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Completely Freaking Loopy

loopy.jpgChris Matthews had Judy Miller on Hardball yesterday, and treated her like one of the chummy journamalism crew. And then…Uh. Mah. Gawd  (H/T C&L.  Be forewarned, the clip will piss you off.):

Matthews: Judy, you’re a hero to the press. You are a woman to be trusted with secrets and thank you for coming on.

Hero? Trusted? What in the hell was Chris Matthews smoking yesterday? Has he spoken to anyone who works for the NYTimes in this lifetime?!? Trusted with whose secrets? Cripes. Let’s review, shall we:

— Emptywheel’s Sweet Judy Blew Lies.

Well, as Reuters says, this makes it a lot more likely Fitz will be able to sew up his neat little conspiracy case.

One source involved in the investigation said Miller’s notes could help Fitzgerald show a long-running and orchestrated campaign to discredit Wilson, which could help form the basis for a conspiracy charge.

Poor little Judy was so proud that she had gotten concessions from Fitzgerald. Concessions from the guy who was about to present her with the evidence she had committed perjury. Poor little Judy, who will now have to expose a whole network of sources in a pathetic attempt to get in Fitz’ good graces. I think the book deal and the martyrdom will have to wait for a while.

— Digby’s Judy’s Enablers.

I had not realized until I read this that Raines and Boyd had been around the paper as late as June of 2003. This clears something up for me. I have found it completely bizarre that Miller claimed she pitched the story to an editor and yet her editor, Jill Abramson, says it never happened. Miller refused to name the editor yesterday, which means she’s either lying outright or she has a reason not to name the person.

The White House had been agitated about Wilson since the spring, particularly about Nicholas Kristoff’s NYT columns in May, using Wilson as an anonymous source. Raines and Boyd resigned on June 5, 2003.

I think it’s likely that Miller pitched the idea to Raines or Boyd before they left, which means that she was on this Wilson beat weeks before she admits to it. And it explains why she won’t say to whom she pitched it.

It also means that she could have been operating independently during this period, before Bill Keller was named executive editor and pulled her off the WMD beat. Keller wasn’t kicked upstairs until July 14, 2003, coincidentally the day that Novak published his famous column.

Somebody should probably try to get Gerald Boyd and Howell Raines on the record.

— Swopa’s Judith Miller Does Scooter Libby’s Laundry.

Got that? As of June 2003, folks like Scooter Libby and Karl Rove were sitting around with the true story of how Wilson’s trip to Niger happened — which included none of the three leaks that would turn up later — and not getting very far with it from a PR standpoint. And nobody who was talking to the Washington Post was saying anything about Wilson’s wife. But come the second week in July, as I alluded to just over a week ago, word that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA (Leak 1) was seemingly everywhere, with the other pieces of what Robert Novak would soon write lurking in the shadows.

What happened in between? Oh, look — hello, it’s Judy Miller. In her firsthand account of her grand jury testimony, St. Judith writes of her conversation with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, VP Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, in his office on June 23, 2003:

My notes indicate that Mr. Libby took issue with the suggestion that his boss had had anything to do with Mr. Wilson’s trip. “Veep didn’t know of Joe Wilson,” I wrote, referring to the vice president. “Veep never knew what he did or what was said. Agency did not report to us.”

Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson’s wife for the first time. I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, “Wife works in bureau?” I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson’s wife might work for the C.I.A. . . . As to the question mark, I said I wasn’t sure what it meant. Maybe it meant I found the statement interesting. Maybe Mr. Libby was not certain whether Mr. Wilson’s wife actually worked there. Now let’s recall something that Libby lied about supposedly said during his grand jury testimony about his first meeting with Miller (which he postdated to July 8th): “Libby told Miller he heard that Wilson’s wife had something to do with sending him but he did not know who she was or where she worked, the source said.”

If this is what he said to Miller on June 23rd, given that Wilson had been sent to Niger by the CIA, Judy’s margin note (“Wife works in bureau?”) seems like a reasonable reaction, doesn’t? Sure, it seems like a leading question — Libby asking about something he almost certainly knew or could have found out on his own — but, hmm, maybe there was a certain logic behind that. But back to the gospel according to St. Judith, relating her rendezvous with Scooter at the St. Regis Hotel on July 8th…

— Jane on Judy, Judy, Judy.

Judy was loathed by the people she trampled on during her tenure at the Times, people who had to suck it up and take the heat for her crap reporting. She castigates the blogs for passing off speculation as fact? She led the fucking country into war with her quote-unquote “reporting” about non-existent WMDs and then breezily gave herself a pass because her sources misled her (so she says). She makes even the most lowly, conspiracy-theory laden blogger look Pulitzer worthy when compared to what she calls journalism. Blog traffic soars expressly because she is the poster girl for everything that’s wrong with traditional media right now.

— Jay Rosen on Times Report on Judy Miller.

Finally, it says so much about this case, about the information underworld of confidential sources, how little the Times own rules mattered to her, and how far gone Miller herself is when, in her account accompanying the Times article, she says:

Mr. Fitzgerald asked about a notation I made on the first page of my notes about this July 8 meeting, “Former Hill staffer.”

My recollection, I told him, was that Mr. Libby wanted to modify our prior understanding that I would attribute information from him to a “senior administration official.” When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby requested that he be identified only as a “former Hill staffer.” I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill.

Telling. (Let Josh Marshall explain why.) The new description for Libby is wholly misleading to readers—amounting to a lie, a misdirection play—but Miller is fine with it because it’s technically true.

— Jane on Judy Miller And the WHIGs.

Working through Miller, and taking advantage of her closeness to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, and the fact that she wouldn’t let anybody edit her but somehow managed get almost anything to the paper—[She called herself “Miss Run Amok,” and said it meant “I can do whatever I want.”]—the guys figured out that by feeding Judy bad stuff, they could not only avoid the Times laborious editing process but they could sell their war through its pages.

— Me on Dear Richard Cohen.

Oh, and in case you were wondering how Judy Miller got caught up in all of this mess, we prosecutors like to call it “accessory” — as in potentially prosecutable along with all the other folks involved if she was aiding and abetting the conspiracy to commit a crime. Poor Judy, carried water for people breaking the law and got caught. How dare a prosecutor want to see her treated like every other living, breathing citizen in this country?!? (Okay, I’m not really outraged, but I was trying to appear empathetic to you here. How am I doing?)

Perhaps you journalists (if I can be so bold as to count you among them) ought to reconsider being human shields for people who use you to commit odious crimes, and then leave you to rot in jail because they are too craven to accept responsibility for what they have done.

And the myriad of other Judy gems in the FDL vault. Pick one. Any one. And see what a “hero” Judy Miller really is, in all her fucking glory.

For heaven’s sake, if Hardball is going to touch anything dealing with the Fitzgerald investigation in the future, let David Shuster handle it. At least David understands the meaning of journalism — and doesn’t practice fact-free, fawning droolery in public. Judy Miller. Hero. Don’t make me puke.

(Photo of loops via Only Alice.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com