16 October 2005

I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall

My New York Times Judy Miller with a pseudo-mea-culpa feature piece on her testimony to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the enpaneled federal grand jury.
At that breakfast meeting, our conversation also turned to Mr. Wilson's wife. My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: "Wife works at Winpac." Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant. Winpac stood for Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control, the name of a unit within the C.I.A. that, among other things, analyzes the spread of unconventional weapons.

I said I couldn't be certain whether I had known Ms. Plame's identity before this meeting, and I had no clear memory of the context of our conversation that resulted in this notation. But I told the grand jury that I believed that this was the first time I had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for Winpac. In fact, I told the grand jury that when Mr. Libby indicated that Ms. Plame worked for Winpac, I assumed that she worked as an analyst, not as an undercover operative.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me whether Mr. Libby had mentioned nepotism. I said no. And as I told the grand jury, I did not recall - and my interview notes do not show - that Mr. Libby suggested that Ms. Plame had helped arrange her husband's trip to Niger. My notes do suggest that our conversation about Ms. Plame was brief.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.

Let me get this straight — despite a ledger of detailed notetaking, an award winning reporter who's boasted of her stenographic approach to journalism cannot remember who revealed the identity of Valerie Plame and worse, willingly shuffled off to a jail cell to protect a phantom source? Despite the fact that this feature story broke at the ebb of the news cycle, I expect a massive pile on of journalists across America with any shred of integrity.

Furthermore, it's a confirmation that Ms. Miller has been nothing more than a neconservative tool, a propaganda organ all too eager to play in any key her Bush administration masters want her to strike. Before the illegal, immoral Iraq invasion, she zealously served as a government generated disinformation transmitter, purposefully putting into print fabrications and prevarications orchestrated by the cabal of hawkish administration officials, and her employer never did offer a valid explanation for the faulty WMD reporting.

Some initial takes by Jay Rosen and Arianna Huffington that contend, also, that this "story" indeed raises more questions than answers.


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