Miller Testifies Amid Tension at Libby Trial

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller became the first journalist to testify at the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Miller's testimony pertained to conversations she had with Libby about Joseph and Valerie Wilson, the outed CIA officer whose name launched the politically delicate investigation.

Miller was sharply questioned about her notes and sources, but proceedings were halted when defense attorney William Jeffress asked her to reveal additional sources who'd told her about the Wilsons.

Jeffress based his question on an Aug. 19, 2004, affidavit filed by Miller in which she stated that although she did not plan on writing a story about Wilson's wife, she did contemplate writing about issues related to Joseph Wilson's op-ed piece that questioned the White House's use of intelligence.

Miller's affidavit noted, "I did … contemplate writing one or more articles in July 2003 about issues related to Ambassador Wilson's op-ed piece. In preparation for those articles I spoke with and/or met with several potential sources."

"One of those was Mr. Libby?" Jeffress asked.

"Correct." Miller responded.

"Who are the others … can you name just one?"

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald objected to the question, saying it was not relevant to the issues of whether Libby lied during his grand jury testimony and knowingly provided false statements about how he'd learned Plame's identity.

Judge Reggie Walton held a lengthy bench conference with the prosecution and the defense to debate the issue of journalists' revealing their sources.

Before the proceedings were dismissed for the day, Miller testified that she'd had two conversations with Libby before July 10, 2003, the date Libby told the FBI he'd first learned about Valerie Wilson from Tim Russert of NBC News.

Under questioning from Fitzgerald, Miller recalled a June 23, 2003, meeting she had with Libby in his office at the Old Executive Office Building.

Earlier in the month, Miller had returned from Iraq -- where she had been embedded with U.S. Army units searching for weapons of mass destruction after the fall of Saddam Hussein -- and was meeting with Libby to collect information on the contentious debate over the intelligence used to go to war in Iraq.

"I was surprised about the great debate … about if the White House had lied about WMD," she said.

Miller told the jury that at the June 23, 2003, meeting, Libby was "agitated and frustrated. … He seemed annoyed." She said they discussed Niger and the Wilsons. Before Libby named Joseph Wilson by name, he referred to him as a "clandestine guy." Miller said that Libby had accused the CIA of being engaged in a "perverted war of leaks" to back peddle on intelligence about Iraq's WMD programs.

The defense hammered Miller in cross-examination, revealing that in her first grand jury appearance she failed to mention or remember the June meeting.

"When you first appeared before the grand jury you didn't remember the June 23 meeting," said the defense.

Miller said that she only remembered the meeting after reviewing old notes she found while talking to her lawyer.

"You testified he was agitated. You distinctly remember it," Jeffress said.

"I have a memory," Miller responded.

"You looked at your notes and have a memory."

Jeffress then showed Miller a transcript of her grand jury testimony questioning her memory. "I have to rely on the notes because my memory is not good."

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