10/16/2005

Daily Kos: Who told Judy about Valerie PLAME?

Who told Judy about Valerie PLAME?
by katerina [Subscribe]
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 04:43:08 AM CDT

After reading the two NYT articles about Judy Miller's involvement in the Plame Leak investigation, I came away with one significant question:

Who was Judith Miller's real source as to the identity of Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative?

Miller's putative source was Scooter Libby, but Miller claims Libby didn't provide her with Valerie Plame's name or undercover status. If Judy's telling the truth about that (and while the article in the NYT indicates that wagering on Judy's truthfulness may be a sucker bet), then who did?

I suspect the answer to that question might provide enlightenment as to many of the strange twists and turns in Judy's Magical Mystery Tour. It might also might also lead us back to one of the earliest and most perplexing questions about Bob Novak's original leak: why did he refer to Wilson's wife as Valerie Plame?

* katerina's diary :: ::
*

So let's look at the question of whether Judith Miller, despite her lawyer's assurances to Patrick Fitzgerald that Judy had only one "meaningful source", had a second source that outed Wilson's wife and provided Miller with Wilson's little known maiden name of Valerie Plame. If we take Judith Miller's statements at face value, it seems like that could very well be the case. Let's review the evidence:

1. "Valerie Flame"

In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: "Valerie Flame."

This is the lead paragraph in today's Times article about Miller's (and the NYT's) involvement in the Plame leak investigation. It shows the importance that many -- including Fitzgerald -- give to Miller's short, mispelled notation. However, though the notation was found in a notebook containing notes of her July 8, 2003 meeting with Scooter Libby, Miller claims the info did not come from Libby. From Judy's own report:
On one page of my interview notes, for example, I wrote the name "Valerie Flame." Yet, as I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from, when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled. I testified that I did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby, in part because the notation does not appear in the same part of my notebook as the interview notes from him.

Judy also claims Libby did not reveal that Plame was an undercover agent.
My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr. Wilson's wife by name. Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a covert agent or "operative," as the conservative columnist Robert D. Novak first described her in a syndicated column published on July 14, 2003.

A further indication that Libby is not likely to have been the source of Plame's name is the fact that in the notes of Miller's phone call with Libby on July 12th is the notation "Victoria Wilson." Why so much confusion about Plame's name if Libby knew it? The name did not appear in the now famous classified State Dept. memo, and no other journalist (except Novak) seems to have been graced with the information about Wilson's maiden name.

We've already taken a risk by assuming that Judy is telling the truth on this point. Let's go in even deeper and take Scooter Libby at his word when he sends this message via his lawyer to Floyd Abrams in September 2004 who was representing the NYT and Judy Miller.

Mr. Abrams told Ms. Miller and the group that Mr. Tate had said she was free to testify. Mr. Abrams said Mr. Tate also passed along some information about Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony: that he had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson's wife.

2. A Plame by any other name . . .

Despite the fact that Judy seems to have such trouble remembering how she came to make that notation of "Valerie Flame" in her notebook, the name Valerie Plame as referring to Wilson's wife obviously made a deep impression on her, because during questioning by Fitzgerald about the reference to Wilson as "Victoria Wilson" she states: I told Mr. Fitzgerald I believed that before this call, I might have called others about Mr. Wilson's wife. In my notebook I had written the words "Victoria Wilson" with a box around it, another apparent reference to Ms. Plame, who is also known as Valerie Wilson.

I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I was not sure whether Mr. Libby had used this name or whether I just made a mistake in writing it on my own. Another possibility, I said, is that I gave Mr. Libby the wrong name on purpose to see whether he would correct me and confirm her identity.

I also told the grand jury I thought it was odd that I had written "Wilson" because my memory is that I had heard her referred to only as Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether this suggested that Mr. Libby had given me the name Wilson. I told him I didn't know and didn't want to guess.

So Judy can't remember whether Libby used the name Wilson or not during the phonecall on the 12th, but she remembers that she only heard Valerie Wilson referred to as Plame? Also, why would she have wanted Libby to confirm Plame's identity as Wilson's wife unless she had gotten that identity from somebody else

:Daily Kos: Who told Judy about Valerie PLAME?

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