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November 09, 2005


Gary Maxwell

"An agreement was reached." Severance and confidentiality what other significant terms do expect are in this agreement? If the severance is good she will be on the Beaches of Ipanema soon.

Jim E.

There are a few points to ponder about Judy Miller's departing letter.

She admits she didn't go to jail merely to protect a source, but to "dramatize" the need for a federal shield law. Pretty lame considering this case would have been the exception to any possible shield law anyways. Strange that she would concede to the martyr charge.

She claims that part of the reason she left was that many of her NY Times colleagues were upset at her decision to testify. Is JM really this dense? Does she think that's why most of her colleagues are upset with her?


TM, I love the term you just coined,"bafflegab". Is it trademarked? Can we have permission to use it if we do so judiciously?

Rick Ballard

The luminous clarity fo Mr. Keller's exposition certainly enriched my understanding of the situation at the NYT.

What leadership.


Dear Judy-

Let me further clarify precisely how much I didn't mean anything negative about that whole entanglement/engagement thing.

I never thought you were engaged to Scooter Libby.

Furthermore, I fully supported the New York Times supporting you through your legal difficulties. It's just that, well, when I learned there were legal difficulties, I considered that entanglement. I sooooo didn't mean that it was because it turns out you were protecting a Republican.

Bill Keller


Can we have permission to use it if we do so judiciously?

Thanks, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be known as the father of "bafflegab", although I can find more than one post that would qualify me as a practicioner.

Actually, the word has been around a while, but we can popularize it together.


Keller just brilliantly illustrates Times Influenza. A real damn the torpedos truth seeking editor never would have backed Judy on her summer pop stand, never would have tolerated Kristoff's dancing around the Wilsons, and surely would have made it clear that Calame can trump Krugman.

There is increasing evidence that internal politicking interferes with the pursuit of truth at the NYT. Whoever is in charge needs to change something.


Today's WSJ article quotes JM as saying that her colleagues at the Times were upset with her fro "self-aggrandizing martydom or worse, a deliberate effort to obstruct the prosecutor's inquiry into serious crimes." You see fellow readers the only thing that sunk her was that the apparatchiks at the Times wanted Fitz to take the whole WH down. And they thought Judy was in the way. They got your back at real good at the Times as long as the template is maintained.

american in europe

If Miller has a confidentiality agreement with the Times, could she be forced to break it if she is called by Libby's defense? I still think she may have learned that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA (and perhaps even overheard her name -- Flame?) through the grapevine at the Times following Kristof's first article on Wilson. That could be of interest to the defense.



ON Imus this am, (around 714amest) Mitchell denied knowing about Plame before the Novak article on July 13, 2003.

Didn't catch all of it, but she said something about blogs (not sure if she thinks of the opinion lournal online/Taranto as a blog...)

Noteworthy that Al Franken immediately followed her.

Also noteworthy in that the transcript that was being hidden, was 'found' and posted.

scroll down on the link.

This theory has been out there for sometime, but until the opinion journal resurrected it, I couldn't find it.

This is on the heels of the Vallely(sp) revelation. The Huge Sidey connection was also made...funny how the managing editor of Time, the same mag Cooper works for is saying it was known, and other press people knew as well.

Mitchell's denials are going to make Libby's case a breeze. Get a reporter committing perjury to deny knowing Valerie 'Plame', but then show that they are lying. Reasonable doubt about

Libby knows, probably from Judy Miller, who else in the press knew. She will make an excellent defense witness. (How big was her severance package? If she fails to write an in-depth expose' of the editorial staff with all their flaws, then the severance exceeded 10 million dollars.)

Eric Lindholm

"I'm satisfied" = "I got a big payout to keep my mouth shut for a couple of months"


Well paul, I doubt the jury pool will be drawn from the commenters on this blog. Without the expertise regarding the "mendacity" of the MSM, the keen knowledge of every Wilson quote, appearance, taxi ride, outrage de jour since whenever in 2003, the keen ability and interest to humble the NYT, and the keen memory of Andrea Mitchell's body language, the jury is going to have a hard time reconciling Libby's stories.


And Miller's, and Kristoff's, and the Wilsons', and Cooper's, and don't forget al's; he's got the blockbuster, or indictmentcrumpler.

Gary Maxwell

I am becoming less and less convinced this ever gets to trial myself. A confused jury BTW is rarely the ally of the prosecution.


