Beat the Press: Libby Defends Right to Subpoena Media

The story hasn't been on the media radar much of late, but the legal
team of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former Bush admin official at the
center of the Valerie Plame Wilson leak investigation, came out
swinging this week, landing a number of blows against reporters and
news organizations in a court filing defending Libby's desire to compel
them to submit evidence he deems essential to his defense.

After the Libby team began poking holes in the stories of journalists
Tim Russert, Judith Miller, and Matt Cooper and others, the press
hasn't been especially interested in following the story. There are a
few blogs doing a good job of chronicling the battle between Libby and
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. One such blog is JustOneMinute,
which has provided a PDF version (and some cogent
) of Libby's most recent filing in two parts, here
and here.

The American Thinker has a great
of the filing by attorney Clarice Feldman:

have just
been granted a window on the struggle between Lewis
“Scooter” Libby and
the elite media over his access to their internal documents. Libby is
charged with federal crimes because his versions of conversations with
reporters differ from the accounts of the media people. He seeks
evidence from their files about what they knew and what they privately
wrote at the time. In a “he said/she said”
confrontation, access to
supporting evidence becomes critical to the ability to mount a

night Libby filed a Motion in Response to the media’s efforts
to quash
his subpoenas for documents in their possession. At last, after a three
year one-sided smear campaign by the elite media and by an
and careless Special Counsel, Libby gets to show us the flimsiness of
the case against him.

also shows us
the considerable embarrassment facing pillars of the media
establishment and the utter un-tenability of any further claims for
press privilege. Given what these pleadings reveal, a testimonial
privilege for reporters would amount to a figurative license to kill
those with whom they have political or other disagreements.

Lots more great analysis from the Strata-Sphere (here
and here):

When we get into the details on each reporter - the defense
becomes clear. For Miller the challenge idea is to expose the caveats
and hedges in Miller’s statements regarding the three
conversations she
had with Libby (which only go to count 1, which is the weakest charge).
The filing notes Miller’s own words which completely
Fitzgerald’s tortured interpretations that there are hard
facts among
all these vague recollections:

For example, she [Miller] has
written that she testified to the grand jury only that she ‘believed
[her June 23 meeting with Mr. Libby] was the first time [she] had been
told that Mr. Wilson’s wife might work for the
CIA.” …She was even more
equivocal with her New York Times colleagues,
telling them
that her notes ‘leaves open the possibility that Mr. Libby
told her [on
June 23 that] Mr. Wilson’s wife might work at the

As I pointed out in this
earlier post
when you read Miller’s account of discussions regarding the
June 23rd
meeting it is clearly possible (and likely) Libby never mentioned the
name “Joe Wilson” at all. Libby is noted as saying
“some clandestine
guy” by Miller early on. Then there are notes discussing
Wilson. But
the notes are not quotes from Libby - as if Miller had known beforehand
the guy Libby was anonymously referring to!

Whoever the first leaker was (Richard Armitage?), he or she has not been indicted
by Fitzgerald, an indication that his investigation is less about
punishing someone who revealed "classified" information, and more to
placate the elite media's desire to bash the Bush Administration.

Valerie Plame Disclosure NBC New York Times Time Government & Press
Matthew Sheffield's picture