Former NY Times reporter Judith Miller’s testimony played a significant role in the case of Scooter Libby both when she originally made it and later when she recanted it. Now that Libby has officially been pardoned, Miller talked to Fox News to explain why she believes this was the right decision.
“I think it’s long overdue,” Miller said. She continued, “Ever since I got out of jail and began trying to look into the details of the Scooter Libby case…I became persuaded that my testimony had been in error and that he, in fact, had done nothing wrong.
“I decided to go back and correct the record in my own book, which I did, and when Scooter Libby was given his law license back a year and a half ago, the judge specifically cited my testimony, the recantation of my testimony, as one of the factors in his decision.”
All of this stems from a note Miller wrote about a conversation with Scooter Libby. She wrote “(wife works in bureau?)” in reference to Joe Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame. That was taken as proof that Libby must of have raised Plame’s work at the CIA. But as Peter Berkowitz explained in a piece for the Wall Street Journal back in 2015, Miller later decided her note probably hadn’t been a reference to Plame’s work at the CIA at all, but was more likely a question about her cover working at the State Department:
Ms. Miller’s new memoir recounts that after her conditions had been met and Mr. Fitzgerald asked the court to release her from jail in September 2005, she was summoned to testify before the grand jury. While Mr. Fitzgerald prepared her, she recalls, his pointed queries led her to believe that a four-word question regarding Joseph Wilson surrounded by parentheses in her notebook—“(wife works in Bureau?)”—proved that Mr. Libby had told her about Ms. Plame’s CIA employment in a June 23, 2003, conversation (well before Mr. Libby’s phone conversation with Russert). She so testified at trial in 2007.
Three years later, Ms. Miller writes, she was reading Ms. Plame’s book, “Fair Game,” and was astonished to learn that while on overseas assignment for the CIA Ms. Plame “had worked at the State Department as cover.” This threw “a new light” on the June 2003 notebook jotting, Ms. Miller says, since the State Department has “bureaus,” while the CIA is organized into “divisions.”…
Mr. Fitzgerald, who had the classified file of Ms. Plame’s service, withheld her State Department cover from Ms. Miller—and from Mr. Libby’s lawyers, who had requested Ms. Plame’s employment history. Despite his constitutional and ethical obligation to provide exculpatory evidence, Mr. Fitzgerald encouraged Ms. Miller to misinterpret her ambiguous notes as showing that Mr. Libby brought up Ms. Plame…
If Ms. Miller had testified accurately, she would have dealt a severe blow to Mr. Fitzgerald’s central contention that Mr. Libby was lying when he said he was surprised to hear Russert mention Ms. Plame.
Fitzgerald knew all along that someone else, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, had leaked Plame’s name. Armitage was never charged with anything and an investigation found the leak did no harm to national security. Libby’s conviction hinged largely on Miller’s testimony which should have made her recantation significant….
This post is an import of an older post of mine dated July of 2007 (posted here April of 2015). It will be connected with my WMD page. I may update it a bit, as I go along.
Some seem to forget, conveniently, that the only person that lied in the Wilson case was, well, Wilson. Libby “lied” about when he found out Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. She wasn’t “covert,” nor did he leak the name to the press. Libby simply forgot when he first found out about her CIA job and testimony showed that he talked about that fact before he said he talked about that fact. That’s the facts.
Yet after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking Ms. Plame’s name. In fact, he learned early on that Mr. Novak’s primary source was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, an unlikely tool of the White House. The trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame’s identity — and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert….
A great summation of the above article is found at Yahoo Answers:
A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false — and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame’s name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.
The partisan furor over this allegation led to the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Yet after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking Ms. Plame’s name.
Update: “The trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame’s identity — and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.” -Washington Post Update 2: I cited an editorial from a liberal newspaper. Read the entire bipartisan senate intelligence report (if you can handle reading many pages detailing how the Wilson’s lied). Update 3: I cited an editorial from a liberal newspaper. Read the entire bipartisan senate intelligence report (if you can handle reading many pages detailing how the Wilson’s lied).
I could defend Libby further here, but I have already done that. This is not the purview of this post. This post is to clearly show that Joe Wilson lied. I do need to — however — settle one other area here before we go any further, that is the “Yellowcake” ruse the Left often use.
You may want to watch an NPR liberal, a NYT’s lefty, one neo-con, and one Reaganite go at it on this very topic (video to the right).
Both the Butler report and the Senate Intelligence Committee report make clear that Bush’s 16 words weren’t based on the fake documents. The British didn’t even see them until after issuing the reports — based on other sources — that Bush quoted in his 16 words.
