Thursday, July 28, 2005
Not everyone in the Times building is on the same page when it comes to Judy Miller. The official story the paper is sticking to is that Miller is a heroic martyr, sacrificing her freedom in the name of journalistic integrity.
But a very different scenario is being floated in the halls. Here it is: It's July 6, 2003, and Joe Wilson's now famous op-ed piece appears in the Times, raising the idea that the Bush administration has "manipulate[d]" and "twisted" intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." Miller, who has been pushing this manipulated, twisted, and exaggerated intel in the Times for months, goes ballistic. Someone is using the pages of her own paper to call into question the justification for the war -- and, indirectly, much of her reporting. The idea that intelligence was being fixed goes to the heart of Miller's credibility. So she calls her friends in the intelligence community and asks, Who is this guy? She finds out he's married to a CIA agent. She then passes on the info about Mrs. Wilson to Scooter Libby (Newsday has identified a meeting Miller had on July 8 in Washington with an "unnamed government official"). Maybe Miller tells Rove too -- or Libby does. The White House hatchet men turn around and tell Novak and Cooper. The story gets out.
This is why Miller doesn't want to reveal her "source" at the White House -- because she was the source. Sure, she first got the info from someone else, and the odds are she wasn't the only one who clued in Libby and/or Rove (the State Dept. memo likely played a role too)… but, in this scenario, Miller certainly wasn't an innocent writer caught up in the whirl of history. She had a starring role in it. This also explains why Miller never wrote a story about Plame, because her goal wasn't to write a story, but to get out the story that cast doubts on Wilson's motives. Which Novak did. ...
Sunday, July 24, 2005
by Ron Fornier
Jolting organized labor, the Teamsters and a massive service employees' union decided Sunday to bolt the AFL-CIO, paving way for two other labor groups to sever ties in the movement's biggest schism since the 1930s.
The four dissident unions, representing nearly one-third of the AFL-CIO's 13 million members, announced they were boycotting the federation's convention that begins Monday, a step that was widely considered to be a precursor to leaving the federation.
They are part of the Change to Win Coalition, a group of seven unions vowing to accomplish what the AFL-CIO has failed to do: Reverse the decades-long decline in union membership. But many union presidents, labor experts and Democratic Party leaders fear the split will weaken the movement politically and hurt unionized workers who need a united and powerful ally against business interests and global competition.
The Service Employees International Union, the largest AFL-CIO affiliate with 1.8 million members, has spearheaded the exodus and will announce Monday that it is leaving the AFL-CIO, said several labor officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. ...
by Anthony Wade
We have sat by for months now waiting for the web to completely untangle. We waited while we saw the White House Press Pool finally awaken from their slumber. We waited while we watched the target move from “unnamed administration officials”, to Karl Rove and now Scooter Libby. I keep waiting for this administration to blink, but surprisingly, they still have not. Sure, they trotted out John Roberts far earlier than they intended to try and smokescreen the press, but aside from that, this administration still acts like they are in this poker game. The still act as if there are other cards yet to be played.
That means the web runs deeper than this, far deeper. You need proof? Ask yourself one question then, why is Judy Miller still willing to rot in jail? The press and others have tried their level best to make Miller into a saint, but the truth is she is a criminal. She is not protecting a source, but rather, THE source of the treason at the heart of this story. I thought originally it was Karl Rove but Judy still sat in prison even after Rove publicly said that he released all reporters he spoke to from their confidentiality. Then I thought it might be Libby, but the Cooper testimony now reveals the proof that Libby is also involved. With that out in the open, it is no longer Libby whom Miller is protecting. Who is it then Judy? ...
by Douglas Frantz, Sonni Efron and Richard B. Schmitt
The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from determining whether White House officials violated a law against exposing undercover agents to determining whether evidence exists to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges, according to people briefed in recent days on the inquiry's status.
Differences have arisen in witnesses' statements to federal agents and a grand jury about how the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, was leaked to the press two years ago.
According to lawyers familiar with the case, investigators are comparing statements by two top White House aides, Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, with testimony from reporters who have acknowledged talking to the officials.
Although no one has suggested that the investigation into who leaked Plame's name has been shelved, the intensity of the inquiry into possible perjury charges has increased, according to one lawyer familiar with events who spoke on condition that he not be identified.
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, and his team have made no decision on whether to seek indictments.
The investigation focused initially on whether administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, in a campaign to discredit Wilson after he wrote an op-ed article in the New York Times criticizing the Bush administration's grounds for going to war in Iraq. ...
by Richard W. Stevenenson
His former secretary of state, most of his closest aides and a parade of other senior officials have testified to a grand jury. His political strategist has emerged as a central figure in the case, as has his vice president's chief of staff. His spokesman has taken a pounding for making public statements about the matter that now appear not to be accurate.
For all that, it is still not clear what the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity will mean for President Bush. So far the disclosures about the involvement of Karl Rove, among others, have not exacted any substantial political price from the administration. And nobody has suggested that the investigation directly implicates the president.
Yet Mr. Bush has yet to address some uncomfortable questions that he may not be able to evade indefinitely.
For starters, did Mr. Bush know in the fall of 2003, when he was telling the public that no one wanted to get to the bottom of the case more than he did, that Mr. Rove, his longtime strategist and senior adviser, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, had touched on the CIA officer's identity in conversations with journalists before the officer's name became public? If not, when did they tell him, and what would the delay say in particular about his relationship with Mr. Rove, whose career and Mr. Bush's have been intertwined for decades?
Then there is the broader issue of whether Mr. Bush was aware of any effort by his aides to use the CIA officer's identity to undermine the standing of her husband, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration of twisting its prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program.
For the last several weeks, Mr. Bush and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, have declined to address the leak in any substantive way, citing the continuing federal criminal investigation.
But Democrats increasingly see an opportunity to raise questions about Mr. Bush's credibility, and to reopen a debate about whether the White House leveled with the nation about the urgency of going to war with Iraq. And even some Republicans say Mr. Bush cannot assume that he will escape from the investigation politically unscathed.
Lance Armstrong closed out his amazing career with a seventh consecutive Tour de France victory Sunday -- and did it a little earlier than expected.
Because of wet conditions, race organizers stopped the clock as Armstrong and the main pack entered Paris. Although riders were still racing, with eight laps of the Champs-Elysees to complete, organizers said that Armstrong had officially won.
The stage started as it has done for the past six years -- with Armstrong celebrating and wearing the race leader's yellow jersey.
One hand on his handlebars, the other holding a flute of champagne, Armstrong toasted his teammates as he pedaled into Paris to collect his crown. He held up seven fingers -- one for each win -- and a piece of paper with the number 7 on it.
His sixth win last year already set a record, putting Armstrong ahead of four other riders -- Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Belgian Eddy Merckx and Spaniard Miguel Indurain -- who all won five Tours. ...
by Richard Keil
Two top White House aides have given accounts to a special prosecutor about how reporters first told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to people familiar with the case.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.
These discrepancies may be important because Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a covert intelligence agent. ...