Okay, so what crime did Judith Miller commit, exactly?

I’m not sure what forum this belongs in, so if a mod wishes to whisk it away to a more appropriate one, please feel free.

For those not in the know, Judith Miller is a New York Times reporter who was sentenced to 120 in prison for refusing to reveal her sources surrounding the leak of a CIA operative’s name. I’ve checked various news articles on the internet, but none of them say with what crime she was actually charged and convicted. Obstruction of justice? Contempt of court? I’m just curious – it’s a serious question and not a rhetorical one despite the rhetoric you’re about to read below. :smiley:

Seems to me that this ruling was one of a purely personal agenda on behalf of the U.S. Government. There’s no obvious threat to national security or any other reason the Bush Machine can muster for jailing her. Yet no one seems to be calling “bullshit.” Is the new paradigm of the government agenda to threaten imprisonment of journalists for doing their jobs when the government doesn’t like what they write? This never, ever would’ve happened to Bob Woodward.

Keep your head up, Judy Miller. Some of us out here are rooting for you and your journalistic integrity. Maybe others will follow your example.


Contempt of Court, from what I can find…the four months are the remaining period of an earlier ruling: http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/07/news/leak.php

What are you babbling about? She’s in contempt of court. And she’s not in jail because the government doesn’t like what she wrote, the government was the one who leaked it to her. But her source broke a serious law, and by hiding him, she’s obstructing justice. If her source hadn’t broken a law by giving her the information, then she wouldn’t have to reveal.

You’ve pretty much gotten it right, but let’s dial back the venom just a bit, o.k.? This is IMHO, not The BBQ Pit or Great Debates.

Um . . . isn’t she being jailed for not ratting out her source in the Bush administration? Are you saying they’re mad at her for not revealing their possibly illegal activities? :confused:

Judith Miller is protecting a person who betrayed the United States for political gain. Before you go around praising her, you should learn the facts of the grand jury investigation.

Three years ago the U.S. government sent Joe Wilson, a former ambassador, to Niger to investigate a claim that Saddam Hussein was buying uranium for WMDs. When Wilson returned he told the Bush administration the Niger uranium story was bunk, but that didn’t stop Bush from using it as one of his justifications for going to war.

After several months of being unable to convince the administration to stop using this false intelligence, Wilson went public with what he knew, writing an article for the New York Times.

One week later a conservative columnist, Robert Novak, wrote an article saying that a senior White House source had told him that Wilson was unreliable and the only reason he got Niger assignment was because his wife, Valerie Plame, had pulled strings for him at the CIA.

Valerie Plame did work for the CIA, but covertly. Novak’s article blew her cover. Since she was involved in gathering intelligence on the proliferation of WMDs this action was almost certainly harmful to the United States. It’s unknown what sort of danger this revelation put her contacts in.

Blowing the cover of a covert agent is a federal crime. The CIA requested that the Justice Department investigate. A special prosecutor (Patrick Fitzgerald) was appointed.

Judith Miller is involved because apparently the traitor (or traitors) in the White House shopped the intelligence around to several reporters before Novak decided to run with it. Miller’s testimony would help nail someone who put political advantage ahead of national security. By refusing to testify she’s in contempt of court. The moment she agrees to testify, she’ll walk free.

Judith Miller is not protecting a whistleblower. Joe Wilson is the whistleblower in this case. Judith Miller is protecting whoever tried to scare Joe Wilson into shutting up. It’s the moral equivalent of protecting the identity of a mobster running a protection racket.

From what I can gather, Miller is a right wing plant at the New York Times. I’m VERY glad she’s in jail, but not for any reasons associated with the current contretemps. Prior to her current difficulties, Miller is best known for uncritically accepting Bush Admin. glurge about the war – y’know, how Saddam had WMDs and was behind 911 – and writing it up for the Times. Her reporting was so skewed and so inaccurate that the Times was ultimately forced to pubish a mea culpa about the poor quality of its reporting prior to the invasion of 911 – most of which was Judith Miller’s fault. The Times took her off the Iraq beat and put her on the UN beat – apparently it’s considered a refuge for incompetents by them as well as the Bush Admin. – where she spent most of her time writing up misleading and unsubstantiated reports about corruption at the UN. (Oh, there’s corruption at the UN, it’s just that Miller was so eager to find it that she jumped on a lot of stories that turned out to lack substance.)

Don’t worry about poor Judy. When she gets out of stir, there’ll be right wingers on hand to anoint her as their journalistic saint, with a nice, well-paid, cushy job at some right wing think tank or publication to land in.

Er, “invasion of 911” should read “invasion of Iraq.”