Did she really deny it?



None of those folks were indicted. The prima facie case is made without any of them. You think Libby's excuse for why he lied to the grand jury changes the fact that he lied tothe grand jury? I don't.

Gary Maxwell

You think its Prima facie but lots of posters here who have pored over the transcripts available think differently. Libby is a trained trial lawyer, I just dont bleieve he would be that stupid. And perhaps it different that what it appears "on its face?"

Never gets to trial I still say. Habitat for Humanity gets some free labor for a bit.


You know I don't follow the facts TT, but isn't Fitz's problem with him that he thinks Libby lied to the Grand Jury about a lie he told to another? There's a lot of dubiosity inherent in that little scenario. Intent is going to factor into any resolution of a jury's doubts.


Libby is a trained trial lawyer, I just dont bleieve he would be that stupid. And perhaps it different that what it appears "on its face?"

As our host has so wisely said on more than one occasion, keep hope alive, Gary, keep hope alive!


It's not that hard to keep hope alive with walls crumbling in New York and creeps cowering behind walls in Langley.


ON Imus this am, (around 714amest) Mitchell denied knowing about Plame before the Novak article on July 13, 2003.

Two points:

(a) Assuming she has learned anything at all from Russert, Luskin, at all, it's not a denial until we see the exact, precise, post-parsed words.

(b) I have a 10/29 transcript (CNBC, The Tim Russert Show) where she notes that blogs have been hammering her for not disclosing her cooperation with Fitzgerald (whatever it was - I think she was interviewed by investigators, but never saw the grand jury). So, it's nice to know she reads the blogs.

(And it is a sobering thought upon which I do not dwell, but it would be a little odd if, in checking blog coverage of the Plame debacle, reporters were skipping past this one.)

From TT:

the jury is going to have a hard time reconciling Libby's stories.

As do we all. I'll second Gary - A confused jury BTW is rarely the ally of the prosecution.

My understandig is that Fitzgerald has to prove more than simply that Libby's statements were false. They also have to be material to the investigation, and they have to have been believed (or plausible) when he said them (I am extrapolating from an old class in contract law, which made the point that it is not a lie if the other side could never have been expected to believe it).

And we are looking at potentially out-of-context excerpts from a transcript.

Well. Presumably, Fitzgerald is not an idiot. Nor is Libby, and neither are his attorneys.

If Libby can establish some of the following, he ought to have a jury wondering whether he lied, or was just misunderstood:

(a) Russert knew about Plame, or was curious;

(b) other reporters were buzzing about Plame;

(c) the CIA did not care about her status, or was playing dirty tricks;

(d) others Libby's side will cook up.


Regardless of whether the assertions in the indictment about it not being widely known are relevant to the case they ARE in the indictment, and the indictment is going to be hard for the prosecution to keep out of the trial I'd think.

You can bet Libby's attorney will wave it around continuously with regards to anything it says that isn't provable. I certainly would. Like Gary above, I see a very confused jury in Libby's future.

That's whay I'm so baffled Fitz allowed it to say anything other than "Mr. Libby said 'xyz'. That is false."


All this dancing around. Seems to me Bill Keller doesn't want to admit publicly that he believes Judy is contemptible for 'protecting' an administration source...a neocon no less! And that she lied about WMD just like he believes Bush did.

But no! Must keep the appearance of objectivity, while at the same time throwing meat to his own 'base' through innuendo.

Bill Keller I have this to say to you: You were duped by Saddam! Not Judy, not Chalabi, not the 'neocons', not Bush.

D.C. and the powers that be were just playing realpolitik games. No way would they ever even consider actually, you know, doing something about that tyrant. Poke at him a little here, a little there, but never anything more.

Along comes an outsider who says 'I'm not taking any more of this crap from a murdering terrorist hugging game playing unpredictable tyrant' so regime change here we come!.

How dare he!

Shake things up and see what falls out! We can adapt out strategy and tactics to manage anything that emerges. That's the American way!

And what falls out after the big shaking? UN corruption, OFF scandal. Libya! Khan's nuke network! See? AQ slaughters muslims! Arab street has second thoughts about AQ. Arabs willingly embrace democracy! Lebanon!

But but but there were no wmds!



