Patterico's Pontifications

9/29/2005

Judith Miller to Testify, Now That Her Source Has Authorized Her To — Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:48 pm

Back in July, I noted that Judith Miller’s source had given her a written waiver allowing her to testify — and that the L.A. Times, anxious to portray the controversy as a test of press freedoms, had buried that fact on page A18. A couple of you commenters (you know who you are) said you didn’t buy the assertion that the source had given a truly voluntary waiver.

Now, Miller has been released from jail, and has agreed to testify. Orin Kerr collects a couple of links that explain what happened. See if any of this sounds familiar:

(All emphasis in the quotation of Kerr’s post is mine:)

According to Editor & Publisher, Miller agreed to testify after speaking with Dick Cheney’s chief of staff:

“She was released after she had a telephone conversation with the Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, sources said. In that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, sources said.

The New York Times offers this report:

The agreement that led to Ms. Miller’s release followed intense negotiations between Ms. Miller; her lawyer, Robert Bennett; Mr. Libby’s lawyer, Joseph Tate; and Mr. Fitzgerald. The talks began with a telephone call from Mr. Bennett to Mr. Tate in late August. Ms. Miller spoke with Mr. Libby by telephone earlier this month as their lawyers listened, according to people briefed on the matter. It was then that Mr. Libby told Ms. Miller that she had his personal and voluntary waiver.

But the discussions were at times strained, with Mr. Libby and Mr. Tate asserting that they communicated their voluntary waiver to Ms. Miller’s lawyers more than year ago, according to those briefed on the case. Mr. Libby wrote to Ms. Miller in mid-September, saying that he believed her lawyers understood that his waiver was voluntary.

Others involved in the case have said that Ms. Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given and did not accept it until she had heard from him directly.

Am I missing something, or was the jailing of Judith Miller not about high principle and the First Amendment but about a factual dispute as to whether Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff had really waived his confidentiality?

What do you guys say now? Her source released her ages ago. She’s no hero, and this was never about protecting about confidential sources. I think that was clear before, and it’s clearer than ever now.

6 Responses to “Judith Miller to Testify, Now That Her Source Has Authorized Her To — Again”

  1. It’s not about Libby, who was a secondary source, but about protecting her primary source, who is?

    jd watson (e27eeb)

  2. It’s Miller Time

    NY Times reporter Judith Miller is out of jail and set to testify. I’m with Orinon this. Something seems fishy… Just One Minute, Powerline, and Patterico have more….

    Confederate Yankee (1483fa)

  3. As I said over at VC, it seems to me most likely Miller’s claim of coercion vis-a-vis Libby’s wavier was nothing more than an excuse to keep her name in the news and raise her profile in furtherance of her own ambition.

    The Times itself has a pretty good article on that issue, and after reading it I came away more convinced than ever that Miller is sacrificing a little of her freedom on the altar of self-promotion.

    Glenn (282511)

  4. I agree. It was about making herself into a martyr to restore her ex post Curveball reputation.

    Geek, Esq. (5dd2be)

  5. It’s total BS.

    I asked at the time if she was refusing to testify because of some generalized fear of coerced waivers, wasn’t she under some affirmative duty to contact her sources to confirm their “voluntariness?”

    Hell, she could have called Libby directly from jail if necessary.

    capitano (f6cfb0)

  6. Or her lawyer could have contacted his lawyer. Oh wait he did. But not until she’d been in jail for 6 weeks or something. Why the delay?

    Either her legal representation was MUCH worse than Cooper’s or she had a reason not to get hold of Libby’s team before she had spent over a month in jail. I would bet on the latter.

    nittypig (4c1c43)


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