It’s time for Judy Miller and Arthur Sulzberger to change their talking points.
The claim that Miller “has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver” is laughable… and, indeed, has already been laughed at by 1) my increasingly frustrated sources within the Times 2) a chorus of voices in the blogosphere (see here, here, and here) and 3) (and much more significantly) Joseph Tate, Scooter Libby’s lawyer, who told the Washington Post yesterday that he informed Miller’s attorney, Floyd Abrams, a year ago that Libby’s waiver “was voluntary and that Miller was free to testify”.
So it defies credulity for Miller, Sulzberger, and Bill Keller to keep insisting that Libby’s earlier waiver was coerced when Libby says that it wasn’t. I don’t have much good to say about the vice president’s chief of staff, but I don’t doubt that he knows the difference between being coerced and acting on his own free will. How deep is the Times’ contempt for its readers that they really think they’ll buy the “Oh, Judy finally has the right waiver” line?
The truth of the matter is there is no way that the New York Times editorial claiming “it should be clear…that Ms. Miller is not going to change her mind” can be squared with Ms. Miller changing her mind. And there is no way to accept at face value Miller’s grandstanding about “fighting for the cause of the free flow of information.” Who is she still trying to convince? Herself?
After she answers Patrick Fitzgerald’s questions today, Judy Miller needs to start answering some of the obvious questions raised by her head-scratching stance:
What made her refuse Libby’s waiver when it was first offered but accept it now? (Especially since Judge Hogan had told Miller that “she was mistaken in her belief that she was defending a free press, stressing that the government source she ‘alleges she is protecting’ had already released her from her promise of confidentiality.”)
Was Miller’s sudden eagerness to find a get-out-of-jail excuse prompted by Fitzgerald’s planning to ask for an extension of the grand jury?
Or was it prompted by Fitzgerald’s gearing up to charge her with criminal contempt?
If all it took for Miller to feel properly released was a phone call, why did she wait 85 days to make it?
And so we don’t forget what this story is really about, and given that the aluminum tubes crap that Miller put on the front page of the New York Times was being heavily promoted by Cheney, how much of that bogus information came to Miller via Libby?
And here are a few questions for the Times:
Had a Plame/Wilson story been assigned to Miller or not?
What, if anything, did she say about the story to anyone at the paper at the time… and what did they say back?
Why did the Times hold back the story about Miller’s release and let multiple other news sources scoop them? Were they trying to miss the evening news cycle and avoid the overnight thrashing their spin has rightly received?
So, as the image of Judy as a principled, conscience-driven defender of the First Amendment gives way to the image of Judy wearing her "new" waiver as a fig leaf allowing her to get out and sing, the big question remains: What is she hiding?
© 2005 Huffington Post