By: E&P Staff
The New York Times’ publisher, editor, and formerly jailed reporter Judith Miller all issued statements Thursday night after her release, with Miller’s grand jury testimony in the Plame probe now set for Friday, they confirmed.
A Times story late on Thursday revealed that as part of Miller’s agreement, one of her attorneys, Robert Bennett, gave Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor, edited versions of notes taken by Miller about her conversations with I. Lewis Libby.
According to the Times, Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, “had made clear that he genuinely wanted her to testify,” and gave her an uncoerced waiver on their confidential conversations.
The Times story also revealed that Libby and his lawyers say he offered the waiver a year ago — and then again 10 days ago — but Miller did not accept it. She was released today after she and her lawyers met at the jail with Fitzgerald to discuss her testimony, which will be severely limited, the Times revealed. A full E&P report can be found here.
Any indictments in the Plame case may emerge as early as next week.
Here is the complete text of the three statements Thursday night.
Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Publisher:
As we have throughout this ordeal, we continue to support Judy Miller in the decision she has made. Judy has been unwavering in her commitment to protect the confidentiality of her source. We are very pleased that she has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver, both by phone and in writing, releasing her from any claim of confidentiality and enabling her to testify. We continue to believe that a strong Federal Shield Law must be passed by Congress, so that similar injustices, which the laws of both New York and Washington, D.C. already prevent, are not suffered by other journalists.
It’s good to be free.
I went to jail to preserve the time-honored principle that a journalist must respect a promise not to reveal the identity of a confidential source. I chose to take the consequences — 85 days in prison — rather than violate that promise. The principle was more important to uphold than my personal freedom.
I am leaving jail today because my source has now voluntarily and personally released me from my promise of confidentiality regarding our conversations relating to the Wilson-Plame matter. My attorneys have also reached agreement with the Office of Special Counsel regarding the nature and scope of my testimony, which satisfies my obligation as a reporter to keep faith with my sources.
This enables me to appear before the Grand Jury tomorrow. I’ll say nothing more until after my testimony. I do, however, want to thank The New York Times, and my husband, family and friends, for their unwavering support. I am also grateful to the many fellow journalists and citizens from the United States and around the world, who stood with me in fighting for the cause of the free flow of information. It was a source of strength through a difficult three months to know they understood what I did was to affirm one of my profession’s highest principles.
Bill Keller, Executive Editor:
It’s an enormous relief that Judy’s ordeal is over. Her steadfastness in defense of principle has won her admiration from around the world, wherever people value a free, aggressive press.
Judy refused to testify in this case because she gave her professional word that she would keep her interview with her source confidential. At the outset, she had only a generic waiver of this obligation, and she believed she had ample reason to doubt it had been freely given. In recent days, several important things have changed that convinced Judy that she was released from her obligation.
Her friends and colleagues are delighted she’s free, and — if there is satisfaction in what she has endured — I am satisfied that she has held fast to a principle that matters deeply.