Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Irresistible Apocalypse 

That describes the tendency of my thinking--a permanent tendency toward, or desire for, the revealing that would leave nothing left to be said; a tendency that has been radically exacerbated by recent developments in Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the outing of Valerie Wilson.

A big picture is clarifying itself in my head. Will Fitzgerald remove the veil and let me see?

Even if they are never substantiated, it will be hard for me ever to believe anything other than the most bizarre and frightening implications of this investigation. You should all be reading TPM, firedoglake, and the Huffington Post regularly. I'm too lazy to give you more links. I'll just summarize what I take to be the key facts, most of which have been widely noted, some of which have not been--presumably because they are so obvious.

1) Judith Miller had a top secret security clearance, known about by none of the top officials at the CIA and the Pentagon. Some have doubted her claim, but a profile in New York magazine from last summer makes clear that this clearance was real. Barton Gellman of the Washington Post frequently was told to leave the room during conversations that she had privately with military officials. This clearance had to have been arranged by one of the Bush campaign operatives who were granted high-security military posts at CPA headquarters in Qatar last summer.

2) Judith Miller has lied to the grand jury about the source of the name "Valerie Flame," which she claims to have come from no source that she can remember--and not Libby. She is greatly invested in protecting Libby, clearly in order to protect herself. She and Libby are in on something. She went to jail to protect whatever they are, together, hiding.

2a) She also refused to cooperate with the Times reporters who wrote up the story on Sunday. This is a crucial fact: it means that she is forever burning her bridges with the Times and with all other respectable journalists.

2b) She and Libby met once in Jackson Hole, late in the summer of 2003, after the outing scandal had simmered down. Cheney was there at the same time.

2c) She was willing to identify Libby in a story as "a former Hill staffer," which was true in the most technical sense, for the sole purpose of concealing his identity and allowing him to smear Wilson/Plame with impunity.

3) The Times is in some still-undetermined way under the control of Judith Miller. She has something on the newspaper that Sulzberger and Keller want to keep secret. They would never otherwise have gone to bat for her, without knowing the nature of her relationship with Libby, and without knowing exactly what he had told her. They essentially did everything in their power to protect her and to cover for her, without asking even a single question--even after she had disobeyed her editors in several ways, even after numerous journalists had complained about her suspect practices. (See below.)

3a) One of the first things that Keller did upon becoming Executive Editor was remove Miller from the Iraq/WMD beat. But on his own admission, she "kept drifting back" into just this area--as if he had no say in the matter. She wrote a whole series of stories about the so-called "Oil for Food" scandal. These articles uncritically repeated wingnut talking points and smeared Annan. They were proven wrong by Paul Volcker himself, and the Times had to publish several corrections. Keller et al. could not have been unaware that Miller would continue doing her thing on the UN beat--her "thing" being whatever got her and Libby in trouble, and whatever got her in on the WMD "scoops" of 2003. Keller could not have wanted Miller on the UN beat. But he could not stop her from going there.

4) Reporters at the Times have been raising red flags about Miller since 2000. I can't link to this at the moment, but go to the Huffington Post, and find Arianna H.'s post about Miller as a "Cancer" on the Times. There you will find excerpted a formal memorandum written by a two-time Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist to his Times bosses, demanding that Miller be brought under control and refusing ever to share with her a byline again. The crux of the complaint was that she was "not a journalist," but a political advocate.

4a) The extent to which she was in fact "not a journalist" became clear in 2003. During the WMD clusterfuck, she published one story in particular that is worth remembering. In it, she claimed to have been told that the army had found an Iraqi scientist willing to testify to and prove the existence of the W.M.D. Miller never talked to this supposed source. She simply relayed the hearsay from her military sources. I have a strong feeling that this story was the fruit of her special security clearance.

5) Valerie Wilson was not outed in order to intimidate and quiet her husband. She was outed because certain people wanted her cover blown. This has never been satisfactorily grasped. You don't commit federal crimes because you're pissed that someone sad bad things about you in the newspaper. You commit federal crimes when federal agents like Plame (and others at the CIA, no doubt, including Joseph Wilson himself) are involved in a complex effort to investigate crimes that you have already committed.

There was a war between Cheney and the CIA. The major battle concerned the cooking of the pre-war intelligence, and took the form of a power struggle between White House officials (and Feith's Pentagon racket) and old-guard CIA professionals. Cheney seemed to have won when he regained office in 2004 and installed Goss at the CIA, where there was a total purge of all career civil-servant leadership. But Fitzgerald's investigation is the push-back. I would bet, from far in the back, George Tenet is now having his say.

But the main point: Valerie Wilson, an anti-WMD agent, had to have been threatening to get a hold of something big, perhaps concerning the forgery of those uranium documents that were the original "source" of the Niger claim. Joseph Wilson probably was in cahoots with her and others in the CIA at the highest level. The Republican claim that he was an anti-Bush partisan working with other politically motivated agents at the CIA is probably true. The CIA was fighting to save itself and its independence. The Valerie Wilson outing was part of Cheney's attempt to destroy the CIA once and for all.

But who is Judith Miller? Why is she important? The 2000 memo of complaint to the Times editors makes the key point: SHE IS NOT A JOURNALIST. This does not mean that she is simply unprofessional and incompetent, as are the rest of our "non-journalist" journalists in America. This means that she is actively pursuing another vocation under the cover of journalism. She has to be--formally, economically--involved in the Cheney-managed, anti-CIA, pro-Iraq-war conspiracy. It has to be a formal conspiracy, with a limited number of participants and a coherent plan. Remember also, along these lines, Miller's inexplicable proximity to Chalabi et al. And remember that Chalabi's nephew works in a law firm which also includes, as partners, Douglas Feith and a leading advocate for the Israeli settler movement. Chalabi, Feith, Libby, Miller, and several others were in on this, together, from the start--that is, from the summer of 2000.

Probably the Times went to bat for Miller because the paper sold its soul to her. Otherwise the Times' loyalty to this woman is completely inexplicable. Howell Raines probably knew why she was getting all the "scoops" from Chalabi and the White House Iraq-fiends, but thought, hey, we're doing good and beating the Post! Fuck it! In fact, Huffington's "Cancer" piece features a Times staffer saying that Raines savored the prospect of using the Miller "scoops" to disprove the conservative claim that the Times was "too liberal."

Of course. Of course.

This "conspiracy theory" is the only way of making sense of the given facts. Look at Miller's first-person account. Look at the hedging, the obfuscation. Something--something big--is pressing up from beneath the words, and preventing them from making sense. Hopefully it will come up all the way, and reveal itself.

UPDATE: Here is the link to Huffington's "Cancer" post, which quotes from a 2000 memo written by Craig Pyes to his Times bosses. Here is the key passage:

"I'm not willing to work further on this project with Judy Miller... I do not trust her work, her judgment, or her conduct. She is an advocate, and her actions threaten the integrity of the enterprise, and of everyone who works with her. . . . She has turned in a draft of a story of a collective enterprise that is little more than dictation from government sources over several days, filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies," and "tried to stampede it into the paper."

The last phrase is the key. She was trying to force things into the paper. Her job was to get certain stories into the pages of the New York Times. That's what her bosses paid her to do. These bosses, whoever they are, did not care whether the stories were true, or whether they redounded to the credit of the Times--because these bosses have never held editorial positions at that newspaper.

UPDATE II: Does this shed light on the identity of Miller's real employer? Good God.


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