Patterico's Pontifications


The Power of the Jump™: Those Non-Confidential Confidential Sources, Part 2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

Once again, on the front page, the L.A. Times reports on the Judith Miller case as a straightforward question of protecting a confidential source — while burying contrary evidence on the back pages. In a story titled Journalist Freed to Testify in Plame Case, this material appears on the front page:

WASHINGTON — New York Times reporter Judith Miller, jailed since July 6 for refusing to reveal a confidential source, was freed Thursday after agreeing to testify about her conversations with the source.

Miller is expected to appear today before a federal grand jury investigating whether anyone in the Bush administration leaked the name of a covert CIA officer to reporters.

Her surprise release, negotiated between Times lawyers and a Justice Department special prosecutor, came after Miller received what the newspaper described as “a direct and un-coerced waiver” from her source that released her from any pledge of confidentiality and enabled her to testify.

You have to go to Page A13 to learn that the source was already non-confidential before Miller ever went to jail:

According to the [New York] Times account, [I. Lewis “Scooter”] Libby [the source] and [Joseph] Tate [his lawyer] strenuously argued that a waiver Libby had provided more than a year earlier was adequate to cover Miller, and that additional assurances were unnecessary.

People close to the case speculated that the possibility of a grueling and seemingly endless jail term may also have been a factor in the resolution.

As I noted last night, Miller had the waiver all along. But if you read only the front page, as most people do, you’ll never know that the “confidential” source wasn’t really confidential at all. But sssshhhhh! It’s all about blowing up Miller into a media martyr.

P.S. This isn’t the first time the paper has done this.

21 Responses to “The Power of the Jump™: Those Non-Confidential Confidential Sources, Part 2”

  1. precisely. NYTimes is probably paying her a bonus for her jail time.

    jp (c62ed0)

  2. So Judith has managed to enrage both the left and right. But she may still be in good standing with her media cohorts.

    The left is upset since, for example:

    Truth be told, Miller is the lady whose terrifying front page NYT stories hyped the whole Iraq WMD story’s credibility to the point where it was widely accepted (I mean, the NYT is a left-wing publication, isn’t it?). This whole Plame-Wilson scandal is really just a subtext of that one massive lie. If Fitzgerald is releasing Miller from further testimony for the purpose of his own inquiry, that is one thing. But eventually, Miller must still be forced to testify about the WMD lies as well.

    Indictments are expected as early as next week. Things just got a whole lot worse for Bush & Co…

    But you seem to think the only thing she has to hide is Libby as the source of outing Plame. She may expose WMD lies too.

    Drip, drip, drip…

    Tillman (1cf529)

  3. Slightly above a whisper,

    Always remember, NY Times reporters Miller and Cooper worked on several articles together but perhaps most significantly on the Wilson/Plame story. Cooper is married to Mandy Grundwald. Mandy, along with James Carvil and Paul Begala ran the Clinton War Room, and were responsible for much of the politics of personal destruction so characteristic of Bill and Hill’s approach to criticism or disclosure. If you are the sort that takes a second look at coincidence, take note. If not, move on.

    There are many strong currents at work below the surface here, and too many powerful people with exposure to high risk revelations to take Yellowcake Joe and his secret agent wife at face value. There’s something rotten in DC and Miller just might not be able to keep the lid on much longer. We shall see.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  4. First Katrina, then Rita, then Roberts, and now THIS! WHAT ABOUT ME?!

    Cindy Sheehan (6128b4)

  5. Methinks there were 901 FBI files on “loan” to the Clintons.


    Gbear (6a100c)

  6. “But you seem to think the only thing she has to hide is Libby as the source of outing Plame. She may expose WMD lies too.”

    She cannot have been hiding that unless Libby perjured himself in front of the grand jury. Libby already testified about his conversations with Miller – the prosecuter wanted Miller’s version of the same conversation. Whatever she was/is hiding it has nothing to do with Libby.

    nittypig (4c1c43)

  7. Nothing makes much sense from what has been written so far in the MSM. With only four weeks to go she suddenly found great respect for the judicial system?

    Just wondering if there were some new deadline, say the last day of September, before the special prosecutor threatened to file criminal obstruction charges. Incarceration on a finding of criminal obstruction charges wouldn’t expire with the end of the grand jury. Something had to motivate her.

