Magazine article Newsweek

CIA Leak: 'Awkward' Talk Helps Free Miller from Jail

Magazine article Newsweek

CIA Leak: 'Awkward' Talk Helps Free Miller from Jail

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Isikoff

New York Times reporter Judy Miller broke her silence and agreed to testify before a federal grand jury last week. This followed tense, often acrimonious negotiations that began after special Justice Department prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald signaled he intended to reimpanel a new grand jury--a move that could have kept Miller in jail for another year and a half, say two lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks. A federal judge sent Miller to jail on July 8 for refusing to talk about her conversations with her source, who, it was disclosed last week, was Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis (Scooter) Libby. Fitzgerald indicated he would not let the matter drop when the grand jury, investigating the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, expires in late October. Instead, he would keep his long-running probe open with a new grand jury. The sobering prospect spurred fevered negotiations among lawyers to find conditions that would satisfy both Miller and Fitzgerald. What Miller wanted was a direct, personal assurance from Libby that he had no problem with her testifying about two conversations they had in July 2003. That finally came on Sept. 19, in what participants described as an "awkward" four-way conference call that included Libby, Miller (patched in on a jailhouse phone) and their lawyers. "I'm sorry you're in jail, Judy," Libby said, according to an account provided by his lawyer, Joseph Tate. "I am, too. The food is not very good," Miller replied. …

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