enclave somewhere in southern Europe. I think there were no aspens, though, keeping all this autumnally colorful in our sandy streambanks. I find your insight understanding EW: that Lelyveld being accomplished, saw as you have, and numerous others, including likely Judy M herself, that there was a disconnect in the information quanta coming her way, and she had the experience to recognize that as well, and perhaps pursue some surfactants during the interviews and meetings which would provide a better substrate for linear declarative sentences. The counterbalancing article published that same day in NYT, authored from the management's perspective had the same reworked lexis as Judy M's. I trust you read the ombudsman's equally foreshortened editing of the reader responses and Judy M's sidebar on the ombudsman's site which was a lot more first person and delved into office assignment policies in fairly undigested terms. Placing those three items in print so quickly following her second post-jail appearance before the Grand Jury, was predictably going to provide opportunity for proficient text analysis. EW I noted last nite now Sen. Kennedy's blog is linking to The Next Hurrah; congratulations.


No, not rats. Fiction--rife with ideological discourse--that appeared in newspapers. May not be much good in the business world. But perfect training to expose Judy's lies.

Good article, emptywheel. Thank you for all your hard work and excellent writing.

I'm especially happy to see you believe--as I do--that that list of direct discourse statements is simply what Libby told her to say at the time. A million apologies for the excessive length of what I'm about to copy-paste into this comment box, but I wrote it "for the drawer" awhile back and suddenly feel like sharing.

&y's Alleged, Yet Entirely Fictional, Account the June 23, 2003 Conversation
(the version of said account where Novak and others are not also present)

LIBBY -- Right. The sixteen words and that Judis article. Was the intelligence slanted? Here's how we're going to handle that. Above all, we emphasize CIA. It's all about them and their--oh, how should I put it?--selective leaking on the subject.

JUDY -- ... T-I-V-E L-E-A-K-I-N-G. Selective leaking, got it.

LIBBY -- We make it clear they're playing a hedging game--trying to have it both ways. You know, "If we find WMD, fine, if not, we hedged." So the first order of business is to expose this CIA hedging strategy.

JUDY -- ... -T-E-G-Y. OK. Hedging strategy. Got it. Next?

LIBBY -- Next, we have to get the Vice President out of the stories and throw this goddamn crap about embracing skimpy intelligence back in CIA's face. Because right now, the only story is theirs and it's been highly distorted. That crap about "at the behest of the Vice President's office?"

JUDY -- Yeah...

LIBBY -- We're shutting that talk down cold. The story we're going with is that those reports are distorted. CIA took it upon itself to look into this. So they sent some clandestine guy--that's Karl's wording, by the way--write it down.

JUDY -- -T-I-N-E G-U-Y. Sent by the CIA.

LIBBY -- On their own initiative. Hammer that point. This story is not about the Vice President: (1) he did not know about Joseph Wilson; (2) he never knew what Wilson did or what he said; (3) the CIA never reported to our office about what he did. This was CIA's baby. The Vice President was, as they say, "out of the loop"--but, obviously, don't write "out of the loop," just that we never got a report.

JUDY -- -E-P-O-R-T. Got it. Looks good. I've got: selective CIA leaking, hedging strategy, took it upon itself, Veep never knew anything about Wilson.... Any other bullet points?

LIBBY -- Just one more... and, for now, we're not running with this, but I thought you should know.

JUDY -- Should I write it down?

LIBBY -- If you want, but be careful. And make sure to note for yourself that we're not running with this ... yet. It's just backup--put it in parentheses or something.

JUDY -- No problem. Ready.

LIBBY -- The thing is, if Wilson doesn't shut up about all this soon, we'll probably have to go nuclear on him. Because we can't have everybody and his brother yapping to the press about this sort of stuff.

JUDY -- [Grinning stupidly] Not everybody, no.

LIBBY -- So if push comes to shove, we're working out a way to leak the information that, well, those people at CIA? The ones who "took it upon themselves" to send Wilson? It was actually one person and that person was Wilson's wife. She's the one who suggested him for the trip. It was "at her behest."

JUDY -- She's CIA?

LIBBY -- Counterproliferation. She suggested sending Wilson on the trip. But, again, we're not leaking this yet--it could lead to trouble if we don't do it right. If we do decide to go nuclear, Karl's thinking the way it should work it is basically the same way we put the forgeries out there in the first place--leak bits of the story all over town...

JUDY -- ... Counting on reporters--instead of foreign intelligence services--to protect their sources and methods.

LIBBY -- Exactly. Same game plan. And, god forbid, if things ever get ugly--which they wont--it should be pretty damned hard for investigators to figure out who learned what from whom when. I mean, the Brits still haven't figured it all out--there's no way Tim Russert's ever going to put two and two together.

JUDY -- And since the CIA will never confirm or deny anything, we can pretty much say whatever we want.

LIBBY -- Exactly. Karl is good. Just like with the documents, it's a guaranteed one-sided story.

JUDY -- Our story. I like it. But for now, not a word about Wilson's wife. I put it in parentheses with a question mark.

LIBBY -- [Tents his fingers] Excellent.


That's hysterical, and probably pretty close to the mark! I thought about doing a little scenario myself, but couldn't have done such a nice job...


Thought you might want the html version of the Libby Indictment.

Here is the Fitz Press Conference as well in case you don't have it.


More great work! I really hope Fitz is reading these, and I would sure love to be a fly on the wall in the room where Judy reads them. As for the disclaimer, I actually found this one easier to grasp than some of the others. The posts that are harder to follow are the ones that assume I have a photographic memory of all the facts. I need periodic extra summational sentences that restate the obvious (what's obvious to you) and put the new theories into the context of the larger goal of dragging all of the BushCo schemes into the light of day.

