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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Victoria's Secret or The Flame Wars

Judas Miller and Judith Shiller attempt to explain to her colleagues how the names "Valerie Flame" and "Victoria Wilson" found themselves in the notebook she used when interviewing scooter Libby.

Ms. Miller said her notes leave open the possibility that Mr. Libby told her Mr. Wilson's wife might work at the agency.

That is it is possible that Libby said that Ms Wilson might work for the agency but they prove that he didn't say that she defnitely does work for the agency. That must be some special notebook. Ms Killer might be using might in every sentance because she might prefer to keep everything as vague as possible but I don't see how notes could be so clever.

Ms. Miller said in an interview that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that a story be pursued. "I was told no," she said. She would not identify the editor.

Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation.

Now this doesn't mean that Miller is a liar. She is just very devout of the "God is my editor" school. It is clear she considers no mere mortal worthy of the role.

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.

Sure sounds to me that Mr Tate was suborning perjury no ? I agree with Mark Kleiman that that lawyer needs a lawyer.

Even more explicitly

Three days later, Ms. Miller heard from Mr. Libby.

In a folksy, conversational two-page letter dated Sept. 15, Mr. Libby assured Ms. Miller that he had wanted her to testify about their conversations all along. "I believed a year ago, as now, that testimony by all will benefit all," he wrote. And he noted that "the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me."

When Ms. Miller testified before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald asked her about the letter. She said she responded that it could be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby "to suggest that I, too, would say that we had not discussed Ms. Plame's identity." But she added that "my notes suggested that we had discussed her job."

This and the part about conversations in July (not mentioning the conversation in June and thus telling Miller that she shouldn't) are clearly obstruction of justice.

Update: In her own article Miller wrote "My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A." May and might are both weasle words but, don't you think the Paper of Record would be more precise when quoting itself ?

Somewhat importantly Miller herself is quite definite about her notes. Sounds like Libby was leaking the fact as a possibility in an effort to avoid the IIPA. Too bad for him that he clearly broke the espionage act. Miller's article definitely states that Libby committed a crime.

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