I blame Judith Miller’s baleful influence – this was exactly the sort of thing she did on the Times!

So either:

  1. Novak has been questioned and has given up his source. Therefore Miller’s testimony is unnecessary.

  2. Novak has been questioned and has not given up his source. Then why isn’t Novak in contempt?

  3. Novak has not been questioned. Why the hell not?

Can you say “selective prosecution”?

Very selective prosecution.

Neither Novak nor the special prosecutor’s office, will confirm nor deny any of the about. It is thought by lawyers and legal scholars following the case that he has indeed cooperated, but there is no official statement on this.

I don’t understand why the Admin is willing to let Miller go to jail, but not Novak or the other guy. She has been a TOTAL hosebeast for the Bush Admin, helping them get the Iraq war started with lots of uncritical articles in the ramp-up to the war. When she was pulled from that beat after the Times had to a mea culpa over her poor reporting, she attacked the UN, a fave Neocon target. Not just selective prosecution, but weird.

If so, why does the witch hunt continue?

What witch hunt? The grand jury is still collectinve evidence. You don’t get to choose whether you testify or not. Unless your testimony is privileged, if the grand jury calls, you have to speak, no matter how much you don’t wanna. Cooper has cooperated. Novak may well have cooperated. Miller isn’t cooperating. Ergo, she goes to jail.


“collecting” evidence


–Cliffy, again

If the goal of the grand jury is to find out the source of the leak and if Cooper and Novak (maybe) have named names - then doesn’t the grand jury have what it is looking for? To keep looking for something after you have found it strikes me as wasteful.

The goal of the grand jury is to collect as much information as it can so that if they decide to indict someone, the government will be in the best position possible tp prosecute the case. When investigating crimes, taking one witness’s statement and then going home is a good way to end up losing at trial. Witnesses lie, they misremember, they don’t always have complete information, and oh yeah, they lie. Any investigator worthy of the name tries to interview everybody connected with the possible crime so that he can put all the pieces together – not just the ones from witnesses who are happy to talk to him.


This assumes that Novak’s and Miller’s source is the same person. At this point I don’t think anyone is making this assumption. Same with Cooper.

We don’t know what passed between Novak and Fitzgerald, if anything. The Grand Jury investigation is secret.

It’s likely Novak has spoken with the Fitzgerald.


Not yet.

There is so much secrecy, so many variables between who the players are, what they knew and when they knew it, how this thing was hatched, and who’s actually going to be prosecuted and for what, that there’s nothing but tea-leaf reading at this point.

I mean some have speculated that Miller told Rove (or someone) about Plame, then someone told other people (say, Rove and/or Novak). Heck, maybe Rove had nothing to do with it. Lewis Libby, from Cheney’s office is also a source. What’s his (or his boss’s) involvement in all this?

So if it turns out that Miller has a source at the CIA, and that source blew Plame’s cover (even if the source did it not expecting Miller to go blabbing about it), then it behooves national security interests to know who that person is, Yes?

Here’s a Slate article about Novak. The upshot is, the Grand Jury investigation is secret, so nobody knows nothin’. In addition, leaks from Fitzgerald’s staff have been virtually non-existent.

Even in the strictest of privileged relationships (lawyer-client, priest-parishoner, therapist-client; doctor-patient is mostly a myth), the privilege doesn’t apply when a crime is about to be committed. If you tell your lawyer that you’re about to go kill somebody, not only does the privilege not apply, but he is obligated to go to the authorities.

I believe that Miller’s confidentiality agreement with her subject is void for the same reason. When the administration official contacted Miller and let her know that they were trying to leak the status of a covert CIA agent to the press, she not only had the right to reveal that source (a right that could not have been signed away, just like I can’t make my lawyer agree not to tell anybody if I tell him I’m going to kill someone) but she had the responsibility to go to the authorities.

As for why they need Miller when they already have Cooper and probably Novak, my guess is that they have something huge here, something that could send a senior administration official to prison or maybe even lead to impeachment charges (unlikely, but possible), and the prosecutor wants all his ducks in a row.

On that note, does anyone else think that this almost has to be way bigger than what we’ve heard so far? Why would Bush and his administration take such a huge risk for such a small political score? I mean, plenty can be said about Bushco, and no one holds a candle to them when it comes to sheer corruption and often incompetence, but despite what my fellow liberal brethren may say, they’re not stupid. Especially not in this regard. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but the risk and benefit just seem ridiculously unbalanced here.

Rove has a history of doing mean, petty things for stupid reasons, as well as to advance his boss’ political careers. Outing Plame was in fact ridiculously stupid, but then again, so was the ‘planning’ for the Iraq war.