I heard A Mitchell's comments on the radio...tape delayed on the west coast. No need to parse. She flat out denied knowing "anything" before the Novak column. She claimed the quote is taken out of context (LOL). She said she is being jumped on by bloggers with a certain politcal agenda...no kidding, she said that. My guess: She was lying/embellishing to begin with and now has to change her story...And I don't necessarily see it as relevant to Libby. Purjury is just too easy to prove. But it's still lots of fun to see MSM squirm.

Rick Ballard

"Perjury is just too easy to prove."

A little early to make that conclusion. Eventually the entire interrogations of Russert and Cooper are going to be available and it would be very surprising if there were not elements of their responses that were not open to dispute. It's going to be a swearing contest and that does not lead to "easy" proof. Discrediting Russert and Cooper is not an insurmountable challenge.


If it is established that the media knew, after they have been called as witnesses and stated they didn't...and remember that there are other sources for the media that Fitz never asked about, it won't help the prosecution.

Libby's defense will be that he can't remember who the first to tell him of her role, and that while Cheney and he discussed it, he isn't sure of the initial source-even if the intial source may have told him after his meeting with Cheney. The indictment establishes that Libby found out at his meeting with Cheney, excluding every other source. At this point Fitz will have to exclude all other potential sources for trial.

If the media is shown to be lying or even hiding something, it seems a very difficult case to make that he has committed perjury, while relying on the testimony of people(media) who have committed perjury/obstruction as well.

I am very curious to find out who Vallely told.

After knocking down the perjury charge, (remember that the story of Libby's notes was leaked by the Libby defense team...perjury only holds up if you don't recant earlier statements...)Tate made every attempt to get Libby to go back before the GJ, but if Fitz let him, the perjury charge doesn't hold.

Unless fitz can eliminate all possible sources to Libby from the press, prior(and possibly after) to the meeting with Cheney-he will walk.

The 'denial' seemed as worded as the Russert 'denial'. Mitchell referred to her by name, and I'm 90% that she said 'Plame'-she wasn't in studio-but this is not unusual.

Her knowing Plame as Valerie 'Wilson' is another story...

Libby's defense is still going to be, I was confused, I read my notes and realized I failed to mention the discussion with the VP, requested to go back to the GJ, but the prosecutor wouldn't let me...(if there is a certifed letter making the request-perjury is out the window).

Cooper's managing editor admitted he knew about Plame, Miller had another source that she did not reveal(thus it can't be established that this person didn't tell Libby), and russert? He didn't know her name or her job.

I won't be coy, yes Libby probably is as sinister as the left believes, but Fitz won't be able to prove that the Veep was libby's first source.

He will walk...

Sorry about no trancript, but I have a sneaky feeling that Al Franken will have it on his show today, or at least mention it.


This case will NEVER go to trial.



Maybe. And maybe I'm giving Fitz too much credit. But it just seems that Fitzgerald is experienced enough and after a judge's instructions, a jury will be able to overcome a relatively low threshold... Regardless of whether Russert, Cooper, Mitchell, et al. also were misleading the grand jury.

The Clintonian idea that: "I'm not a liar, you're a liar," when, in fact you are both liars, may work well for PR...but is much less likely to work it court.

But Scoots has some powerful minds on his side. Can we all agree that it will, in the end, be loads of fun?

Appalled Moderate


Libby claims that at the time he heard Russert talk about Plame, he was like a virgin, Plamed for the very first time. (The shock of Russert's words allegedly make all he learned from Cheney, and all those other people just fly out of his head, I guess.) As TM sugests, elsewhere, there are possible explanations, involving physical problems causing short-term memory loss. They just aren't hugely likely.

This claims of mental innocence at the time of the conversation with Russert is the nub of the case. This claim does not tally with what we know from other administration officials. And I think a jury will be able to make its way through the confusion, to get to that one point, shouldthis ever go to trial.


This claims of mental innocence at the time of the conversation with Russert is the nub of the case.

This is an assertion repeatedly contested.

Libby's recollection is not at issue, his version of the conversation is. His implausible recollection is used to discredit his version of the conversation. He is not being prosecuted for claiming he "did not remember" or "did not know". He is being prosecuted for "lying" about what he and the reporters said to each other.


