Sunday, August 07, 2005

Scooter Libby & Judith Miller Conspiracy

Judith Miller, New York Times reporter who is currently in jail for failing to cooperate with the special investigator in the CIA leak case, met with Scooter Libby before Valerie Plame's identity was disclosed.

The American Prospect reports as found on the Huffington Post:

"Lewis Scooter Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, has told federal investigators that he met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003, and discussed CIA operative Valerie Plame, according to legal sources familiar with Libby's account.

The meeting between Libby and Miller has been a central focus of the investigation by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald as to whether any Bush administration official broke the law by unmasking Plame's identity or relied on classified information to discredit former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, according to sources close to the case as well as documents filed in federal court by Fitzgerald.

The meeting took place in Washington, D.C., six days before columnist Robert Novak wrote his now-infamous column unmasking Plame as a 'CIA operative.' Although little noticed at the time, Novak's column would cause the appointment of a special prosecutor, ultimately place in potential legal jeopardy senior advisers to the president of the United States, and lead to the jailing of a New York Times reporter.

The meeting between Libby and Miller also occurred during a week of intense activity by Libby and White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove aimed at discrediting Plame's husband, Wilson, who on July 6, 2003, had gone public in a New York Times opinion piece with allegations that the Bush administration was misrepresenting intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq.


The new disclosure that Miller and Libby met on July 8, 2003, raises questions regarding claims by President Bush that he and everyone in his administration have done everything possible to assist Fitzgerald's grand-jury probe. Sources close to the investigation, and private attorneys representing clients embroiled in the federal probe, said that Libby's failure to produce a personal waiver may have played a significant role in Miller’s decision not to testify about her conversations with Libby, including the one on July 8, 2003."
Apparently Miller was willing to take one for the team (Cheney and Libby), but I'm betting that Novak has already testified against Libby. Novak is apparently under a lot of stress as evidenced by his inability to contain his anger on CNN Friday. I'm guessing that Fitzgerald needs Miller's testimony to corroborate Novak's.

Libby has reportedly told Fitzgerald that he first learned of Plame's identity from NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert. But Russert has told investigators that he never told Libby about Plame. Rove said that he first learned the information from his conversation with Robert Novak.

By saying that they learned the information from reporters, the stakes are dramatically raised for the two White House aides: If it turns out that it can be shown that they learned the information from a classified source, such as the State Department memo, they could be in legal jeopardy for disclosing classified information. And if they misled investigators or the federal grand jury on that question, that trouble could be compounded.