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Judith Miller's Strange Voluntary 85-Day Lock-Up
By Dave Lindorff
Judith Miller really must have a lot of embarrassing things to hide.
She has portrayed herself as a noble journalist going to jail to protect her source's identity, and to uphold a journalistic principle.
The only problem is, her source didn't need protection. The source, VP Dick Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, says he told her quite clearly a year ago that she was free to discuss him and their conversation with Justice Department Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is leading a federal grand jury investigation into the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.
That is to say, Miller had no reason to refuse to testify, to face a contempt charge, and to go to jail.
Miller claims she "wasn’t sure" that Libby’s releasing her from their confidentiality agreement was sincere or freely given. She "fretted" that the poor fellow (one of the most powerful and influential men in Washington) might have been coerced by his bosses, Cheney and Bush.
But Libby, through his attorney, insists he was not coerced and that he made that clear to Miller a year ago.
This all seems passing strange, doesn't it? The woman just did 85 days in the can on a civil contempt of court rap because she allegedly didn't believe that her source was being honest with her when he said she was free to talk about their conversations with the prosecutor?
Curiously though, Miller is not one to give much thought to the veracity of what her sources are telling her. After all, she certainly never questioned the sincerity of her sources, like Ahmad Chalabi (and Libby), when they were spilling their lies in her ear regarding uranium yellow cake purchases and biological weapons labs and poison gas hoards in Iraq. She took them at their word without even bothering to go to other sources to check them out, writing breathless and inaccurate scare stories that her employer, the NY Times, has subsequently had to apologize to readers for.
Maybe she's belatedly decided that these guys can't be trusted to tell the truth?
There has been speculation for some time that Miller, who never did write a story about the Plame case, but who had been a willing propagandist for the Bush administration's pre-Iraq War campaign of scare tactics regarding alleged weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein's hands, and for the cynical "hunt" for those mythical WMDs in the early days of the war and occupation, was actually more a source or at least conveyor of the Plame outing story than a reporter of it.
If so, that would make her bizarre voluntary incarceration in the federal lock-up much more understandable. It would be embarrassing, and damaging to her reputation if it turned out she was behind the Plame outing to the media, or if she had helped White House sources to spread the word to the media.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall of U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s deposition room.