Saturday, April 08, 2006

Did Libby (& Cheney & Bush) Just Make Up the NIE Declassification Alibi? Judith Miller's Testimony Holds the Key

It is so interesting going back over what's been written to date about the Plame investigation after some new admission comes out about what Bush and Cheney knew and when they knew it.

After this week's revelation, that Libby leaked information from the NIE to reporters on Bush's authorization (and the White House' assertion that declassified the NIE for public consumption), I went back and reread Judith Miller's account of the meetings that she had with Libby:
Before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald asked me questions about Mr. Cheney. He asked, for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interviews with me or was aware of them. The answer was no.

In my grand jury testimony, Mr. Fitzgerald repeatedly turned to the subject of how Mr. Libby handled classified information with me. He asked, for example, whether I had discussed my security status with Mr. Libby. During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment "embedded" with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believed so, but could not be sure. He asked how Mr. Libby treated classified information. I said, Very carefully.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me to examine a series of documents. Though I could not identify them with certainty, I said that some seemed familiar, and that they might be excerpts from the National Intelligence Estimate of Iraq's weapons. Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether Mr. Libby had shown any of the documents to me. I said no, I didn't think so. I thought I remembered him at one point reading from a piece of paper he pulled from his pocket.

I told Mr. Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby might have thought I still had security clearance, given my special embedded status in Iraq. At the same time, I told the grand jury I thought that at our July 8 meeting I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq.

If Libby and Cheney and Bush and David Addington had all discussed and agreed that Libby could talk to reporters about the NIE, if they all believed it was now to be declassified (the parts of it that Libby was cherry-picking and leaking to reporters) why-then-oh-WHY couldn't Judy Miller talk with her editors about what Libby was telling her was in the NIE?

1 comment:

opit said...

I had considered Judy was grandstanding.
If she believed Libby could be sentenced for treason it might contribute to seeming reasonable to her. In fact, I suspect the whole thing is a set piece which is not unlawful, just damn poor judgement.