Over the last several days, many eople have been speculating about just why Judy Miller is sitting in that jail cell right now. Despite the Beltway conventional wisdom that she's a martyr, others aren't so sure that she's protecting the 1st Amendment, but rather, taking the 5th. Arianna Huffington
has sources that go down this road:
A well-connected media source e-mailed to say that the most interesting development on the Miller story is coming from inside the Times: "I gather that Doug Jehl, who is a dogged and respected reporter, has been assigned to do an in-house investigative report for the Times and that he is already cutting pretty close to the bone. Several editors he has spoken to are now asking themselves why there wasn't more questioning of whether Miller's silence reflects a fear of incriminating herself rather than betraying a source. I predict this will start to unravel in the next couple of weeks -- if only because the Times is afraid of getting scooped again by outside rivals."Murray Waas
informs us that Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, confirmed that he talked to Miller, three days before Novak's column outing Valerie Plame came out. They discussed Plame in that meeting, according to Libby's grand jury testimony.
And James Carville, appearing on Don Imus, claims that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald isn't stopping at Miller, instead going after the whole NYT:
"My sense is he's coming after more people at the New York Times. He's going subpoena Bill Keller and all of them and ask them what Judy Miller told them. And if they don't talk, he's going to stick them in jail."
All of these things, taken as a whole, provide a narrative: Miller was getting information from the White House, either from Libby or from someone else (and she then passed it on to Libby). She pushed this at the Times to her editors, and they didn't immediately go for it. Then Novak published and Miller didn't see any need to push it anymore, as it was already out there. Carville seems to concur with this:
Carville said there was "heavy, heavy speculation out there" that Miller was being used by the White House to "disseminate this" - an apparent reference to CIA employee Valerie Plame's name.
"There are all sorts of rumors and I hear second hand that [Miller] was screaming out in the news room about this."
The Times, said Carville, "to some extent is going to have to come clean. Because they're going to have to tell us what Judy Miller knew, when she knew it and who she told."
"And there's a lot of people at the Times - and I know this to be a fact - who believe that," he insisted.
"It's going to be very interesting to see," Carville mused, "whether [Miller's] problem is a First Amendment [problem] - i.e., I want to protect a source - or a Fifth Amendment [problem] - I was out spreading this stuff too."
Something's about to blow here. The New York Times wants to defend against all evidence that they had a neocon operative working in their offices. I think we need to at leat raise the possibility that Miller has some loyalties of which nobody is aware. CIA? FBI? Who knows. But these things do happen.
A high-ranking defector from Afghanistan's Taliban movement told The Washington Post late last month that he was visited "two or three times" by U.S. intelligence agents posing as journalists. Mohammed Khaksar made the claim in an interview in Kabul, Afghanistan. The CIA declined to discuss the matter.
The media have long objected to intelligence agencies using the cover of journalism, saying such a practice could expose reporters in the field to potentially lethal suspicion. "That adds an unnecessary risk," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, based in Arlington, Va.
A CIA watchdog offered a different perspective. "In their point of view, there may be higher values than the protection of journalists -- and I'm not sure they're wrong," said Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "It may save many lives."
That was from December 2001. Does anyone doubt the practice still exists?