« APB | Main | AP Photo Editors Spin On The Iraqi Vote »

Judith Miller Recounts Her Grand Jury Testimony

New York Times reporter Judith Miller recounts her grand jury testimony Sept. 30 and Oct. 12 under questioning by special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Sunday's New York Times.

Here's a brief summary of the first two meetings between Miller and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in Miller's words:

On the afternoon of June 23, 2003, I arrived at the Old Executive Office Building to interview Mr. Libby, who was known to be an avid consumer of prewar intelligence assessments, which were already coming under fierce criticism. The first entry in my reporter's notebook from this interview neatly captured the question foremost in my mind.

"Was the intell slanted?" I wrote, referring to the intelligence assessments of Iraq and underlining the word "slanted."

I recall that Mr. Libby was displeased with what he described as "selective leaking" by the C.I.A. He told me that the agency was engaged in a "hedging strategy" to protect itself in case no weapons were found in Iraq. "If we find it, fine, if not, we hedged," is how he described the strategy, my notes show.

I recall that Mr. Libby was angry about reports suggesting that senior administration officials, including Mr. Cheney, had embraced skimpy intelligence about Iraq's alleged efforts to buy uranium in Africa while ignoring evidence to the contrary. Such reports, he said, according to my notes, were "highly distorted."

Mr. Libby said the vice president's office had indeed pressed the Pentagon and the State Department for more information about reports that Iraq had renewed efforts to buy uranium. And Mr. Cheney, he said, had asked about the potential ramifications of such a purchase. But he added that the C.I.A. "took it upon itself to try and figure out more" by sending a "clandestine guy" to Niger to investigate. I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I thought "clandestine guy" was a reference to Mr. Wilson - Mr. Libby's first reference to him in my notes.

...Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson's wife for the first time. I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, "Wife works in bureau?" I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson's wife might work for the C.I.A. The prosecutor asked me whether the word "bureau" might not mean the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, I told him, normally. But Mr. Libby had been discussing the C.I.A., and therefore my impression was that he had been speaking about a particular bureau within the agency that dealt with the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. As to the question mark, I said I wasn't sure what it meant. Maybe it meant I found the statement interesting. Maybe Mr. Libby was not certain whether Mr. Wilson's wife actually worked there.

And her second meeting.
At that breakfast meeting [July 8th], our conversation also turned to Mr. Wilson's wife. My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: "Wife works at Winpac." Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant. Winpac stood for Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control, the name of a unit within the C.I.A. that, among other things, analyzes the spread of unconventional weapons.

I said I couldn't be certain whether I had known Ms. Plame's identity before this meeting, and I had no clear memory of the context of our conversation that resulted in this notation. But I told the grand jury that I believed that this was the first time I had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for Winpac. In fact, I told the grand jury that when Mr. Libby indicated that Ms. Plame worked for Winpac, I assumed that she worked as an analyst, not as an undercover operative.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me whether Mr. Libby had mentioned nepotism. I said no. And as I told the grand jury, I did not recall - and my interview notes do not show - that Mr. Libby suggested that Ms. Plame had helped arrange her husband's trip to Niger. My notes do suggest that our conversation about Ms. Plame was brief.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.

Fitzgerald is going to have to be quite the gymnast to make something stick to Libby based on Miller's testimony.

This follow-on piece, The Times first substantial reporting on the Miller's role in the investigation into the Plame outing, is a little better at examining Miller's role in the whole Plame story.

My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room - [NYT]


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Judith Miller Recounts Her Grand Jury Testimony:

» The Heretik linked with FROTHINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

» Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense linked with Judy Miller - Breaking the Heart of Rove/Libby Hat

» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with New questions arise in CIA leak probe

Comments (24)

I had a great comment.....b... (Below threshold)
Maggie:

I had a great comment.....but


I just can't recall.

So she spent all this time ... (Below threshold)
sanka:

So she spent all this time in jail for a "source" she couldn't remember? Put her back in jail for being a struggler.

I've always been a lot more... (Below threshold)

I've always been a lot more interested in Novak's testimony than Miller's. I still am.

Novak said in a column that... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Novak said in a column that he called CIA headquarters and they confirmed Plame was an employee, unless he was lying in the column I don't see why they are wasting this much damn money. Unless some folks at the CIA are going down, boy that would be a damn shame, huh? ^^


What I find most telling is... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

What I find most telling is the NYT news article (headlined by Drudge), appearing in the same edition, that says;

"But Ms. Miller said Mr. Libby first raised questions about the diplomat in an interview with her that June, an account suggesting that Mr. Wilson was on the White House's radar before he went public with his criticisms."

