Patterico's Pontifications


Yup, There’s Something Else Going on with Judith Miller’s Jailing

Filed under: Current Events,General — Patterico @ 12:43 pm

John at Power Line has obtained Scooter Libby’s letter to Judith Miller, in this post. He also has a letter from Libby’s lawyer Joseph Tate to the prosecutor, and a letter from Miller’s lawyer Floyd Abrams responding to the assertions in Tate’s letter.

I think the real news here is that the letters make it clear that something else is going on here.

First, Libby’s letter to Miller makes it crystal clear not only that he gave the waiver long ago, but that he did so voluntarily because he thinks Miller’s testimony would help him:

[A]s I am sure will not be news to you, the public report of every other reporter’s testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Mr. Plame’s name or identity with me, or knew about her before our call. I waived the privilege voluntarily to cooperate with the Grand Jury, but also because the reporters’ testimony served my best interests. . . .

[F]or my part, this is the rare case where this “source” would be better off if you testified. That’s one reason why I waived over a year ago, and in large measure, why I write again today. Consider this the Miller Corollary: “It’s okay to testify about a privileged communication, when the person you seek to protect has waived the privilege and would be better off if you testify.”

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

Even more interesting is the fact that the letter from Libby’s lawyer Tate to the prosecutor makes the following assertion:

Over a year ago, I assured [Ms. Miller’s lawyer] that Mr. Libby’s waiver was voluntary and not coerced and she should accept it for what it was. He assured me that he understood me completely. From these discussions I understood quite clearly that her position was not based on a reluctance to testify about her communications with Mr. Libby, but rather went to matters of journalistic principles and to protecting others with whom she may have spoken.

But most interesting of all: the letter from Floyd Abrams (Miller’s lawyer) to Libby’s lawyer (Tate) essentially admits that Miller’s decision not to testify was not based solely on concerns about the validity of Libby’s waiver. Abrams calls Libby’s lawyer a liar on several issues. He claims that Libby’s lawyer made it quite clear that the written waiver was coerced, and sent mixed messages as to what Libby really wanted. BUT! — Miller’s lawyer doesn’t dispute the assertion that Libby’s waiver was not the only factor:

It is certainly true, as your letter suggests, that there were several factors that led Ms. Miller to conclude that she could not testify before the grand jury consistent with her journalistic principles.

Here’s the bottom line. Libby says: “If you had any doubts about my written waiver, you could have called me.” Miller says: “If you really meant what you said in your written waiver, you could have called me.” The obvious question for each is: well, then: why didn’t you make the call?

Libby has a plausible answer: despite Miller’s public statements that she didn’t believe Libby’s waiver to be truly voluntary, Libby’s lawyer had been told that there were other factors in play. So the phone call wouldn’t have made any difference.

What’s Miller’s answer?

UPDATE: This Power Line post makes it even clearer: Miller apparently sat in jail for days until the prosecutor agreed that she would have to testify only concerning her conversations with Libby. Clearly, she is protecting someone else — or there is something else going on. Read the entire post, plus updates, for fascinating speculation to what the something else might be.

UPDATE x2: Tom Maguire says that the agreement to testify only about Libby is meaningless; that’s all she would have had to testify about anyway.

Sing, my sister, take up the thread. What will happen now?

UPDATE x3: It makes me nervous to agree with Arianna Huffington, but I do.

UPDATE x4: Beldar has more.

3 Responses to “Yup, There’s Something Else Going on with Judith Miller’s Jailing”

  1. It couldn’t be as simple (and perverse) that:

    (a) Miller did not want to help Libby if she possibly could avoid it; and

    (b) She was willing to go to jail to avoid that possibility; and

    (c) All the bs about “journalistic principles” was simply a smokescreen to cover this perversity.

    Is this too cynical?

    vnjagvet (d3d48a)

  2. Huffington and Beldar are correct that Miller’s story doesn’t square with the facts, clearly there’s something she wants desperately to keep under wraps. So much so that Miller would rather smear Libby, rot in jail, and make herself out to be a fool rather than reveal.

    By staying in jail even after she had obtained written confirmation Libby’s initial release was freely given, Miller demonstrates the extent of her fears, and the extremes she’s prepared to go to prevent disclosure.

    Miller’s game is both dangerous and ultimately self-defeating, one which will only increase the already wide spread interest in finding and telling her secrets. Key will be where she got the tip about the FBI search warrant for the Muslim Charity, and why she then tipped the terrorist front a search was eminent.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  3. Does her agreement with the prosecutor mean he can’t ask a general question of her like:

    “Do you have _any_ further information that may assist this investigation?”

    Al (00c56b)

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