Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 15, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

MILLER TALKS, PART 2....The main New York Times story about Judith Miller and the Valerie Plame case is only moderately interesting. There's some dissing of Miller and some description of internal dissension at the Times, but nothing we haven't heard before.

However, there's also a description of the initial meeting at the Times where they discussed whether Miller should testify before the grand jury. The Times' attorney is Floyd Abrams and Scooter Libby's attorney is Joseph Tate:

Mr. Abrams told Ms. Miller and the group that Mr. Tate said she was free to testify. Mr. Abrams said Mr. Tate also passed along some information about Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony: that he had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson's wife.

That raised a potential conflict for Ms. Miller. Did the references in her notes to "Valerie Flame" and "Victoria Wilson" suggest that she would have to contradict Mr. Libby's account of their conversations? Ms. Miller said in an interview that she concluded that Mr. Tate was sending her a message that Mr. Libby did not want her to testify.

According to Ms. Miller, this was what Mr. Abrams told her about his conversation with Mr. Tate: "He was pressing about what you would say. When I wouldn't give him an assurance that you would exonerate Libby, if you were to cooperate, he then immediately gave me this, 'Don't go there, or, we don't want you there.' "

...."Judy believed Libby was afraid of her testimony," [Times editor Bill] Keller said, noting that he did not know the basis for the fear. "She thought Libby had reason to be afraid of her testimony."

Italics mine. Tate denies this interpretation, of course, but Miller's view is clear: Libby didn't want her to testify because he knew she would contradict his earlier testimony to the grand jury. Draw your own conclusions.

Kevin Drum 6:51 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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