(We scour the Internet so you don’t have to)
Poor Judy: She’s hasn’t even been out of jail for a full 24 hours and already everyone is asking: What the hell was that whole thing about?
A lot of folks are confused about what exactly compelled Judy to go to jail. (The Note writes, “If you are confused about the circumstances of Miller’s release from jail yesterday, you are not alone.” On CSpan this morning, Matt Cooper said he found the whole affair “quite confusing.”) The very waiver that she just received from Libby is the same one offered to her (and taken by Matt Cooper) months ago. Why didn’t she take it then and why did she take it now? Did she go to jail…for nothing at all? At some point, we’re all going to want to find out what was not okay with the first waiver and what was okay with this one (because most of us can’t seem to figure it out).
Mickey Kaus quotes the NYT piece from this morning (“Other people involved in the case have said Ms. Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given”) and says: “That has to be disingenuous. You mean she was sitting in jail all because she never bothered to inquire and find out that the waiver that would free her was genuine?”
Wonkgirl has her own take on it: “Fellow source-hoarder Matt Cooper’s thrilling tale of a last-minute reprieve had seemed cinematic at the time. Good stuff, we thought, but what’s a book about being a journalist martyr without sleeping on cement and not being able to watch CNN? When Miller stayed clammed up while Cooper sang, people wondered what she knew and now it’s clear: She knows the dollar value of minor humiliation and anecdotes about prison laundry.”
Part of it may be that she just didn’t think that Libby’s original waiver was good enough (or at least wasn’t as confident in it as Cooper apparently was) and that she wanted something a bit more personal (we assume that jail turned out to be plenty personal enough for Judy). More odd is that it also seems like she and her lawyer didn’t even try too hard to get that waiver. On Aug. 2, Adam Liptak wrote in the New York Times that “Judy and her lawyers have declined to answer the question of whether they have done anything at all to contact the source and try to obtain a satisfactory waiver.”
Howard Kurtz provides a great piece today on the subject that’s well worth reading in its entirety and he ponders, “Could it really have turned on that? Say you really, really mean it?” You can almost hear Howard scratching his head at his desk as he writes his piece. His opening line tips off the piece’s tone: “Judy Miller has just spent three months in an Alexandria jail, so I’m not going to criticize her.”
Dan Froomkin does a great analysis on it and asks, “So what was Miller doing in jail? Was it all just a misunderstanding?”
Also this doozy from Froomkin: “Note to reporters: There is nothing intrinsically noble about keeping your sources’ secrets. Your job, in fact, is to expose them. And if a very senior government official, after telling you something in confidence, then tells you that you don’t have to keep it secret anymore, the proper response is “Hooray, now I can tell the world” — not “Sorry, that’s not good enough for me, I need that in triplicate.” And if you’re going to go to jail invoking important, time-honored journalistic principles, make sure those principles really apply.”
Mediacrity asks “Did Judy Miller make a fool of her supporters?”
According to the LATimes, the tough prison conditions may have been a factor, too (you think?). The lack of CNN and the Internet certainly pushed over the brink, too. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. was kind enough to serve her a steak dinner last night. No, we don’t think she simply trying to find a way to make it to the Coldplay concert tonight.
Kurtz says that “Miller’s motivation was that prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald was making noises about either charging her with criminal contempt or impaneling another grand jury, which could have extended her stay in Alexandria. But I’m glad, for her sake, that she’s out.”
FishbowlNY makes some good points: “For a change, there are mysteries: it takes a year to get a waiver from Scooter Libby? Are these people mentally challenged? No, they are not. Which means that one of two things happened: (1) Miller blew off Libby’s many offers to release her of responsiblity in order to make a point; or (2) Libby had privately given her very good reason to make her doubt the veracity of his public claims…
“So. As the Times account reads, Libby’s coming on all “Dude, what’s you’re deal? I told you to go ahead and testify,” and Judy’s all “You are so full of it, you so did not.”
Naturally, the majority of our confusion stems from the fact that this is a grand jury case, so secrecy (which leads to confusion which leads to speculation which leads to the dark side…) is the name of the game.
Next up: Grand jury indictments?