Bush’s “sixteen word” statement in his State of the Union speech has been shown to be correct. People keep speaking about forged documents, however no one in the Bush administration or in print uses these forged documents as their source to say Iraq was looking to purchase yellowcake uranium. Sheeeesh! The British have consistently stood by that conclusion. In September 2003, an independent British parliamentary committee looked into the matter and determined that the claim made by British intelligence was “reasonable” (the media forgot to cover that one too). Indeed, Britain’s spies stand by their claim to this day. Interestingly, French intelligence also reported an Iraqi attempt to procure uranium from Niger.
Yes, there were fake documents relating to Niger-Iraq sales. But no, those forgeries were not the evidence that convinced British intelligence that Saddam may have been shopping for “yellowcake” uranium. But that’s not all. The Butler report, yet another British government inquiry, also concluded that British intelligence was correct to say that Saddam sought uranium from Niger. The Financial Times has reported that illicit sales of uranium from Niger were indeed being negotiated with Iraq, as well as with four other states.
According to the FT: “European intelligence officers have now revealed that three years before the fake documents became public, human and electronic intelligence sources from a number of countries picked up repeated discussion of an illicit trade in uranium from Niger. One of the customers discussed by the traders was Iraq.”
There’s still more: As Susan Schmidt reported in the Washington Post: “Contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence.” She goes on to report that the bi-partisan Senate Intelligence “panel found that the CIA has not fully investigated possible efforts by Iraq to buy uranium in Niger to this day, citing reports from a foreign service and the U.S. Navy about uranium from Niger destined for Iraq and stored in a warehouse in Benin.”
Score ONE for radioactive material, ZERO for the Liberal bloggers out there who cannot see past there MoveOn.org/Keith Olbermann/Nancy Pelosi brown stained noses.
Okay, on we trudge.
…After a whirl of TV and radio appearances during which he received high-fives and hearty hugs from producers and hosts (I was in some green rooms with him so this is eyewitness reporting), and a wet-kiss profile in Vanity Fair, he gave birth to a quickie book sporting his dapper self on the cover, and verbosely entitled The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity: A Diplomat’s Memoir.
The book jacket talks of his “fearless insight” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and “disarming candor” (which does not extend to telling readers for whom he has been working since retiring early from the Foreign Service).
The biographical blurb describes him as a “political centrist” who received a prize for “Truth-Telling,” though a careful reader might notice that the award came in part from a group associated with The Nation magazine — which only Michael Moore would consider a centrist publication….
Unfortunately for Wilson, the bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report concluded that it is he who was telling lies. (See the Wall Street Journal)
Wilson claimed quite clearly in the press and in his book that his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, was not the one who came up with the brilliant idea that the agency send him to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had been attempting to acquire uranium.
“Valerie had nothing to do with the matter,” Wilson says in his book. “She definitely had not proposed that I make the trip.” In fact, the Senate panel found, she was the one who got him that assignment. The panel even found a memo by her.
…Wilson’s assertions — both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information — were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.
The panel found that Wilson’s report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson’s assertions and even the government’s previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union address…
…The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because “the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.”
“Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the ‘dates were wrong and the names were wrong’ when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports,” the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have “misspoken” to reporters. The documents — purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq — were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.
Wilson said that a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, was unaware of any sales contract with Iraq, but said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss “expanding commercial relations” between Niger and Iraq — which Mayaki interpreted to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake sales. A report CIA officials drafted after debriefing Wilson said that “although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to UN sanctions on Iraq.”
According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.
Still, it was the CIA that bore the brunt of the criticism of the Niger intelligence. The panel found that the CIA has not fully investigated possible efforts by Iraq to buy uranium in Niger to this day, citing reports from a foreign service and the U.S. Navy about uranium from Niger destined for Iraq and stored in a warehouse in Benin.
The agency did not examine forged documents that have been widely cited as a reason to dismiss the purported effort by Iraq until months after it obtained them. The panel said it still has “not published an assessment to clarify or correct its position on whether or not Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Africa.”
So does Wilson lose his “truth telling” awards? No.
Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.
The Intelligence Committee report said that “for most analysts” Wilson’s trip to Niger “lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal.”
What you have – in fact – is a Looney Left who affords murderers and terrorists the benefit of the doubt over a President they cannot stand. They choose Saddam over Bush, they support Afghanistan over America (yes, Democrats are starting to say “get us out of Afghanistan” as well). It was the same during the Reagan years as well. Reagan and the U.S. were the bad guys for putting ICBM’s along the borders of Western/Eastern Europe. The horrible things that were said about Reagan and the United States by Democrats and the left leaning media are well documented. The same would be true but for the increased platitudes.
Is the press trustworthy? Can we believe what reporters and journalists tell us? Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for the New York Times, explains why Americans’ trust in the news media has fallen, and why that matters.