Friday, September 30, 2005

Miller on a Scooter

The Judith Miller case doesn't make any more sense than it ever did. She spent 85 days in jail to avoid doing what she has now apparently agreed to do, rat out Scooter Libby. Libby could have given her the unconditional specific waiver she claims to have required at any time, but didn't. Or rather, he claims he gave it over a year ago, and subsequently, but she didn't accept it. Libby's lawyer, laying it on awfully thick, said (my emphasis):

"We told her lawyers it was not coerced. We are surprised to learn we had anything to do with her incarceration."

Amazing! More weirdness from the New York Times itself, referring to Bill Keller, the executive editor, repeating another claim of Libby's lawyer:

"Mr. Keller said that Mr. Fitzgerald had cleared the way to an agreement by assuring Ms. Miller and her source that he would not regard a conversation between the two about a possible waiver as an obstruction of justice."

This is getting silly. Fitzgerald now has to bless the waiver that they claim to have been talking about for a year? The waiver that Fitzgerald wanted so that Miller would testify? It appears likely that the real story is that Fitzgerald finally had enough on Libby to go after him without Miller, so it was no longer necessary for Miller to keep her mouth shut as Libby was finished anyway. The fan dance about the waiver is a trick to hide the truth. The deal apparently is that Miller will testify, but only about her conversations with Libby, thus protecting anyone else in the White House she might have talked to, and, as an added bonus, protecting her own reputation if she took a more active role in the outing of Plame than she is prepared to admit. As Libby is doomed anyway, a decision appears to have been made to sacrifice him in order to protect someone more important. That would have to be Dick Cheney himself, who needs protection so he can run for President (and win, due to the crooked voting machines). Miller going to jail makes no sense unless we assume that:

  1. Libby's lawyer and the White House had to be convinced that Libby was going to be indicted anyway, and that convincing wasn't finished at the time Miller had to head off to jail (it required the testimony of other journalists and whatever else Fitzgerald was able to dig up);

  2. the charade about Libby's consent was necessary to allow Miller to play the press martyr role long enough to put pressure on Fitzgerald to agree to limit the scope of Miller's testimony; and

  3. the White House finally agreed that it was necessary to sacrifice Libby in order to protect Cheney, a concession that may actually have been precipitated by the loss of White House mojo caused by Bush's failed response to Katrina.

Miller gets to continue to play the role of martyr, Fitzgerald gets Libby - Cheney would have been overreaching, and dangerous to attempt - and Libby is temporarily inconvenienced, until his pardon and appointment to a cushy think tank job and his eventual reappearance in the new Cheney cabinet. Everybody wins!