Monday, October 24, 2005

The Non-Judy Miller Story

Judy Miller, despite the media’s obsessively fixation on her, is not the subject of Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation. She is a witness, along with a half dozen other journalists, to a possible crime. The crime involves the abuse of power by government officials and the misuse of classified information. The evidence is not merely journalists’ recollections. It includes White House logs, emails traffic,and a classified memo marked "secret" that had been s circulated on Air Force One. The targets are government officials who misused this information for political ends or attempted to cover-up the illicit acts.
Here is basically what happened :
1) Nick Kristof wrote a column in the New York Times on May 6, 2003 wrongly suggesting that Vice President Cheney had sent Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate WMDs (It was the CIA, not Cheney, that choose and dispatched Wilson.)
2) Cheney sent a request for information about Wilson to CIA Director George Tenet right after the New York Times story appeared. Tenet informed him that Wilson's wife was a CIA officer.
3) On June 12, 2003, according to Libby's notes, he learned from Cheney that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA officer.
4)Libby subsequenly leake that information to journalists. He discussed it with Judy Miller on June 23, 2003. Meanwhile, Rove and possibly other officials in the administration also "leaked" Wilson's wife's CIA status to other journalists. This "leaking" activity may have involved a conspiracy to misuse classified information.
5) Wilson's op-ed piece was published July 6, 2003.
6) A week later Novak published the information, followed by Cooper. .

Judy Miller did not disclose the name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame– which she mispelled "Flame" in her notes– to a single person before Novak’s story. She did not write about it or discuss it on talk shows. If the White House had tried to use her to publish a damaging story on Wison, they clearly failed. Either she saw that Wilson's wife’s identity was a non-story or she believed it was impolitical to undermine a prior New York Times op-ed position.

It is a pure misunderstanding of the media– and of the self-serving blogs-- that this is, as the New York Times calls it, The "Judy Miller Case" or "Miller Mess."