Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is Judy Miller a First Amendment Martyr or an Administration Stooge?

I've been reading the Times' interepretation of the events leading up to the release of Judith Miller from her Alexandia jail cell lately. They were late in discussing the issue of her confidencial source (Scooter Libby, as it turns out) because they claim they were standing behind their reporter. Its hard to know if they, and Judith in particular, were really standing up for the first amendment or standing behind the administration. Their argument, as expected, is that if reporters are required by Grand Juries to reveal their confidencial sources, that higher-up administration officials will no longer talk to them, and their credibility as reporters will be lost. On the other hand, without this information, the Roves and Libby's of the world can continue to claim that they didn't leak any information about Wilson's CIA-wife. As discussed by Frank Rich in his Sunday column titled "It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby",

[w]hen Mr. Rove was aksed on camera by ABC News in September of 2003 if he had any knowledge of the Valerie Wilson leak and said no, it was only hours before the Justice Department would open its first leak investigation. When Scott McClellan later declared that he had been personally assured by Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby that hey were 'not involved' with the leak, the case was still in the safe hands of the attorney general then, John Ashcroft, himself a three-time Rove client in past political campaigns.

I recommend the entire article as it does a great job outlining the timeline of the White House's creation of the White House Iraq Group (August 2002) developed to create an "uber-narrative" / marketing campaign about the Iraq war, to the Downing Street memo "that the Bush administration was ensuring that 'the intelligence and the facts' about Iraq's W.M.D.'s 'were being fixed around the policy' of going to war", to the famous 16 words about "uranium from Africa" in Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address, to the current depositions of Carl Rove and the attack on Mr. Whistle-Blower-Wilson through the leak about his wife, Valerie Plume.

Of course, most Americans have no clue who Valerie Plume (to be confused with Valerie Wilson) is, what Carl Rove has to do with it, who Scooter Libby is, and what all of this has to do with Iraq. Not to mention the fact that most of us have forgotten about WMD's and that the reason for going to war in the first place never panned out. Fox News (!) even points out that crucial evidence like the Downing St. Memo was basically ignored in the US. Even if it is all spelled out for us on first-grader lined pages, [like it was in the 9-11 report], most couldn't care less. And why should they, there's a new, smaller i-pod out.


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