Daily Archives: July 5, 2005

Well folks, after all the breast-beating and pearls-clutching it looks like the curtain’s going up on the last act of The Plame and the Arrow:

A federal prosecutor on Tuesday demanded that Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer’s identity, even though Time Inc. has surrendered e-mails and other documents in the probe.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald also opposed the request of Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller to be granted home detention—instead of jail—for refusing to reveal their sources.

Allowing the reporters home confinement would make it easier for them to continue to defy a court order to testify, he said. Special treatment for journalists may “negate the coercive effect contemplated by federal law,” Fitzgerald wrote in filings with the court.

“Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality—no one in America is,” Fitzgerald wrote.

You read it right, folks. If they fail to report the crime they witnessed Judy Chalabi and Kenny Bania are going to the slammer like the common criminals they are.

Fitzgerald is investigating who in the administration leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a possible federal crime. Plame’s identity was leaked days after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly disparaged the president’s case for invading Iraq.

Plame’s name was first published in a 2003 column by Robert Novak, who cited two unidentified senior Bush administration officials as his sources. Novak has refused to say whether he has testified or been subpoenaed.

Cooper wrote a subsequent story naming Plame, and Miller gathered material but never wrote an article.

I’m sure you know the drill:

“What about Novak? Didn’t he print the story? Doesn’t he know the leaker? Why isn’t he being prosecuted?”

Well for all we know Novaluka may well be prosecuted. But since Fitzgerald is a legal professional rather than a garbage-bag-toting clown like Ken Starr, his investigation is under wraps. Naturally this drives our unspeakably lazy and corrupt “free press” into fits of rage. And that’s all to the good.

Time turned over Cooper’s notes and other documents last week, four days after the Supreme Court refused to consider the case. Cooper’s attorneys argued that producing the documents made it unnecessary for him to testify.

Nice try, asshole.

Of course those notes are of interest to Fitzgerald, but not as much as Kenny Bania actually sitting down an answer questions — like any criminal witness.

Miller and Cooper could be ordered to jail as early as Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan will hear arguments from Fitzgerald and lawyers for the reporters about whether they should testify.

Hogan has found the reporters in contempt of court for refusing to divulge their sources and he indicated last week that he is prepared to send them to jail if they do not cooperate.

In his court filings, Fitzgerald said it is essential for courts to enforce their contempt orders so that grand juries can get the evidence they need.

Precisely.

Fitzgerald said it would be up to the judge to decide whether to send Cooper to the District of Columbia jail or some other facility. On Friday, Cooper’s lawyers argued against sending him to the D.C. jail, saying it is a “dangerous maximum security lockup already overcrowded with a mix of convicted offenders and other detainees awaiting criminal trials.”

Oh Prunella! If it’s good enough for Martha Stewart then it’s good enough for Judy — even as she continues the pretense that her anal excretions leave no olifactory offense.

Miller’s lawyers argue that there are no circumstances under which she will talk, but Fitzgerald disagreed.
“There is tension between Miller’s claim that confinement will never coerce her to testify and her alternative position that this court should consider less restrictive forms of confinement,” the prosecutor wrote.

Maybe Judy’s lawyers should arrange a special screening of Caged for her.

Or better still, Caged Heat starring the fabulous Barbara Steele

The case is among the most serious legal clashes between the media and the government since the Supreme Court in 1971 refused to stop the Times and The Washington Post from publishing a classified history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers.

So Judy and Kenny have papers? No, they would like us all to think they are papers. In other words they’re pulling our leg — or as the French say “va en bateau”

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have shield laws protecting reporters from having to identify their confidential sources. Legislation to establish such protection under federal law has been introduced in Congress

But who’s being protected from whom?

Happily not everyone’s susceptible to to this brand of banana oil, as Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune neatly demonstrates:

It may not be surprising to find a couple of journalists behaving irresponsibly. What is surprising is that the entire press has rallied behind them. A host of news organizations, including Tribune Co., signed a brief siding with Cooper and Miller during their court battle. Editorialists at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, who normally can’t agree that shamrocks are green, both condemned special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for thinking the protection of our spies justifies inconveniencing reporters.

The “moral” of this story?

Journalists like nothing better than exposing self-seeking behavior by special interests who care nothing for the public good. In this case, they can find it by looking in the mirror.

Can I get a SING OUT LOUISE!

Meanwhile back in Judy’s lair a certain Scott Shane has a number of very carefully chosen words to say about Valerie Plame —

who he pointedly declines to call Valerie Plame:

For nearly two years, the investigation into the leak of a covert C.I.A. officer’s name has unfolded clamorously in the nation’s capital, with partisan brawling on talk shows, prosecutors interviewing President Bush and top White House officials, and the imminent prospect that reporters could go to jail for contempt of court.

