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December 31, 2005


Emptywheel, what did you make of Judy saying she took the interview notes more than two years ago, and then saying, in the very next breath, that she first looked at the notebook with Flame/Plame's name more than a year after taking the notes? In effect, she's telling us she went to prison knowing she had Flame/Plame's name in a notebook (the same notebook with her June 23rd meeting with Libby).

Did this strike anyone else as odd? So what's your take on it?

I did notice it.

It doesn't yet mean she's lying about "forgetting" her June 23 notes (which is the lie I'd like to catch her in). And it probably means that she reviewed her notes before she went to the slammer. Just in case she needed to lie in, say September.

But remember. She insists the Flame/Victoria notation is "free-floating," nowhere near her Scooter notes. No matter. That may mean (as I've speculated) Scoot gave her Plame's covert name (which I doubt is Plame) in Fall 2003, as part of the coverup. At about the same time Novak got it, before his October 1, 2003 column, and around the same time Judy was telling the same lies as Novak was putting in print.

Or Flame/Victoria could be notes form someone else.

Miller is telling the truth - Libby didn't tell her that Plame arranged Wilson's trip.

Remember what Miller says that Libby was talking about during that first conversation --- how the CIA was to blame for all the intelligence failures, and that the CIA never objected to any public pronouncements by the President (a lie, because we now know that Tenet himself specificially objected to the inclusion of the Niger/Uranium story in a speech Bush gave in October 2002.)

Libby was selling Miller the story that there were people in the CIA (mostly in CPD) were now trying to blame the White House for the intelligence failures. Joe Wilson was simply part of that effort -- and his connection to the CIA was his wife, who worked there in WMD section. Joe Wilson wasn't the target of the Libby leak per se, the CIA, including Wilson's wife, were the targets.

This is why Woodward considered the disclosure to him "gossip" -- the story his source was telling him was about how the CIA screwed things up, and were now trying to blame the White House, and that this Wilson guy, whose wife was part of this CIA cabal, was just part of all that.

Because Joe Wilson's actions were the catalyst for a whole lot of things that eventually happen, we all tend to assume that Joe Wilson was the focus the entire time. But Joe Wilson was simply an example of what the White House was dealing with at the time --- he wasn't the only person questioning why no WMDs were being found, or leaking info to the media by that point. The White House was "spinning" responsibility for the failure of intelligence as far from itself as possible -- the spin was "it was the intelligence community that screwed up, and all this stuff you hear is just them trying to shift the blame."


There are two notations in Miller's notes, neither of them "Free floating". The name "Valerie Flame" appears in her notebooks but nowhere near the Libby notes (and our press corps is so dumb, it has yet to ask "well, where did the notes that are around the words "Valerie Flame" from?") There is a second notation of "Victoria Wilson" related to the notes of her third conversation with Libby -- but Miller can't remember exactly why that was there. (She speculates that she intended to get his reaction to the "wrong" name...uh, right.)

Of course, Miller has additional sources, and I have the feeling that its actually Novak's source as well -- the one who is co-operating with the investigation.

My theory is that Novak had one more source ---an original one -- that passed the same basic "this is a CIA plot that Joe Wilson's wife is involved in" story to Novak early on.

The two sources that Novak referred two in his column about Plame arranging the trip were actually his second and third source. Rove is his third source -- the one who "confirmed" that Wilson's wife arranged the trip. The second source told Novak Plame's name, and that she was responsible for his trip -- and that was in response to Novak asking questions about the story his original source had told him.

Remember what Andrea Mitchell said --- everyone WHO WAS ASKING QUESTIONS about the failure to find WMDs knew Wilson's wife was CIA....

While we're getting into semantics, I have another theory. This goes to just how far on the inside Judy was. What if, rather than telling her that Plame arranged Wilson's trip, Libby told Judy that he's spreading the word that Plame arranged Wilson's trip. So it would have been in an "okay, here's the plan, Judy" sort of way. That way he could suggest that Judy write a story, but Judy would be technically correct in saying Libby didn't tell her Plame recommended Wilson for the trip (because, under this scenario, Miller would know the story she and Libby were talking about getting out there was false, or at least highly suspect). Reel me in, E.W.!


I'm not going to reel you in. I do think that's plausible. I'm more and more convinced Judy was completely inside, for a variety of reasons.

p luk

I hear what you're saying. I think Flame may be connected to another, known interview (and I'm really looking forward to see how Fitz will get to Judy's other sources). But I keep coming back to Novak's late use of Flame, in the October column. Everything in that article is fairly clearly the product of collaboration with Rove/Libby to deny the leak. But it precedes the further B-J outing. So I still think it highly likely that the use of "Flame" and B-J were meant to do the same thing--cow the CIA into coming forward, by REALLY finishing the job of outing Plame. Which would mean Flame is Plame's real covert name.

That, plus the fact that Judy was telling the same story at the same time to Taubman ("I didn't receive an organized leak") makes me suspect that she learned about Flame in Fall 2003.

Not terrificly great logic, but still...

emtpywheel - My initial explanatory guess over at fdl to Jane's rediscovery that Miller denied Libby told her Wilson's wife was involved in setting up his trip goes along with your idea that, as Swopa has suggested with regard to Novak, Miller got segmented leaks, from Libby that she worked at the CIA, and from others her name and that she was involved in his trip. But that's not inconsistent with Libby also pushing other discrediting angles: that Wilson was, in Tom Maguire's phrase, sleeping with the enemy in the war between OVP and CIA; and that Wilson actually provided confirmatory evidence for the administration's Iraq nuclear claims, which presumably could be dovetailed with charges that Wilson was acting for partisan political reasons and lying to boot. In any case, since I feel quite confident that Miller is outright lying when she says she doesn't remember who her other sources are or when she was told Plame's name -- how is she going to get caught by Fitzgerald? -- I wonder who she's protecting.

I went back and looked pretty carefully at Miller's account, as well as your October posts on it. The main thing that jumped out at me is the big-picture if obvious point that Libby was using info on Plame to try to get a friendly reporter to publish -- and the same goes for Rove and Libby at least not trying to dissuade Novak from publishing -- while info about Plame was being used to try to get Pincus to not publish on Wilson, and Rove at least started out that way with Cooper, though he's an ambiguous case, since Rove says immediately don't get too far out on Wilson, then spills the beans about Plame, and either ingenuously or disingenuously tells Cooper he's said to much, and then seems to go on to lie to Hadley about what he's told Cooper. It would be very interesting to know how much Rove told Libby, since the next day Libby deliberates with Cheney about how to respond and confirms info about Plame for Cooper. And remember the indictment tells us that on July 10 or 11 -- wouldn't it be nice to know which, and I wonder why Fitzgerald doesn't tell -- Rove and Libby have a talk where Rove tells Libby Novak is going to be publishing. So Cooper might have been an adjustment in their strategy. Where the alleged 6 calls in 1x2x6 fits with this I have no idea.

Two questions for you, emptywheel, concerning the weird stuff Libby tells Miller about intelligence supposedly garnered from Wilson's trip, which may have to do with confusion deliberate or not between Wilson's 2002 trip to NIger and his 1999 trip: 1) Don't you think Libby's question for Addington about documentation over at the CIA concerned Wilson's 2002 trip, not his 1999 trip, as I think you suggested back in October? The idea being that Libby was going to make sure that Miller got some solid info on Plame's role in the 2002 trip. 2) Unless I'm mistaken, when you say

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

I think you're telescoping the weird things Libby says to Miller on July 8 with the misleading way Fleischer glosses Tenet's July 11 statement in the July 12 gaggle -- to which, the WaPo briefly told us, Cheney told Libby to direct reporters on July 12. Like you, I suspect that Fleischer deliberately garbled Tenet's statement to make it sound like Wilson may himself have been mixed up in the uranium business himself, though he also says things that are as clear as Tenet's statement about Wilson as reporter on that business. That would certainly fit with Cheney telling Libby to look at Fleischer's attack on Wilson, rather than at Tenet's statement, as the NYT had originally reported the strategizing between Cheney and Libby.

One last question: when Miller in her account of the July 12 conversation says

He said it was unclear whether Mr. Wilson had spoken with any Niger officials who had dealt with Iraq's trade representatives

it is clear that this is probably not meant to be criticism, as Miller interprets it, but rather some kind of backtracking, as I think you suggested in an earlier post. But I wonder what the basis of it was - had Libby looked at the CIA report (or cable -- and are those the same?), or heard Wilson's claims about this, perhaps from Cooper himself, since TIME would report in their famous article of the 17th that Wilson basically denied there had been such a meeting to them. This would have all happened very quickly, as one of the TIME reporters would have had to have talked to Wilson after Tenet's statement on the 11th (late on the 11th, if I remember correctly).


The reason I believe Libby was spreading a version of the Ari story is because he left the July 8 meeting with Judy (after she told him he hadn't given her enough to publish) and asked Addington what kind of paperwork an overseas trip would generate.

I think it more likely this was about the 1999 trip than the 2002 trip because OVP had already been collecting information about the 2002 trip for a month by this point, and because it sounds like Libby was looking for documentation about how CIA would note that Plame's spouse was overseas, not how they would record Wilson's trip.

The Addington request (and its presumed inconclusive results) is almost certainly why Libby backtracked on July 12 off his claims that Wilson talked with someone about an earlier meeting.

What I want to know is whether Judy figures into the current Times/NSA muddle. Bill Keller told Byron Calame that he couldn't discuss the delay of the Times article without revealing how the Times knew about the spying program in the first place. Is it possible that Judy, momentarily acting like a real reporter, provided the initial tip, and that the Times shelved the story in order to not antagonize the people who (Judy assured them) were "keeping her in jail"? Once the Judy scene blew up and the Times's interests were no longer coextensive with hers, Keller would then feel empowered to reopen the story.... Pure speculation, I know, but it's so tantalizing to believe that the NSA and Ms. Run Amok stories dovetail somewhere.


I think it's possible there's a connection.

But I suspect Judy didn't get the story. We know Bolton is a great source for her, but I highly doubt he would have leaked details of the larger program (and, frankly, I think suspicions that the NSA program and Bolton's own abuse of NSA intercepts are unrelated--Bolton didn't need data mining to get what he got).

THe other likely sources for the NSA program aren't really Judy sources: Comey, probably another DOJ lawyer or three, people from NSA, maybe Jay Rockefeller, some people from the FISA court (perhaps even Kotar-Kelly). Aside from Dick and the Neocons, Judy's sources tend toward the WMD (especially BW/CW), Oil for Food side of things.

Besides some of the NYT reporting suggests that this program was alluded to in public decisions. Finding a decision and sniffing out what it means is Risen's forte.


What about the pre-9/11 attack warnings?

Who decided to withhold publication before and since 9/11?

Did the NYT report their information to the administration,
and did the administration tell the NYT to keep quiet?

See this link: http://www.cjr.org/issues/2005/5/judycode.asp

In July of 2001, Steve Engelberg, then an editor at The New York Times, looked up to see Judy Miller standing at his desk. As Engelberg recalls, Miller had just learned from a source about an intercepted communication between two Al Qaeda members who were discussing how disappointed they were that the United States had never attempted to retaliate for the bombing of the USS Cole. Not to worry, one of them said, soon they were going to do something so big that the U.S. would have to retaliate.

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