Clarifying the clarification
October 17, 2005
As reluctant as I am to exacerbate my well-earned Las Vegas hangover by parsing Judy Miller's statements, here's her clarification-of her-clarification of her role in Plamegate, as offered to the Wall Street Journal:
Despite giving a lengthy first-person account, Ms. Miller left some pivotal questions unanswered. For instance, she didn't disclose whether she was asked by Mr. Fitzgerald in her first grand-jury appearance about meeting with Mr. Libby in June 2003. Her failure to disclose that meeting led to her second testimony before the grand jury after some of her notes were found. But neither her account nor the Times story discusses how the notes were found and what set off a search for them.
In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Ms. Miller said she discovered the June 2003 notes in her office after being prompted to seek out answers to another question Mr. Fitzgerald had asked her. "There was an open question about something, and I said I would go back and look and see if there was anything in my notes that would address that question," she said yesterday.
She said she found the notebook in her office. She reiterated that she couldn't recall who told her the name that she transcribed as "Valerie Flame." "I don't remember who told me the name," she said, growing agitated. "I wasn't writing a story, remember?" Asked if the other source was Mr. Rove, she replied, "I'm not going to discuss anyone else that I talked to." [LINK]Question: why was her notebook floating around her office as opposed to being carefully reviewed and stored in the possession of the New York Times' leadership? As they would be in any newsroom the moment a reporter's notes become part of a legal proceeding?
Mr. Sulzberger, whose family has a controlling stake in the company, told his paper that he let Ms. Miller and her lawyers play the lead role in deciding whether she would testify. He said he allowed Ms. Miller to keep her "hand on the wheel" because "she was the one at risk" of going to jail. Messrs. Sulzberger and Keller knew her source but didn't review Ms. Miller's notes, according to the Times, and Mr. Keller only this month learned that the name "Valerie Flame" appeared in Ms. Miller's notebook.What was I thinking?! This isn't J-school, it's the New York Times!