The New York Times reports that their very own Judith Miller has been released after 12 weeks in jail and will testify today in front of the grand jury regarding the Valerie Plame leak case. Miller states that her source, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, has given her a voluntary and personal waiver to testify.
The discussions were at times strained, with Mr. Libby and Mr. Tate's [Libby's lawyer] asserting that they communicated their voluntary waiver to another lawyer for Ms. Miller, Floyd Abrams, more than year ago, according to those briefed on the case.
Other people involved in the case have said Ms. Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given and did not accept it until she had heard from Mr. Libby directly.
Ms. Miller authorized her lawyers to seek further clarification from Mr. Libby's representatives in late August, after she had been in jail for more than a month. Mr. Libby wrote to Ms. Miller in mid-September saying he believed that her lawyers understood during discussions last year that his waiver was voluntary.
So Miller thought the waiver she originally got a year ago from Libby was not the extra-special-with-cherry-on-top waiver that she wanted. Why didn't she ask Libby for clarification that could've saved her from serving any jail time in the first place? Why did she wait until she's been in jail for a month before seeking said clarification when Fitzgerald, as the NYT further reports, assured her that any conversation with Libby about the matter won't be considered obstruction of justice?
In July, when Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ordered Miller to jail, he told her she was mistaken in her belief that she was defending a free press, stressing that the government source she "alleges she is protecting" had released her from her promise of confidentiality.
With imminent jail time, you would think Miller would make a last-ditch effort to get the clarification she wants after such a statement from the sentencing judge. But she didn't, and I suspect there are a few reasons why:
1. I agree with Digby and Jeralyn, Miller is concerned about testifying under oath not just about Libby but her stable of sources -- Bolton possibly among them --inside the Bush Administration. Miller is embedded with the Washington, D.C. establishment and in exchange for taking stenography to power, she is afforded access that very few journalists get. If she squeals on them, her career is finished.
2. She was biding for time. Miller knew the grand jury is set to expire October 28th, and Fitzgerald makes no secret that her testimony is the last piece of the puzzle in his investigation. It was a risky move, considering that Fitzgerald can reconvene the grand jury and extend her jail time for months, but in the end her gamble paid off:
Bill Keller, the executive editor, said Mr. Fitzgerald had assured Ms. Miller's lawyer that "he intended to limit his grand jury interrogation so that it would not implicate other sources of hers."
3. She's milking the martyr image for all its worth. Being a member of the media, she knows the battle for perception is crucial. She said,
"I went to jail," she added, "to preserve the time-honored principle that a journalist must respect a promise not to reveal the identity of a confidential source. I chose to take the consequences, 85 days in prison, rather than violate that promise. The principle was more important to uphold than my personal freedom."
Considering Libby's release and considering she didn't even write a story about the Plame case, I don't know why she thinks she's revealing a "confidential source" as opposed to covering up a possible crime. Keeping up the pretense is a good cover for her true objective though, which is to protect her sources at all costs.
By all appearances, it seems Fitzgerald got the raw end of this deal. Digby, however, presents a strong argument as to why he shouldn't be discounted yet.
With Miller's scheduled testimony today, we may find out what Fitzgerald has up his sleeve.