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Judy Miller continues lying

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News

New York Times reporter Judith Miller "distinguished" herself in the runup
to the invasion of Iraq by uncritically passing on government propaganda
about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Since countervailing
information on those subjects (for example, on the famous aluminum tubes)
was known at the time, Miller's omission of any semblance of balance from
her articles can only be construed as lying, by omission if not by

Now, in what appears to be more of a carefully prepared legal document and
less an actual newspaper article, Miller has written about "My Four Hours
Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room" and continues her tradition of
distorting the truth. The key to reading this article is to discard the
chaff and get to the heart of the matter - her discussions with "Scooter"
Libby about Valerie Plame (Wilson). And if you concentrate on just those
parts, one thing is clear as a bell -- either Judith Miller is lying about
those conversations, or she engages in very strange conversations indeed.

Of her first conversation with Libby, on June 23, 2003, Miller resorts to
standard obfuscations, like "my notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified
Mr. Wilson's wife by name." But her name itself is completely irrelevant.
What did Libby say? "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?'" [Miller explains that this is a reference to a specific bureau in
the CIA, not the FBI]. That's it. Miller wants us to believe that she was
interviewing Libby about Joseph Wilson, and that Libby just "happened" to
mention where Wilson's wife works, with no reason to do so and no
elaboration. Sure he did.

The same turns out to be the case in her second conversation with Libby on
July 8, if we are to believe what Miller writes:

"At that breakfast meeting, 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."
OK, let's look at this first from the broad view and then focus in a bit. In
the broad view, Miller is asking us once again to believe that the subject
of Joe Wilson's wife came up, and where she worked, without the slightest
reason for this to happen. It wasn't discussed in the context of nepotism,
and it wasn't discussed in the context that she had helped arrange Wilson's
trip to Niger. So why on earth was it discussed? Miller evidently wants us
to believe (without saying so) that she was just engaging in idle chit-chat
with an interviewee about the employment of the wife of someone they were
discussing. Sure they were.

Look more closely and you'll see that Miller can't even keep her story
straight. On July 8, she claims, she's not sure she knew "Ms. Plame's
identity." Why does she refer to "Ms. Plame", by the way? Her notes refer
only to "wife", and she's already told us that on June 23, she had been told
that Wilson's wife worked in the "bureau." On July 8, she asserts, this was
the first time she had heard that Wilson's wife "worked for Winpac." But on
June 23, she was told that she worked in "the bureau," and she makes clear
that she knows that "the bureau" refers to "a particular bureau within the
agency that dealt with the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons," i.e., Winpac. The woman is a liar. It's as plain as the words on
the page she has written.

A couple other curiousities worth noting. How about this: "Mr. Fitzgerald
asked me if I knew whether I was cleared to discuss classified information
at the time of my meetings with Mr. Libby. I said I did not know." She's
going into a meeting with a top government official to discuss possibily
classified information, she's been an investigative reporter covering
national intelligence issues for the New York Times for three decades, and
she doesn't know (or, apparently, care) whether she is cleared to discuss
classified information in that meeting? You've got to be kidding.

And how about this one:

"Mr. Fitzgerald asked about a notation I made on the first page of my notes
about this July 8 meeting, 'Former Hill staffer.'

"My recollection, I told him, was that Mr. Libby wanted to modify our prior
understanding that I would attribute information from him to a 'senior
administration official.' When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby
requested that he be identified only as a 'former Hill staffer.' I agreed to
the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on
Capitol Hill."

So, not only is she willing to maintain the secrecy of her sources, but she
is even willing to help her source mislead the world into the very origin of
the information. Quite the trustworthy reporter, is Judy.



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I'm astonished by the brazenness of the administration making this out like an error. First, they do everything they can to silence Wilson and make his trip sound like some trick cooked up by democratic partisans trying to discredit the "reality" of WMD... then they criticize the CIA for not warning them away from the WMD story - since it's obvious that there were no WMD. They can't have it both ways.

judy miller is no amy GOODMAN

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