Miller: A con artist?

So, to no one’s real surprise, Judith Miller was unwilling to disclose the identity of Scooter Libby as the source for a story she never wrote. She spent three months in the clink, but in retrospect, it’s not at all clear why. Libby, it would appear, didn’t need any additional protecting, never asked for it, and not only released Miller from secrecy more than a year ago, but did the same for several other journalists as well.

This column levels a very specific and damning accusation, worst case: Miller, having compromised her own cred with some inept reporting early in Gulf War II, has decided to pose as a martyr to the free press to regain some of that cred.

Quite frankly, in light of the facts, I find this entirely plausible. Another blight on the NYT, perhaps. What say you?

That’s very interesting, Loopydude. Thanks for bringing it to the board. I’m still not sure what to think, but Froomkin’s speculation is at least plausible.

Bizarre. And not reflecting well on Miller and the Times if true.
Questions though: if Libby had told several reporters including Miller that they were free to use his name, why has it only surfaced now?

“Susan Schmidt and Jim VandeHei write in The Washington Post that Libby’s lawyer said that he had no idea until he was contacted by Miller’s lawyer several weeks ago that Miller thought she had gone to jail for his client.”

He had no idea that was a cited reason for her going to jail? Really? He must have been boycotting the news. :dubious:

Believe her reasoning or don’t, but she’s said she did not feel his waiver was specific enough (I’m not sure how) or freely given. Did she want to be a martyr? Maybe. A lot of this feels like pure speculation to me.

I had no idea it had only surfaced now. People on this board have been talking about Libby as a source for some time.

By the way, is it standard practice now for a columnist to just plug quote after quote from bloggers into a piece? It doesn’t really support his case, and I found it lazy.

This smacks a little too much of plausible deniability.

I find this rather hard to believe on its face.

There are three cases.

[li]She went to jail to restore her credibility and knew Libby had already waived confidentiality[/li][li]She did not know that Libby had released her[/li][li]Libby is lying and Miller was not released [/li][/ul]

Suppose the first is true. She decides to cool her heels in the pen for a few months. She has her attorney contact Libby, and the papers are signed and executed. How did she think Libby would react? With an apology? No, he would undermine her credibility. This offsets the credibility gain she got for spending time behind bars. This is not hard to anticipate in advance. So why would she have chosen to go to prison in the first place?

If the second case is true, then either she, Libby, or both of them are quite foolish.

Suppose the third case. Libby never released Miller. So why would she be released now? Suppose someone decided that she had to get out of jail, but that she has something damaging to say. Libby then has every reason to undermine her credibility and paint her to be a fool for having gone to jail in the first place.

More information is required to sort this one out. I do not find the more “cynical” interpretation very persuasive at this time.

Is there a 4th possibility?

If I understand it right, members (appointees?) of the Administration must all sign a blanket waiver of confidentiality, and therefore…

Miller felt she needed a personal, explicit waiver from Libby. Otherwise, Libby could argue that the blanket waiver was coerced by the Administration — “If I don’t sign it, I don’t get the job.”

If argued successfully, the judge could throw out Miller’s testimony.

I remember at the time that everyone was puzzled why she didn’t think the waiver was good enough. I sure got the impression that she was trying to make a martyr out of herself. She’s going to be a celebrity. Book deal, anyone?

That’s the way I understand her side of it.

It’s bizarre all around, and of course the Post’s columnist may or may not be correct in his analysis. I merely find it plausible, and, lacking a concrete explanation for Miller’s behavior, except that the “waiver came from lawyers”, I can only speculate she either aquired an obsessive case of scruples, or perhaps is resuscitating her career. I suppose another option is simple foolishness.

I await further clarification with great interest.

From the cite:

Why would she be concerned about the judge “throwing out Miller’s testimony” when the judge told her himself it would be admissable without any additional waiver? Why would Libby claim coercion then if he is now willing to provide the waiver, and why did it take so long? Libby’s lawyers claim they weren’t asked for this supposedly crucial waiver until long after she went to jail. Why the delay?

I should’ve commented on that instead of snipping it out. She wasn’t worried about the testimony being thrown out. Ethically, she felt she could not accept a blanket waiver. She wanted a waiver specific to their conversation regarding Valerie Wilson, and one that was given voluntarily, not as a condition of being hired.

He wouldn’t.

I can’t say, because after all, we don’t know if that’s true. Even if it is, I find it a little hard to believe that they’re this clueless, though. “She was protecting Scooter?! She wanted a waiver?! Man, I was way off!” You can just imagine Libby putting his head in his hands and muttering “I’ve got the worst fucking attorneys…”

Having read the Times’s article about it, I admit I’m more confused about why she waited. I understand the principle, I just don’t understand why it wasn’t good enough for her if they assured her it did apply to these conversations. I don’t think it’s impossible she wanted the publicity, but I don’t see how this reflects badly on the Times as Loopydude suggested.

I guess because she’s a Times reporter, and hence a representative of the paper.

But, I just read the article as well, and…they’re reporting very scrupulously about the details. I expect nothing less, but ood move on their part, all the same.

But her failings, if any, are her own. I can’t see how this would be like Jayson Blair, where the problem was exacerbated by institutional problems.

Gah! “good move on their part”

Because they wanted to see if the furor would die down if there wasn’t any new news for a couple of months? Is that possible?

The reason it could reflect badly on the Times is that Miller has a record of being an unthinkng Administration mouthpiece in the run-up to the Gulf War. She repeatedly accepted whatever the Bush line on WMDs or Saddam and 9/11 and wrote stories for the Times that were not at all balanced. The Times, which likes to call itself “the paper of record” was so embarrassed by her reporting that it had to run a “mea culpa” piece apologizing for its very shoddy reporting.

So anything less than perfect behavior on Miller’s part reflects very badly on the Times, since they didn’t fire her (they should have). This explains why Miller might be desperate enough to climb up on the cross even though she doesn’t have to. And it reflects badly on the Times because if it works, the Times has been used like an old spunk rag once again, hardly what “the paper of record” would want.

AFAIC, the Times is not the paper of record if it ever was, it’s just been too deeply tarnished by Miller and others. It’s just another rag.

I wish one of our SDMB attorneys would weigh in on this matter of Miller’s alleged ‘climbing on the cross.’

Okay. The Judge involved in the grand jury deliberations assures her that the general waiver is good enough. But will he be the same judge who will preside over the actual trial of Libby (if it indeed this matter gets to trial)?

If there’s a different judge for the trial, is he/she bound by the first judge’s promises or could this second judge rule in favor of the defendant, who at trial now says that waiver required by the Adminstration was coerced?

Perhaps this is the clue as to why Libby held out for so long with the specific waiver—hoping that Miller would throw in the towel, accept the general waiver as applicable, which would then enable Libby to cry coercion. When it became apparent that Miller was staying put, and Lbby was looking worse and worse, maybe he caved.

If I were Libby I’d have been loath to comply to Miller’s request for a specific waiver. Hell if he loses, I understand he faces 10 years in prison

This just doesn’t make sense. Miller should’ve been fired for her reporting, so if she chose to go to jail, that’s bad for the paper? They did stand behind her, and perhaps she did what she did for less than noble reasons. The journalistic questions in this case were real, regardless of who Judith Miller is.

If it can be demonstrated that she did it for reasons of personal aggrandizement, it demonstrates further the bad judgement of the Times’ editors for not canning her earlier.