Sunday, August 07, 2005

Judy: just waiting for a real waiver from Scooter?

I. Lewis "Scooter" "Leaky" Libby & Judy Miller met up in DC on July 8, 2003 - 2 days after Joe Wilson's Times OP/ED piece indicating that BushCo knowingly lied in its reasoning for going to war and 6 days prior to Novakula's now infamous column outing Wilson's wife as a CIA operative. As American Prospect points out, the recent discovery of the Libby-Miller tete-a-tete occurred during a time period of intense cooperation between WH political and national security operations to discredit Joe Wilson, and people are questioning whether the President is doing everything he possibly can to assist the grand-jury probe [emphasis added].

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.

Libby signed a more generalized waiver during the early course of the investigation granting journalists the right to testify about their conversations with him if they wished to do so. At least two reporters -- Walter Pincus of The Washington Post and Tim Russert of NBC -- have testified about their conversations with Libby.

But Miller has said she would not consider providing any information to investigators about conversations with Libby or anyone else without a more specific, or personal, waiver. Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, has previously said Miller had not been granted "any kind of a waiver … that she finds persuasive or believes was freely given."

Libby has never offered to provide such a personalized waiver for Miller, according to three legal sources with first-hand knowledge of the matter. Joseph A. Tate, an attorney for Libby, declined to comment for this story.

Miller, her attorneys and the NY Times has made it clear on multiple occasions that she will not testify unless provided a specific personal waiver that she believes was "freely" given. It's widely believed that Miller's testimony may provide the final "nail on the head" providing evidence to facilitate the filing of criminal charges and ending the investigation. Last March, Fitzgerald indicated the investigation was stalled pending cooperation of Miller and Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, who subsequently testified.

More specifically, the importance prosecutors attach to learning what occurred during Miller's meeting with Libby is illustrated by a subpoena by Fitzgerald's grand jury of Miller on August 20, 2004, for "any and all documents (including notes, e-mails, or other documents) relating to any conversations, occurring on or about July 6, 2003 to on or about July 13, 2003, between Judith Miller and a government official whom she met in Washington D.C. on July 8, 2003, concerning Valerie Plame Wilson."

Miller was also ordered to bring to the grand jury "documents provided to Judith Miller by such government official on July 8, 2003."

Details of the subpoena to Miller were first disclosed in a story in Newsday by reporter Tom Brune.

In an affidavit prepared by Miller to respond to the request, Miller said she "did not receive any documents" from the person she met, but declined to say who the person was that she met on July 8.

In subsequent court papers filed in federal court by attorneys for Miller and The New York Times, the newspaper said that Miller "had no documents responsive" to Fitzgerald's request of any documents given to her on July 8, 2003.

But Miller's affidavit and other court filings by the Times -- and the narrow language contained therein -- did not say whether Miller might have read or reviewed any documents that might have brought to the July 8, 2003, meeting.

And an attorney in private practice who once worked closely with Fitzgerald while both men were federal prosecutors said that the specific nature of Fitzgerald’s request was a "good indication that [Fitzgerald] has specific information ... or perhaps even a witness who saw, or had other information" that Libby "might have brought documents to the meeting with Miller."

It is unlikely that Libby would grant a specific waiver permitting Miller to implicate himself and/or other WH administration staff and it's quite evident that the president will not force the issue, especially since the leaks and unethical behavior seem to go all the way to the top. By shrouding herself in a faux veil of journalistic integrity by failing to testify and/or turn over documentation regarding those in the administration who continue to put political protection and cronyism above national security, Judy Miller remains complicit in the unethical and potentially criminal behavior of those she is protecting.

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