So let me get this straight: The fact that Miller's notes pre-date Wilson's criticism of the administration's policy on Iraq is evidence that the administrations's conspiracy against Wilson pre-dated the very criticisms that were the supposed catalyst for the conspiracy?

IMHO, this is the most telling line in the story and sheds a lot of light on what's really going on with this "investigation." The NYT simply cannot conceive of a possible alternative to Rove and Libby (and by extension, Bush and Cheney) being guilty of a crime. They just can't. It simply does not, cannot and will not ever occur to them that an alternative answer is; there simply was no conspiracy.

Hmmmm.IMHO the onl... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

IMHO the only "conspiracy" in existence was:

Plame -> Wilson -> Miller -> everybody.

or

Plame -> Miller -> everybody.

And I think that's why Miller didn't want to be forced to testify about her other contacts. It would reveal either Plame or Wilson as her primary contact and it would also show that Miller had a lot of information fed to her by Plame, directly or indirectly, in violation of federal laws.

I left similiar thoughts in... (Below threshold)
OCSteve:

I left similiar thoughts in a comment on Jay Rosen's post here.

What a waste of tax dollars, people's time, and blogger bandwidth. There's nothing here. You'd have to be Ronnie Earle to get an indictment out of this.

Hmmm Jay's permalink doesn'... (Below threshold)
OCSteve:

Hmmm Jay's permalink doesn't work. Here is what I said over there:

Two points about the first Libby interview:

Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson's wife for the first time.

This was on June 23, almost 2 full weeks before the Wilson op-ed on July 6. So what is Fitzgerald still investigating at this point? Wasn’t the point of the investigation to determine if Plame’s identity was intentionally leaked as retribution for that op-ed? Yet now we know her identity was out 2 weeks prior. Pre-emptive retribution?

I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, "Wife works in bureau?" I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson's wife might work for the C.I.A. The prosecutor asked me whether the word "bureau" might not mean the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, I told him, normally. But Mr. Libby had been discussing the C.I.A., and therefore my impression was that he had been speaking about a particular bureau within the agency…

I don’t buy that at all. Would anyone in DC circles actually write bureau in reference to the CIA? I think most people would immediately think FBI. Is there an organizational unit called bureau within the CIA? I know of Directorates and “desks” – but this would be the first time I ever heard of a bureau within the CIA. Maybe someone more familiar with the organization can comment.

Which leads me to speculate – possibly Libby thought Wilson’s wife worked for the FBI and mentioned that for whatever reason. That wouldn’t leave much left to the case. Libby (incorrectly) mentions Wilson’s wife works for the FBI (not a crime) and its 2 weeks before the op-ed ran so it is certainly not in retribution for that.

I don’t see any indictments coming out of this grand jury.

I am trying to figure out w... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I am trying to figure out why the only candidates for perjury charges are Rove and Libby.

I didn't realize reporters weren't required to tell the truth.

That is one thing that bugs me about this-all the reporters involved appear to have this cloak of truthfulness rapped around them-a reporter is just as capable of lying to save their behind as a government advisor is.

I don't know how this is go... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I don't know how this is going to play out anyomore than anyone else on this board does. But it's always amusing to see people take the slimmest threads and spin them out into all of these scenarios. "Why, if Miller talked to Libby two weeks before the op-ed appeared, there's no way it could have been part of a White House attempt to smear Wilson. Case closed." Well, I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but there's a fairly simple explanation. Do you think Wilson wrote his op-ed the day before it appeared, or perhaps a couple of weeks earlier? Do you think he contacted the Times about it the day before it appeared, or he was working with them as he submitted the idea for the op-ed, then his article went therough editing? Miller, who was a huge champion of the whole WMD theory, was supposedly furious that the paper ran Wilson's piece. Is there any possibility that she knew about the op-ed, and let her friends in the White House know? Or that the White House had other information sources that tipped them off to the op-ed?

I have no idea if any of this is true. But I think it's a little silly to assume that no one could have known about this article until the day it appeared. These theories have a little of the stink of desperation about them.

Hmmm."So let me ge... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"So let me get this straight: The fact that Miller's notes pre-date Wilson's criticism of the administration's policy on Iraq is evidence that the administrations's conspiracy against Wilson pre-dated the very criticisms that were the supposed catalyst for the conspiracy?"

This has been addressed repeatedly, endlessly and to death.

Pincus. Kristof. Google. Read. Comprehend.

Thank you.

