Waiting to hear Judy Miller's story

When will we learn about her latest grand jury testimony?

Published October 13, 2005 4:13PM (EDT)

Salon editorial fellow J.J. Helland takes a look at the CIA leak case.

Free at last!

The Wall Street Journal reports that Judith Miller was freed of her contempt-of-court citation after testifying for a little over an hour yesterday about a conversation she had in late June with Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. New York Times executive editor Bill Keller is quoted as saying, "It's a great relief to have Judy out of legal jeopardy. And it should clear the way for The Times to do what we've been yearning to do: tell the story."

Let's hope so. Certainly the public has been waiting long enough for the New York Times to shed light on some of the unanswered questions, and one hopes that with Miller's recent emancipation, it will happen sooner rather than later.

For instance, it would be nice to know the details of that previously undisclosed conversation Libby and Miller had in late June. We noted yesterday that the nature of that discussion has become the subject of intense scrutiny. Depending on how extensively Libby discussed former diplomat Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, the conversation could potentially be used by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to establish that there was a coordinated effort within the White House to undermine Wilson even before he went public with his criticisms of the Bush administration's claims that Iraq was seeking material for producing WMDs.

So when can we expect some answers? That's hard to say. The Times' public editor, Byron Calame, doesn't seem willing to take on the subject yet, having told Editor and Publisher, "When I have something to say, I will say it first to the readers. I am watching the developments and doing it with special interest." If his recent column in the Times is any indication of where his priorities lie, it may be a while until we get the answers we're looking for.

By J.J. Helland

J.J. Helland is Salon's editorial fellow in New York.

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