AM: It does look good on paper right now. But ater the close combat of a trial, the government witnesses are going to be torn to shreds on their memories. JM is basically in this state right now, Matt Cooper, are you kidding me? Biases alone may sink him and my fave Russert? Don't make me laugh. He'll never work again when his cross is done. Like I've said before, if the trial judge cares about relevancy, the defense is going to be allowed to call dozens of media and government witnesses re Plame's status and who in the media knew about it. But, it ain't ever gonna get that far.


Fitz's intent is to turn confusion about Libby's bafflegab (great word TM) from a defense advantage into a liability. IOW "After that ridiculous mumbo jumbo how can you believe anything this guy is saying ??? Therefore you MUST believe the reporter's version !!!"

Appalled Moderate


The "I forgot I knew" claim is part of the perjury count. If the jury finds Libby lied about that subject to the grand jury, he is guilty of that count. This item is INDEPENDENT of the credibility of Russert, Cooper, Miller.


No longer the "nub" huh, now it's just a "part" of one count. Perhaps included for effect but unlikely to seriously pursue.

Appalled Moderate

It's the nub, from a realistic standpoint, because everything else does depend on the reporter's testimony. It's certainly not going to be forgotten, because Fitz isn't about to let that happen.

Patrick R. Sullivan

' A confused jury BTW is rarely the ally of the prosecution.'

It was in the Martha Stewart trial. As well as the confused judge. Though what it gaineth a prosecutor to get convictions at trial and loseth at the Appeals Court is a mystery.


As TM sugests, elsewhere, there are possible explanations, involving physical problems causing short-term memory loss. They just aren't hugely likely.

"Aren't hugely likely" - you're being charitable, but wait until we move to alien abduction.

Mickey Kaus made the same point others are making here - the "Plamed for the very first time" seems to be independent of anything Russert actually told him.

Jim E.

The WashPost has an interesting story on Judy Miller today. There's lots of interesting on-the-record quotes by colleagues and journalists.

In the article, Judy Miller describes herself not as a centrist. She's a centrist in the same way Bill O'Reilly is a centrist.


I think Dorf is right about this not going to trial...

By keeping the investigation open, it is an admission that not all facts are known. Fitzgerald is hoping to use the threat of the GJ being resurrected as the hammer to get his case ready for Libby, but may find more troubles...

in keeping the investgiation open, it allows for discovery of new evidence that can look as it was discovered by his dilligence. IF he closes it down, then anything new that is revealed, will be a reflection of his poor preparation before bringing indictments.


because everything else does depend on the reporter's testimony

Well if the weakness of the other counts is what makes it the "nub" then that speaks volumes on the overall strength of the indictment.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, portions of the statement in question imply he was well aware of what Fitz says he was well aware of.

The interpretation that Libby was saying "I forgot I knew" is not consistent with the entire statement. The entire statement may not be entirely consistent, it may be gobbledygook or bafflegab but since Fitz did not get him to clarify exactly what he meant, ... turning rambling incoherence into perjury is not likely possible, nor should it be.

Appalled Moderate


If I fire 5 shots at you, and four hit nothing, and one gets you square between the eyes, the death of your body occurs, notwithstanding the weakness of my aim.


The power of your nonsense was so awesome I fell down laughing.

...turning rambling incoherence into perjury is not likely possible, nor should it be.
Fitzgerald's fundamental assertion with the false statements and the perjury is that he believed them and acted as if he believed them. So he will need to demonstrate that he exercised due diligence in getting a clear statement from Libby. If I were a juror, and I were reading the transcript of Libby's disjoint stream-of-consciousness testimony (the one in the indictment) the first thing I would be looking for is the following part in the transcript where Fitzgerald asked for clarification, and made sure that Libby really meant to say that he literally didn't remember. The part that Fitzgerald left completely out of the indictment when he plucked Libby's statements out of context.

Bottom line -- that charge succeeds or fails on how diligent Fitzgerald was in ensuring that what he understood was what Libby intended to say. And if you read the indictment looking for that, it's simply not there. Whether Fitzgerald is hiding it because he is keeping his powder dry for the trial, or he is hiding it because the transcript shows that he lacked diligence, well, we'll have to wait and see, right?

cathy :-)



Very bad analogy. A prosecutor can't just fire his gun and hope it hits a target.