Hey edPerhaps you ... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Hey ed

Perhaps you could enlighten me. I've read quite a bit about this case, and I don't know what you're talking about. I was referencing people saying in this thread that the fact that Miller's notes predate the publication of Wilson's op-ed means that Wilson and Plame had to be her sources. Are you really suggesting that all you need as a response is "Google Pincus and Kristof"? What, am I supposed to go back and re-read everything those two have written on this, and then try to figure out your point? How about if I work on making my points, and you work on making yours. And I believe the June conversation between Miller and Libby was just revealed when she went in front of the grand jury, so I'm not sure how it has been "addressed repeatedly, endlessly and to death."

Hmmm.Kristof publi... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Kristof published the first, and very erroneous, accounts prompted by Wilson. Basically Wilson used Kristof to advance a specific political position that was oriented against Bush's administration. There are a few people who think Wilson did the same thing with Pincus. Both of these articles came out prior to Wilson's Op-Ed piece in the NYT.

Which is why people in the White House would be discussing Wilson. Not just because he was feeding information to a NYT writer, but because he was feeding bad information too.

It's interesting that Wilson has been proven to have lied to any number of people. Lies that have been dismissed with the airy "I was misquoted" or "I misspoke".

But the point is that there were reasons to investigate Wilson far earlier than Wilson's Op-Ed opus.

Hmmm.Google search... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Google search:

Pincus + Kristof

Washington Post story: Sunday, October 12, 2003; Page A01
link

The first public mention of Wilson's mission to Niger, albeit without identifying him by name, was in the New York Times on May 6, in a column by Nicholas D. Kristof. Kristof had been on a panel with Wilson four days earlier, when the former ambassador said State Department officials should know better than to say the United States had been duped by forged documents that allegedly had proved a deal for the uranium had been in the works between Iraq and Niger.
Hi ed, how do I luv thee, I... (Below threshold)
BR:

Hi ed, how do I luv thee, I can't count the number of ways... or something like that ;)

There's them that have finished the puzzle in July already, now occupied with writing funny codes to each other about aspens and falling, turning trees with shared roots, a veritable cornucopia, in marathon threads,

and them who are nice people who think it's nothing because they correctly think the WH was not the source but oh boy are they going to be happily surprised when they see the hoist-by-own-turd start unravelling on the Plame/CIA/MSM/DNC gang,

and then there's them 'batty ones who still think Rove Did It and expect us to share our linky-links with them, ha!

(Well, okay, the last category can go there and start reading Archives from 1999.)

Sorry, if this triple posts... (Below threshold)
BR:

Sorry, if this triple posts - just my generosity infecting the wizbang software :) (It keeps telling me I'm using bad language!)

And not only was Wilson there with Kristof, the wives (well at least one of them, sometimes known as Vicki by people like Isikoff and other times known as Victoria by Miller, when she's not in a f l a m e mood) went along too!
Vanity Fair Jan 04: "Wilson and Plame attended a conference sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at which Wilson spoke about Iraq; one of the other panelists was the New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof. Over breakfast the next morning with Kristof and his wife, Wilson told about his trip to Niger and said Kristof could write about it, but not name him…. Kristof's column appeared on May 6."

The contrived "classified" ... (Below threshold)
BR:

The contrived "classified" INR Memo's date is 6/10/03.

Three days later, there was a tremendous coverup in NYT Kristof 6/13/03 article. It contains numerous falsehoods, but its main theme was to distance Wilson from the forged Feb 02 Niger docs Wilson described in the earlier NYT Kristof 5/6/03 article.

And French connection to the forged Niger docs are here:

UK Telegraph 9/5/04 and UK Telegraph 9/19/04.

And if Wizbang software allowed more than 5 links per post, I'd also link Hersh's "Stovepipe" article in which he says the CIA forged the Niger docs... (hidden way at the end of the article, of course, and with disinfo on the date of the forgeries, of course, that was the intent of his source), but I'll let someone else put the last piece in the puzzle :)

OK, people are posting here... (Below threshold)
Chris:

OK, people are posting here and elsewhere that Miller talked to Libby before his op-ed appeared, so it couldn't have been part of a White House smear campaign. Because the article hadn't yet appeared, Wilson wouldn't yet be in their sites. For example, this post from OCSteve:

"This was on June 23, almost 2 full weeks before the Wilson op-ed on July 6. So what is Fitzgerald still investigating at this point? Wasn’t the point of the investigation to determine if Plame’s identity was intentionally leaked as retribution for that op-ed? Yet now we know her identity was out 2 weeks prior. Pre-emptive retribution?"

