Saturday, December 03, 2005
Public Embarrassment and/or Ridicule
Here's a pdf of the latest Plame leak probe document which Patrick Fitzgerald filed in court on Friday in relation to the Wall Street Journal's battle to un-redact parts of the February 15, 2005 appeals court decision which affirmed that Judith Miller and Time's Matt Cooper were in contempt of court at the time for refusing to testify: "Government's response to motion of Dow Jones & Co. to unseal redacted portion of the court's opinion."
Fitzgerald is going to allow all the stuff about Libby to be released but not much else. Perhaps there's a few White House press reporters sighing in relief about this decision:
"However, the Special Counsel has concluded that secrecy continues to be necessary with respect to the remainder of the redacted pages, in order to protect from public embarrassment or ridicule individuals whose status as grand jury witnesses or subjects has not been publicly disclosed, as well as to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation."....
"In addition, all but one of the witnesses discussed in this portion of the redacted pages have publicly disclosed the substance of their own testimony before the grand jury."
Aside from the fact that the latter quote seems to imply (or compels me to speculate or maybe even blogulate) that at least one other journalist talked with Libby and - most importantly - told the grand jury whom we the public haven't heard from yet, there's another thing that makes me wonder.
Is Fitz giving the blogosphere a shout-out?
"Public embarrassment or ridicule" is what we're known for, right, Tina Brown?
Speaking of PE or R...
Judy Miller told the BBC that it was after her second meeting with Scooter Libby on July 8, 2003 that she "began to think that this was potentially newsworthy."
What was this?
From A Personal Account - My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room by Judith Miller:
"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."
Or was it this?
"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."
"Did Mr. Libby explain this request? Mr. Fitzgerald asked. No, I don't recall, I replied. But I said I assumed Mr. Libby did not want the White House to be seen as attacking Mr. Wilson."
Time's running out, White House press people.
If you haven't figured it out by now any little thing you might have heard from (or told) a White House official (or mouthpiece) directly related to Valerie Wilson Plame before Robert Novak went to press is way more than just "newsworthy" at this not-sure-where stage in the "ongoing" game. It's also subpoenable.
Come out tomorrow and you might still face a little "public embarrassment or ridicule" but keep in mind - as James Wolcott notes - Bob Woodward has still "got a heavy lineup of Christmas parties to attend."
If Fitz don't get you...one of your colleagues just might.
(Just wanted to add for the benefit of newer readers that even though I'm making fun a little bit I don't think that reporters should be compelled to give up their sources...even in this case...but when they do...damn straight...I believe they better be telling the truth...and most reasonable people can see that unless Woody or Judy or Matty testified in fuller detail than what they reported to us readers that that hasn't been going on to say the least)