The Miller Spiller Thriller

This whole thing is slowly becoming like an episode of “Lost“:

  • Who knows what?
  • Is everything not what it seems?
  • What are the alliances?
  • What is Patrick Fitzgerald doing in that hatch (i.e. grand jury investigation) of his? (From today’s Post: “‘This is not a guy who would walk away with nothing’ said one lawyer involved in the case.”
  • When will we know the ending?

And just like “Lost,” it’s both fascinating and terribly frustrating all at the same time. The drama of the case is getting ever more thick and the potential fallout from this case could be ginormous…or not.

So sit at your computer for a spell and let us get you caught up to speed…(after the jump). But, no matter what we say, do heed The Note’s caution: “Talking heads will keep stating the denouement will be the end of this month, but when was the last time they were right about anything in this case?”

How true…We’ll give it a shot anyway…


What we have at this point is more questions than answers, but the enormity of this case seems to grow exponentially each day.

Jay Rosen agrees: “A bigger unknown is affecting things. There are missing data we don’t even sense yet. I wish I could say what ‘it’ is, but I can’t because I don’t know enough.”

Join the club.

Judith Miller met with Fitzgerald yesterday and will appear before the grand jury again today.

Today’s CW confirms what many have suspected: That Fitzgerald could potentially be tackling some very serious issues. Among them:

Did Judith Miller lie to the grand jury?
Did Karl Rove lie to President Bush about his own involvement in this case?
Did Scooter Libby try to–oh so subtly–discourage Miller from testifying in front of the grand jury? (If in fact, this is true, Miller’s now-questionable decision to remain in jail for 85 days may seem sensible).
Did Scooter Libby lie by “forgetting” about a key conversation?
-Does this whole thing stem all the way back to the White House Iraq Group and concern a more widespread pattern of deception? (what Josh Marshall calls “A whole ‘nuther level of hurt.”

    “Lawyer’s familiar with the investgation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up tot eh March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson’s claims.”(Today’s WSJ)

Also from today’s Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Fitzgerald’s pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent’s name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy.”

From the Post: “Numerous lawyers involved in the 22-month investigation said they are bracing for Fitzgerald to bring criminal charges against administration officials. They speculated, based on his questions, that he may be focused on charges of false statements, obstruction of justice or violations of the Espionage Act involving the release of classified government information to unauthorized persons.”

And then there’s the whole bewilderment over the New York Times behavior throughout this whole ordeal.

Jay Rosen has the best write-up of the whole ordeal.

  • What we don’t know is why the Times has gone into editorial default. Nor do we know when normal operations will be restored. The explanations given don’t make much sense. From what I have been able to learn, concerned journalists at the paper, former Times staffers, and peers in national journalism are as baffled, as alarmed as the bloggers and critics. And of course no Times person even thinks of going on-the-record with any doubts — a statement in itself.

  • Not only is the Times not operating properly, it’s unable to say to readers: here’s why we’re not operating properly.

Gabriel Sherman has some choice explanations from NYTers Gail Collins and Jon Landman.

Don’t ask Leonard Downie his opinion. He said, “I’m in charge of this paper, not that one.”

Bill Keller tries to explain.

    As we’ve told readers, once her obligations to the grand jury are fulfilled, we intend to write the most thorough story we can of her entanglement with the White House leak investigation. It’s a complicated story involving a large cast, and it has required a meticulous reporting effort–in part to chase down and debunk some of the myths kicked up by the rumor mill.

So, we take it Judy’s not writing it herself? Hmm…

Howard Kurtz is a bit more sympathetic to the Gray Lady.

    Put yourself in Bill Keller’s shoes. Your reporter gets subpoenaed to testify about a confidential source. The natural reaction of any red-blooded journalist is to fight that in court, and the Times did, all the way to the Supreme Court. And lost. And Judy Miller, refusing to accept what she deemed a less-than-voluntary waiver from Libby–even though several other journalists had done so–went off to jail.

    Keller tells me the Times has a good track record of reporting on itself–the Jayson Blair case, which cost Keller’s predecessor his job, would be Exhibit A–and deserves the benefit of the doubt.

His entire piece is worth a read.

And, for those itching to see Rove in jail over all of this, here’s a glimpse into a Rove-free future.