David Walser

Allow me to amplify Cathy's comment: The reason it's critical Fitzgerald sought to clarify what Libby meant when he claimed "it was like hearing it for the first time" from Russert is that Libby can claim he simply misspoke. He'll claim he was trying to describe how he feigned shock and surprise at Russert's revelation, not that the news, itself, was shocking. Or, he could claim that it was the fact Russert knew about Plame that was so shocking. All he was doing, in his testimony, was describing what he said, how he said it, and why he said what he said to Russert. He didn't realize his testimony had been misunderstood and would have clarified it had he only been asked. When talking, don't we all, at times, insert a new thought into the middle of a sentence without providing all the introductory niceties that make clear our meaning? At least, that's what the defense will argue if Fitzgerald did not attempt to have Libby clarify what he meant by what he said.

Appalled Moderate

Somebody should have told Ronnie Earle that.


I like to applaud Appalled Moderate (and earlier, TexasToast) for their efforts to maintain some semblance of rationality in this discussion.

Confronted with people who obviously haven't read the indictment (or have severely compromised reading comprehension skills) and continue to insist that there was some ambiguity in Libby's statement that he'd completely forgotten he'd ever known that Plame was CIA when he talked to Russert, Appalled has soldiered on.

Here's a clue. Heresay is EXTREMELY unlikely to be admitted in this case, so the wingnuts can forget any testimony from people who said "everybody knew" about Wilson's wife. .....not to mention the fact that what other people knew about Valerie Plame is completely irrelevant to the charges against Libby.

But in the interest of maintaining the 'crackpot theory' gestalt of this comment thread, here is my theory......

When Wilson started talking to the press, the decision was made to discredit him, in part by raising questions of nepotism. "Hints" were being dropped all over the place among trusted (i.e. wingnut friendly) journalists well before the Wilson column came out. (see Miller's June 23 conversation with Libby). So when Wilson went public, there was some "buzz" about "Wilson's wife" in journalistic circles --- which got reported as "everybody knew that Wilson's wife was CIA."

Unfortunately, the smear campaign against Wilson got out of control, and someone told Novak that Wilson's wife was "Valerie Plame--secret agent". (and no, I don't think it was Libby, or even Rove. Probably Bolton or his Chief of Staff Fred Fleitz -- Bolton's decidedly unsubtle efforts to discredit other people is a perfect fit with what happened here, and he would have had access to the knowledge about Plame).

Libby's intention was not to "out" Valerie Plame per se, but to have the press treat Wilson with skepticism if not contempt. But he did know that Plame was covert and relate/confirm the fact that she worked for the CIA knowing she was covert.


He didn't realize his testimony had been misunderstood and would have clarified it had he only been asked.

Libby testified that he was (as someone else put it) "like a virgin, Plamed for the very first time" when he talked to Russert, AND that when he subsequently talked to Cooper and Miller, he emphasized that he was only repeating a rumor he had heard from journalists.

So, in order for your theory to be correct, Libby has to claim that he remembered about Plame when Russert (allegedly) told him, THEN explain why, despite knowing that Plame was CIA from "official" sources, he told Cooper and Miller he was just repeating a rumor from journalists.....

In other words, "explaining away" his testimony about Russert raises questions about his testimony regarding Cooper and Miller.....

If I were Libby's lawyers, I think I'd pass on that particular explanation....


maintain some semblance of rationality

If what you consider semblance of rationality is the analogy of taking 5 shots to kill boris then your thinking is equally apalling as the murderous moderate.

Jim E.

"All he was doing, in his testimony, was describing what he said, how he said it, and why he said what he said to Russert."

Actually, no, that wasn't Libby's testimony. I suggest you read the indictment.



Point taken. Earle fired more than 5 shots before he hit the bulls eye. Even then, though, he was not shooting willy nilly seeing who fell into his sight. He was shooting at Delay with specific allegations.


I'll take pit my reading comprehension skills against p.luk.'s any day. He accuses us of being partisan and thus reading into Libby's testimony something that isn't there.

I say he is partisan and blocking out parts of Libby's testimony to assert they aren't there.

The upshot is that there is some ambiguity in Libby's not-so-obvious obvious lies.

We can only agree to disagree.

Appalled Moderate

I think Cathyf and Mr. Walser make good points that we do not have the full testimony by Mr. Libby, just the exceprts found in the indictment. Let me go out on a limb, and suggest Fitz is not going to indict for an out of context remark. I don't think he's real interested in having his charges thrown out of court, or getting himself a Ken Starr reputation. But time will tell, there.


Boris is laughing out of his third eye.

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