I point out that, among other things, the White House could have known the op-ed was coming, so they could indeed have already decided to get Wilson at the time of Miller's first conversation with Libby. Then ed points out to me that there are other ways the White House could have known about Wilson, as if that somehow rebuts what I had to say. I presented one scenario. The fact that there were other opportunities to find out about the article only supports what I have to say. To wit, those on the right who claim the timing of the first Libby-Miller interview means Fitzgerald doesn't have a case are completely off-base. Hey ed, Read. Comprehend.

Hmmm.1. "Hey ed, R... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. "Hey ed, Read. Comprehend."

My point is extremely simple. That there were reasons for the White House to investigate Wilson long before his Op-Ed piece was published. These reasons did not require advanced knowledge of the Op-Ed piece nor did it require the NYT to leak anything to the White House.

In other words, what I was contesting was your contention that the NYT or Wilson would have given the White House a heads-up on the article. Which is why I quoted that specific text and nothing else.

That's pretty much it.

BTW the reason why I suggested you Google Kristof + Pincus is that the topmost article, by Pincus of the Washington Post, is the relevant one that covers this issue. Which frankly a lot more to the point than my writing this entire comment.

2. "OK, people are posting here and elsewhere that Miller talked to Libby before his op-ed appeared, so it couldn't have been part of a White House smear campaign."

No, as I pointed out, Wilson was known to have been involved in an erroneous NYT article, written by Kristof in May, that attacked the Bush administration's position. This gave the White House plenty of reason to investigate Wilson long before his Op-Ed piece.

...

I.e. I am agreeing with you that the White House had reasons to investigate Wilson prior to the Op-Ed piece in the NYT. I don't necessarily agree on your conclusions, but it is not correct that the White House didn't have any cause to investigate Wilson.

Frankly I don't know how to write it any clearer than that.

3. ""So let me get this straight: The fact that Miller's notes pre-date Wilson's criticism of the administration's policy on Iraq is evidence that the administrations's conspiracy against Wilson pre-dated the very criticisms that were the supposed catalyst for the conspiracy?""

The answer is: No.

The White House's investigation of Wilson could easily have been generated by Wilson's participation in the Kristof article of May 6.

Really now. Do I have to re-write the same thing again?

Hmmmm."The fact th... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"The fact that there were other opportunities to find out about the article only supports what I have to say."

Yes, which is why I pointed you to that article. It has been known for quite some time that Wilson was involved as a source for Kristof's May 6 article in the NYT. This is more than sufficient reason for the White House to investigate Wilson and his role.

"To wit, those on the right who claim the timing of the first Libby-Miller interview means Fitzgerald doesn't have a case are completely off-base."

Yes that is correct. The timing of Miller and Libby's interview is largely irrelevant because it was occasioned by, and long after, Kristof's May 6 article.

Misunderstandings are commonplace on blogs, particularly political ones. I certainly hope I've gotten my point across though. Please note that I may not agree with your conclusions, but the point is that Wilson had shown up on the political radar prior to his very public Op-Ed.

Here's wata I find interres... (Below threshold)

Here's wata I find interresting: I have a voice recorder, but my job in no way requires me to record conversations or notes...I bought it to record some stories for my daughter when she was in the hospital. It was cheap enough I could use it for a few months and toss it. Why would Mrs. Miller not have recorded any of her conversations? Why just notes that she could take out of context if she didn't recall the conversation correctly? Just wondering.

Hmmmm.I would expe... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I would expect that the conversation would be recorded, and then transcribed and the recording device reused. This would overwrite and destroy the original recording.

*shrug* journalists aren't the most tech-oriented people around. Personally I'd have used a digital recording device and then offloaded the recording onto a computer or external disk.

But the few journalists I know are lucky if they can use an iPod.

- So now we have fellow jou... (Below threshold)

- So now we have fellow journalists calling for the outright firing of Ms Miller, even while she now says she doesn't believe Libby told her any of the things this entire lefty/left media "Get Rove" witch hunt was based on in the first place, and what he did tell her was inaccurate and already legal public information.

- We await with bated breath for the NYT to charge Rove and his deputy with actually revealing the existance of the secret government agency, the CIA.

- How many times does the left have to repeat the Rathergate fiasco theme before they get it. With enema's like this Rove has nothing to worry about.

I would imagine the reason ... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I would imagine the reason Miller didn't use a recorder is because in most states it's illegal to record a conversation without the permission of every party to the conversation. I think it would put quite a chill on most of those off the record conversations if the reporter told the source they were being taped.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy