Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Judy, Judy, Judy

Former NY Times reporter (and jail bird) Judith Miller has a new book out, and the Wall Street Journal's Peter Berkowitz says she's learned something that the gang at Just One Minute knew a decade ago; Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald abused his office to prosecute Scooter Libby over the Valerie Plame Affair;
A revelation in journalist Judith Miller’s new memoir, “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey,” exposes unscrupulous conduct by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in the 2007 trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
Ms. Miller, a former New York Times reporter, writes that Mr. Fitzgerald induced her to give what she now realizes was false testimony. By withholding critical information and manipulating her memory as he prepared her to testify, Ms. Miller relates, Mr. Fitzgerald “steered” her “in the wrong direction.”
Well, it wasn't just Ms. Miller he misled.  It was pretty much the entire press corps. To whom Mr. Fitzgerald announced, after he indicted Scooter Libby in October 2005;
Valerie Wilson's cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.
But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson's wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told.
In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.
In actual fact, the first reporter to have been told about Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof in early May of that year. As he admitted in a follow up to his original column (June 13, 2003) about a former ambassador who'd travel to Niger to look into stories about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa;
Condoleezza Rice was asked on "Meet the Press" on Sunday about a column of mine from May 6 regarding President Bush's reliance on forged documents to claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Africa. ....
And now an administration official tells [Walter Pincus of] The Washington Post that Mr. Cheney's office first learned of its role in the episode by reading that column of mine. Hmm. I have an offer for Mr. Cheney: I'll tell you everything I know about your activities, if you'll tell me all you know.
To help out Ms. Rice and Mr. Cheney, let me offer some more detail about the uranium saga. Piecing the story together from two people directly involved and three others who were briefed on it ....
We bolded the above to show that Kristof was relying on both Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame as sources for his column in May. Plame was directly involved because she was the one at the CIA responsible for her husband Joe being asked to take the mission. Clearly before Scooter Libby talked with Judy Miller on June 23rd, as Patrick Fitzgerald had it.

Other reporters who heard about the Plame-CIA connection before Judy Miller in late June 2003, appear to have been Andrea Mitchell, Tim Russert, David Gregory (all of NBC), and Bob Woodward (from Richard Armitage of the State Dept. on June 13th, the same day as Kristoff's sarcastic attack on Walter Pincus of the WaPo). But, put that aside, as the commentariat at Just One Minute remarked upon at the time, Judy didn't even (probably) get the information first from Libby. As the story in the WSJ explains it today, after she caved in to Fitzgerald's pressure (to get out of jail where she was being held on contempt of court for refusing to talk to the prosecutor);
While Mr. Fitzgerald prepared her [for her testimony], she recalls, his pointed queries led her to believe that a four-word question regarding Joseph Wilson surrounded by parentheses in her notebook—“(wife works in Bureau?)”—proved that Mr. Libby had told her about Ms. Plame’s CIA employment in a June 23, 2003, conversation (well before Mr. Libby’s phone conversation with Russert). She so testified at trial in 2007.
At the time Miller didn't know that Valerie Plame had used a State Department (where they have bureaus) cover to explain her travels for the CIA to the mideast. She only learned that three years later by reading Plame's memoir Fair Game. Then she realized she must have gotten the information referred to in her notes from someone she talked to at the State Department before her lunch with Scooter Libby. For an experienced Washington hand like Libby wouldn't have referred to the CIA as 'Bureau' (which most people would think a reference to the FBI).

But Patrick Fitzgerald did know about Plame's use of State cover, at the time. And he withheld it from Miller. Also, Miller later learned from Scooter Libby's lawyer that Fitzgerald's real game was to get Libby to give up Vice-President Cheney; “Fitzgerald had twice offered to drop all charges against Libby if his client would ‘deliver’ Cheney to him.”

Another thing the commenters at Tom Maguire's blog thought to be the case at that time.

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