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JUDITH MILLER: FREE

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 29, 2005 08:07 PM

Via Editor and Publisher:

Judith Miller, The New York Times reporter who has been jailed since July 6 for refusing to identify a source, has been released, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on its Web site tonight.

It said that an unnamed jail official had revealed that “Miller left an Alexandria, Va. jail late this afternoon….She was released after she had a telephone conversation with the Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, sources said. In that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, sources said.

“It could not be immediately determined whether Miller has now agreed to testify.”

There is no other confirmation of this tip and no story about it has appeared on The New York Times site as yet.

The Inquirer piece requires registration. Here’s an excerpt:

Judith Miller, The New York Times reporter who has been jailed since July 6 for refusing to identify a source, has been released, The Inquirer has learned.

Miller left an Alexandria, Va. jail late this afternoon, a jail official said.

She was released after she had a telephone conversation with the Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, sources said. In that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, sources said.

More via Breitbart/AP:

After nearly three months in jail, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released Thursday after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert CIA officer, two people familiar with the case said.

Miller left the federal detention center in Alexandria, Va., after reaching an agreement with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Legal sources said she would appear before a grand jury investigation the case Friday morning. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings.

The sources said Miller agreed to testify after securing an unconditional release from Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, to testify about any discussions they had involving Plame.

And the NYTimes finally posts its own story. Excerpt:

The Times’ publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said in a statement that the newspaper supported Ms. Miller’s decision to testify, just as it backed her earlier refusal to cooperate. “Judy has been unwavering in her commitment to protect the confidentiality of her source,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “We are very pleased that she has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver, both by phone and in writing, releasing her from any claim of confidentiality and enabling her to testify.”

Mr. Fitzgerald has for more than a year sought testimony from Ms. Miller about conversations she had with Mr. Libby. Her willingness to testify was based in part on personal assurances given by Mr. Libby earlier this month that he had no objection to her discussing their conversations with the grand jury, according to those officials briefed on the case.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation has centered on the question of whether anyone in the Bush administration illegally disclosed to the news media the identity of an undercover C.I.A. employee, Valerie Wilson, whose name was first published in July 2003 in a syndicated column by Robert F. Novak. A secondary focus has been whether government officials were truthful in their testimony to investigators and the grand jury.

Ms. Miller never wrote an article about Ms. Wilson. Mr. Fitzgerald has said that obtaining Ms. Miller’s testimony was one of the last remaining objectives of his inquiry, and the deal with Ms. Miller suggests that the prosecutor may soon bring the long-running investigation to an end. It is unknown whether prosecutors will charge anyone in the Bush administration with wrongdoing.

The agreement that led to Ms. Miller’s release followed intense negotiations between Ms. Miller; her lawyer, Robert Bennett; Mr. Libby’s lawyer, Joseph Tate; and Mr. Fitzgerald. The talks began with a telephone call from Mr. Bennett to Mr. Tate in late August. Ms. Miller spoke with Mr. Libby by telephone earlier this month as their lawyers listened, according to people briefed on the matter. It was then that Mr. Libby told Ms. Miller that she had his personal and voluntary waiver.

But the discussions were at times strained, with Mr. Libby and Mr. Tate asserting that they communicated their voluntary waiver to Ms. Miller’s lawyers more than year ago, according to those briefed on the case. Mr. Libby wrote to Ms. Miller in mid-September, saying that he believed her lawyers understood that his waiver was voluntary.

Others involved in the case have said that Ms. Miller did not understand that the waiver had been freely given and did not accept it until she had heard from him directly.

John Podhoretz reacts:

I hope some day somebody writes all this down, because the whole story is unbelievable. Miller never writes a story about Plamegate, but insists she must keep her sources secret, even though the name of her primary source, Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby, has long since been a matter of public record — and has publicly released her from her pledge of anonymity. She decides to go to jail to protect the principle of source anonymity, and is only weeks away from being sprung (because the grand jury she was refusing to talk to will go out of business in Ocrober) before she abandons her stand on principle and decides to talk. And all this in relation to a matter that may well not have been a crime to begin with. Weird wacko crazy bananas.

Tom Maguire, master of all things Plame and forensic reader of the NYTimes, sifts through the Grey Lady’s coverage.

John Hinderaker at Power Line puts the news in proper perspective:

The entire Plame story, in my opinion, is one of the most overblown of modern times. The real story here is about her husband Joe Wilson, who, at his wife’s instigation, was sent on a diplomatic mission to Niger for which he was ill-suited, and who then lied about his own findings there in a New York Times op-ed, for the purpose of damaging President Bush politically. Joe Wilson is one of the great scoundrels of recent times, but you wouldn’t know it unless you are a regular reader of this or a handful of other sites. If you search our site for “Joe Wilson” or “Joseph Wilson,” you will find a link to the Congressional report that concluded that Wilson is a liar.

The substantive aspects of this story, however, have been completely lost in the media love-fest with Valerie Plame.

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