But the woman at the center of it all, Valerie E. Wilson, has kept her silence, showing the discipline and discretion that colleagues say made her a good spy. As her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, has become a highly visible critic of the administration and promoted his memoirs, Ms. Wilson has ferried their 5-year-old twins to doctors’ appointments, looked after their hilltop house in the upscale Palisades neighborhood of Washington and counseled women with postpartum depression.

CALLING TOM CRUISE!

On June 1, after a year’s unpaid leave, Ms. Wilson, now known to the country by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, returned to a new job at the Central Intelligence Agency, determined to get her career back on track, her husband said. Neither the agency nor Mr. Wilson would describe her position, except to make what might seem an obvious point: she will no longer be working under cover, as she did successfully for almost 20 years.

“Before this whole affair, no one would ever have thought of her as an undercover agent,” said David Tillotson, a next-door neighbor for seven years who got to know the Wilsons well over back-fence chats, shared dinners and play dates for their grandchildren with the Wilsons’ children, Trevor and Samantha.

“She wasn’t mysterious,” Mr. Tillotson said. “She was sort of a working soccer mom.”

Hmmm. Good part for Renee Zellwegger.

He recalled his incredulity on July 14, 2003, when his wife, Victoria, spotted in The Washington Post, in a syndicated column by Robert Novak, a line identifying their neighbor by her maiden name and calling her an “agency operative.” Ms. Tillotson kept calling out: “This can’t be! This can’t be!”

The Wilsons’ neighbor on the other side, Christopher Wolf, was similarly aghast. As he sat on his deck staring at the Novak column, Mr. Wilson came out his back door.

“I said: ‘This is amazing! I had no idea,’ ” Mr. Wolf recalled. “He sort of motioned to me to keep my voice down.”

So if these good people didn’t know, maybe Karl Rove didn’t either.

And maybe the Bluebird of happiness will fly out of The Creature From the Blog Lagoon’s steroid-engorged neck.

Meanwhile, Ms. Wilson, 42, whose husband said she has used her married name both at work and in her personal life since their 1998 marriage, declined to speak for this article. She has guarded her privacy, with rare exceptions. She posed with her husband for a Vanity Fair photographer, wearing sunglasses and with a scarf over her blond hair. She drafted an op-ed article to correct what she felt were distortions of her and her husband’s actions, but the C.I.A. would not authorize its publication, saying it would “affect the agency’s ability to perform its mission.”

Now how do you suppose “Scott Shane” found out about the op-ed column and the CIA’s disinclination to authorize its publication?

Somebody high up in the editorial board of the New York Times, perchance? Somebody who doesn’t want to go to jail for one of her crimes?

Though she traveled regularly, Ms. Wilson, who speaks French, German and Greek, had been working for some time at agency headquarters in Langley, Va. And her marriage to a senior American diplomat, Mr. Wilson, ended any pretense of having no government ties.

“At that point, she looks, walks and quacks like an overt agency employee,” said Fred Rustmann, a C.I.A. officer from 1966 to 1990, who supervised Ms. Wilson early in her career and calls her “one of the best, an excellent officer.”

Yet outside the spy world, word of her real employment came as a shock. To have such a carefully nurtured identity shattered in a single stroke was traumatic, Mr. Wilson said. “Your whole network of personal relationships over 20 years are compromised,” he said.

And doubtless put many lives in danger — and may indeed have ended several of them. But we’ll never know because the New York Times doesn’t care.

They do care about the movie, however.

Their turn in the limelight changed that temporarily, as liberal celebrities embraced them; they were honored in late 2003 at a dinner at the guesthouse of the television producer Norman Lear, with guest list that included Warren Beatty.

Well forget Renee. It’s going to be Annette Benning or bust. Right Judy?

And does this mean that Warren will play Joe Wilson? That’s probably what the NYT crowd imagines. But something tells me if he’s going to be making another biopic it’ll be about Judy. And in that case his old flame (and good friend) Diane Keaton would be ideal.

With Jack as Chalabi, of course.

Despite conservatives’ efforts to portray him as a left-wing extremist, he insisted he remained a centrist at heart. But after his tangle with the current administration, he admits “it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for a Republican, even for dog catcher.”

Mr. Wilson ended a long interview in a downtown hotel when he realized he was late to pick up the twins. As the first gulf war loomed, and Mr. Wilson was the last American official to meet with Saddam Hussein, his older twins, Joe and Sabrina, were 12 years old, and worried that their father might not make it out of Baghdad to join them in the United States, he said.

During this war with Iraq, the gravest danger to him has been political vilification. He and his wife, Mr. Wilson said, have tried to insulate their children from the hubbub that followed the leak of her name.

It has not always been easy. Once, when Trevor was 3, he recognized his father on yet another show.
“He banged on the TV,” Mr. Wilson recalled, “and said, ‘Dad, get out of the box!’ “

Too bad Haley Joel Osment is too old to play that part.

Lynette Clemetson contributed reporting for this article.

So that’s what Judy’s calling herself nowadays! Such a clever girl.

Though in regard to Fitzgerald, not quite clever enough.