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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"Valerie Flame": From July and not June

Among the many things left vague by Judith Miller's non-apology piece in the Times last Saturday is where exactly in her notes the words "Valerie Flame" appeared, since she acknowledges that the source of these information was not Scooter Libby.

According to a sources within the NYT who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, the "Valerie Flame" reference appeared in the July notes. Which means (assuming Judy is telling the truth -- and as the source noted, that's always a big assumption) that her attorney Bob Bennett had access to this information when he negotiated her deal with Patrick Fitzgerald.

The source also confirmed that her deal with Fitzgerald did, in fact, allow her to limit her testimony to Scooter Libby -- some had speculated that because Floyd Abrams and Bob Bennett had in interviews made more broad references to the fact that it was limited to anything Plame-related that Judy might, in fact, be skating around the corners of the truth again.

Which raises a couple of interesting points. It would appear that Fitzgerald thinks he has bigger fish to fry than the source of this other leak. But if her deal is still on, and Fitzgerald can only ask her questions about Libby, how does this comment (from Judy's article) get explained away?
Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.
Further, as Digby noted (in conversation) if Judy got her second leak from another source in July after the whole thing had gone full-blown and turned into a huge scandal, it makes her look even worse than a June leak would. While it might be possible that early on she wouldn't remember who told her something that at the moment was not that critical, by the time she was interviewing Libby in July Joe Wilson's op-ed piece had already appeared in the Times and the controversy was raging.

Judy has worked as a professional "journalist" (and I use that term loosely) for decades. What are the odds that at this point her memory goes all wonky?