Thank you polly, that is helpful. My computer is having some difficulties, so the PDF is darn near killing me.

great work again EW.

speaking of using odd voices, i thought this formulation was very odd: "Mr. Fitzgerald told the grand jury that I was testifying as a witness and not as a subject or target of his inquiry."

i imagine that a 'natural' formulation of this sentence would be "i am neither target/subject" or "Fitz told me that i wasnt" - but instead she says that 'fitz told the GJ that i was testifying as a witness...'

2 things jump out at me - firstly she reported what he told the GJ, rather than simply stating it as fact, and secondly, she added that she was 'testifying as a witness' - not simply that she is 'just a witness'

i dont know what to make of it - other than the possibility that she was previously a subject or target and/or perhaps has already taken a plea deal?

in fact, the full paragraph is "I testified in Washington twice - most recently last Wednesday after finding a notebook in my office at The Times that contained my first interview with Mr. Libby. Mr. Fitzgerald told the grand jury that I was testifying as a witness and not as a subject or target of his inquiry." - its not obvious whether fitz made that statement in the 1st or 2nd appearance - and it almost appears as tho that confusion is deliberate.

any thoughts?

Emptywheel, this may seem like a bone-headed question, but why on earth did Judy cough up that June 23rd notebook? I just don’t get it, because that notebook is nothing but trouble for her. Why did she 'discover' these notes?

Do you think Fitz KNEW she had notes of this meeting?

I’m nursing a few theories about this, but I really don’t buy the received wisdom (which I’ve never seen questioned) that Judy realized she was in serious legal jeopardy, and needed to show notes to lock in a story against Libby's. Sure, she was trying to relieve her contempt of court, and by 'finding' the notebook, she showed that she could be cooperative. (After all, Fitz could have sent her immediately back to jail, right?)

But how do we square that with the idea that after surrendering her June 23rd notes, she didn't testify truthfully about them? By lying about or misrepresenting the notebook's contents, Judy opened herself up to new legal jeopardy (not to mention public ridicule).

So why couldn't Judy simply have "lost" that June 23rd notebook? Why couldn't she have just said, "Yes, I met Libby in June, but I took no notes" or "I just can't find them"? To my mind, that would have been a perfectly believable excuse, particularly if she had no formal story assignment. So what compelled her to find and surrender the notebook?

One possibility is that someone at the New York Times could independently confirm that Judy met Libby on or around June 23rd, in the context of writing a story. But I doubt this meeting was known to anyone supervising Judy at the NYT (including Lelyveld). Remember, both Judy and Libby went into the grand jury room confident that Fitz couldn’t possibly know about June 23rd.

A second possibility – and your compelling Novak column a couple days ago really made me start to wonder -- is that someone else was present on June 23rd who remembered Judy taking notes. That person could be Novak or could be someone else (another government official? another conservative journalist?). Both Libby and Judy were ignorant of the fact this person 'flipped.'

Another possibility is that Judy Miller took notes at the June 23rd meeting, and had that notebook in hand (or even showed it to someone) as she spread around the misinformation contained therein. Fitz knew this, and therefore knew about some sort of notebook. I've a hunch that Fitz knew the notebook had “Valerie Flame” and “Victoria Wilson” in it, too. Miller was obviously questioned on this matter in detail. (So why didn't she just tear those pages out?)

Still another possibility is that the notebook was discovered by someone else a long time ago, in whatever New York Times bureau (Manhattan? Washington?) where Judy stashed it, and that a copy was made and the original returned until Judy was willing to 'discover' it. In this scenario, Fitz has known about its contents a long while. Could the FBI or some other agency have penetrated the Times sanctum earlier in their investigation?

I a mere Watson to your Sherlock, and it’s perfectly possible I’m missing something really obvious here! So please tell me: what compelled Judy to turn over that notebook?


I've always interpreted that to mean she was not then in legal jeopardy but Fitz was not promising her she wouldn't become in legal jeopardy. She was a witness so long as she (somewhat) satisfied him on the 12th. But if he finds anything else, she'll be a target.


I still lean toward the NYT evidence of that meeting. I'd be willing to bet a bit that she DID try to talk Lelyveld into writing a story, in June and not July. They're just too silent a the NYT not to be hiding such a story.

And keep in mind, she was supposed to be writing as a team. So William Broad and David Johnston (the other two guys on the team) almost certainly have a good idea what she was working on--and what kind of notes she might have.

Or, there's the possibility that Karl or Ari or someone else who has flipped told Fitz about the meeting--and the notes.

I wonder seriously, after having written this, if there isn't a still earlier meeting.

I've always thought that the reason Judy reported her testimony by quoting from her notes was to let Libby know which part of her testimony was supported by contemporaneous written evidence. With that information, Libby could try to adjust his story according to Judy's notes. (Lots of luck, Scooter.) Inconsistencies between his testimony and hers for any portion of their meetings not covered by Judy's notes could then could be attributed to poor memory.

Good point blythetdm

Remember that Rove was called back to testify before Judy's testimony, but did so afterwards. So she might have thought he could get a second shot as well.

Excellent information and it makes perfect sense. I remember reading that Judy was considered an unofficial member of the White House Iraq Group- quite an honor- I would think that that fraternity expects loyalty, don't you and as soon as I saw that letter from Libby to judy in jail, about the Aspens and "they turn in clusters because their roots connect them" it seemed to me that was likely code for "we stick together" or something along those lines with respect to her pending testimony- and apparently as has been reported, that thought was in Fitzgerald's mind also.

The thought of miller getting off scott free in all of this is just sickening.

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