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Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Still Miller Time

Okay, this is starting to make a bit more sense.

When the NYT ran their article on Judy's release, they mentioned curiously that attorney Patrick Fitzgerald had assured Miller and Libby's attorneys that they would not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice for speaking to each other.

According to the LA Times:
The situation began to resolve itself in late August and early September, in part because of an Aug. 25 article in the Los Angeles Times that quoted some attorneys in the case about their concerns with the obstruction issue. Abrams said Fitzgerald, citing The Times story, sent an e-mail to lawyers saying that those concerns should not stop them from facilitating testimony. "That sort of e-mail, that just made life easier," Abrams said.

Around the same time, one of Miller's other lawyers, Robert Bennett, placed a phone call to Tate inquiring about the waiver, and a deal was eventually struck
It makes a weird sort of sense -- Judy and the NYT had recently engaged Bennett, who specialized in criminal law, and came to rely less on First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams. Fitzgerald saw that everyone was just sitting around with their thumbs up their asses and decided to give them all a nudge.

I've written about the hapless Floyd Abrams before, and the Official Miller Story seems to rely heavily on a belief that he just Fucked It All Up. As intellectually challenged as he seems to be, I'm still having a hard time buying this. The tin foil hatter in me still thinks this is BushCo.'s attempt at pro-activity, throwing Libby under the bus (with Judy's full cooperation), and promising him a pardon on the other end if he takes the heat for all of them.

He's the perfect villain. Nobody is going to have sympathy for some smirking, Ivy League, summer-in-the-Hamptons silver spoon clown named Scooter.

Here's the rub. And I've thought about this a lot today. In setting up Libby to take the fall, BushCo. can only guess what the tight-lipped Fitzgerald is sitting on. They really don't know, and can only base a strategy on what they THINK he's got. This is a very dangerous thing to do, because it is an attempt to cover up a conspiracy involving a lot of people (and Judge Tatel, in his decision to send Judy to the big house, called it "the plot against Wilson," so they already know it).

It requires many, many people to lie in concert. Privately. Behind the closed doors of a grand jury. Who must both place their faith in BushCo., and risk going to jail for their efforts.

The more I think about it the more I don't think this Libby plan (if that's what it is) will hold. It would require an inveterate bunch of liars to coordinate those lies to a degree that their disaster management skills would indicate is thoroughly impossible.  And it's a very risky thing to even attempt with a vast coverup involving people with conflicting goals (Tenet, Powell) and degrees of loyalty (Fleischer, Matalin, etc.)

Remember -- Bush really can't pardon everyone involved. Rove? Absolutely. Libby? Well now, probably. Ari Fleischer? Mary Matalin? She was a member of WHIG. Is she going to risk lying? Having the whole thing collapse on her?

Too many people had to know. Too many loose ends. Too many uncontrollable elements. Too many details to finesse by a group who only know how to control by brute force, who are already rife with in-fighting, blame casting and paranoia.

As Digby said today, Judy's actions are those of a political operative, not of a reporter. She has never shown tremendous judgment with regard to the people in whom she has chosen to invest her trust. When it all falls apart -- and I am ever more convinced that it will -- I don't think she's going to be able to blame Floyd Abrams' filing system for her fate.