    Perhaps it was the threat of a very long stay from a very ticked off judge that made her change her mind. Nothing else makes much sense.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  8. Correction to my post #7.

    I should have said criminal contempt charges not criminal obstruction charges.

    Corky Boyd

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  9. Right you are! It has been SOP at the LAT for 45 years.

    Rod Stanton (08fb0d)

  10. #2, Tillman, you’re funny.

    But you seem to think the only thing she has to hide is Libby as the source of outing Plame. She may expose WMD lies too.

    A reporter for the NYT did jail time to protect the Bush administration–do you really think that?

    Bostonian (a37519)

  11. Bostonian, but that reporter has been freed because she agreed to talk about the Bush administration, so you do have cause for concern.

    Who knows though – maybe the only person her testimony will harm will be Libby.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  12. Tillman, you’re imagining (hallucinating really) that a reporter for the NYT would need to be *persuaded* to dish dirt on the Bush administration.

    You know, the NYT? The paper that regularly assassinates GWB’s character?

    Bostonian (a37519)

  13. Bostonian – you’re not being consistent with your argument here. At first, you want me to believe that she wouldn’t harm BushCo since she served time for them. Now you are implying that she is a just a leftist hack? Which is it?

    What do I believe? I don’t know. All I know is that she says that she stayed in prison to protect the identities of her informant(s).

    Tillman (1cf529)

  14. Evidently, the same telepathic powers that allowed her to know the original waiver was given under duress,assured her this one wasn’t.But,isn’t it too much of an advantage over other journalists that she has abilities?

    lincoln (fa1e21)

  15. The prosecutor’s reported agreement to limit his questions to Libby is probably the reason she agreed to testify.

    Stu707 (7c4f65)

  16. Tillman, I’ve been quite consistent. I think it is ludicrous to believe that a NYT reporter would undergo any inconvenience (let alone serve jail time) to protect any Republican (let alone the evil chimpwhateverHalliburton guy).

    I’m amused by your highly entertaining interpretation of my remarks.

    Stu, I think you’re quite right, and I don’t think the prosecutor was right to go along with it. What criminal gets to choose the questions to answer? What criminal gets to choose the line of questioning? It’s not right.

    Bostonian (34df6e)

  17. Tillman, it’s called sarcasm. You might want to look that up.

    Bostonian (34df6e)

  18. The WaPo article linked by Powerline says she agreed to testify after receiving a second waiver from her source (Libby) and after

    her lawyer approached the special prosecutor in the leak investigation and received an assurance that her testimony would be narrowly limited to her communications with the source.

    Miller added:

    “Believe me, I did not want to be in jail. But I would have stayed even longer if I had not achieved these two things: the personal waiver and the narrow . . . testimony.”

    The speculation is that she had more than one source and she is protecting someone other than Libby. But I have another interpretation of her conversion — one that received minor attention when she first went to jail, namely that Fitzgerald would use Miller’s appearance before the grand jury to question her under oath about this:

    In an earlier, unrelated clash, Fitzgerald had accused Miller of compromising a probe into Islamic charities by phoning one of the groups just before a government crackdown. Launching a leak investigation, he tried to get ahold of Miller’s phone records and those of a colleague at the Times. The Times claimed its reporters were following standard practice and that there was no evidence they compromised a federal investigation. A federal judge quashed Fitzgerald’s subpoenas.

    More detail here.

    So it may be that WaPo misreported that Fitzgerald agreed to narrow his questions to those about the source when in fact it was to narrow it questions about any source related to the Plame matter (as opposed to extraneous matters such as the Islamic charity investigations).

    capitano (f6cfb0)

  19. Much Ado About Nothing?

    I’m so confused….

    Sierra Faith (84540f)

  20. Two little questions:

    Who or what might have the power to compel Miller to rush headlong into the very significant crime of alerting the “Muslim Charity” to an impending FBI search?

    Who knew about the warrant, and informed Miller so she could employ her journalist’s First Amendment protections to shield possible terrorist activities from coming to light?

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  21. I suspect Judith had nothing to report in the first place but wanted to appear as if she did. She couldn’t admit that – so opted to go to jail in order to be seen as a martyr instead of a liar.

    Lighthouse12 (b684a2)

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