Wednesday :: Jul 13, 2005

Thinking the Unthinkable

by larre

I am not often given to wool-gathering without facts, but the temptation presented by the burgeoning 'Treasongate' scandal is too seductive to resist.

It is unarguable that Judy Miller's situation is different from that of Matt Cooper. One is in jail. The other took the witness stand today.

If, contrary to her professional history and personal character, you allow Miller the generous assumption that she is motivated by the same high ideals of Matt Cooper, rather than the deplorable careerism and self-promotion we know to be her chief obsessions, it is useful to speculate what lies at the heart of the difference in circumstance Miller finds herself in. Therein may lie a fruitful avenue for understanding who's really standing behind the wizard's curtain.

There are three possibilties I see being kicked around -- and a fourth one no one has yet mentioned.

The conventional theories are:

Possibility No. 1: Different Sources

Miller's source is different from Cooper's but for some reason that single source won't give her the same high sign Cooper received. This would explain why Miller is eating mush and sleeping on a cement mattress.

A charitable interpretation of her motives would argue she truly thinks she's protecting the First Amendment and believes the courts don't know the law as well as she does. (A less charitable explanation would be that she sees her short-term martyrdom as a way to repair her deservedly lousy professional reputation, to throw eyewash at the public and make them forget how many deaths she has helped to cause, and to generate interest for a book deal. But for the sake of discussion we're being generous to this faux journalist, remember?)

Possibility No. 2: Same Source, Different Words

Miller's source is the same as Cooper's but for some reason the same source won't give her the same high sign he gave Cooper. Why? An obvious explanation is that the content of the two conversations differed.

With Cooper, the Rightrats already are arguing that the source (assumed to be Rove) didn't mention Valerie Plame by name and therefore didn't "knowingly" commit a crime. That is thin gruel for a criminal defense but sometimes thin is the best you can get.

This would imply, however, that with Miller something different happened. Either Rove did mention the name; or, as some have speculated convincingly, it was Miller who gave Valerie Plame's name to Rove -- in which case Miller is using the claimed 'journalist privilege' as a surrogate for the Fifth Amendment to keep her ass out of jail for a much longer time. But we're exploring all of this with a charitable view of Miller's motives, remember?

The details really don't matter, anyway; the point is Rove's conversations with the two journalists well could have been very different. Assuming the Rove-Miller conversation was different in substance from the Rove-Cooper conversation, from the viewpoint of the source (Rove) allowing Cooper to testify preserves his thin gruel defense but allowing Miller to testify could blow it up. Hence, the difference comes down to a very Rovian tactic: using and waiving the so-called 'journalist privilege' as a means for controlling and spinning a dissembling message which the lemming-like media will dutifully report without context or critical thinking.

Possibility No. 3: Same Source, Same Words

Consider the third possibility that Miller got the same high sign from the same source but for some reason she won't use it. A conventional viewpoint might think along these lines: Rove was probably Cooper's source and surely must have been Miller's as well. However, he may have said something to Miller -- or Miller said something to him -- that Miller decided needed a second source. It is this second source who won't release Miller. Maybe Miller hasn't even asked.

Concerned that if she testifies about the one source she will inevitably implicate the other, Miller -- again, we're being charitable here -- stands on principle. She needs both sources to give her a waiver, and the second one can't or won't release her.

This leads into a speculative realm I haven't seen anyone else wreckless enough to enter. So I will.

Possibility No. 4: Speculating About the Unthinkable Second Source

If not Rove, who could this second source be? Not Scooter Libby. He's released his journalist lapdogs. Moreover, no lesser White House source could meet the "high" status reported by Novak the Hack.

I wonder... . Could it be? Would Karl Rove have wanted to throw a little bone in front of Judy -- a favor done for many favors received? Would she have insisted on it? Tried, perhaps, to parlay the "access' she worked so hard to get into a grasp of the golden ring of White House journalists? Did Karl, ever grateful for Miller's dutiful stenography of Ahmad Chalabi's lies, say "Hang on a moment, Judy -- I'll get him on the line?"

Isn't it just possible Judy Miller is sleeping behind bars to protect a second source -- George W. Bush himself?

larre :: 2:02 PM :: Comments (30) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!