April 13, 2015

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It can make your hair hurt, but getting the story straight on the West’s understanding about Iraq’s WMD’s is going to be a point historians will find important. Peter Berkowitz of Real Clear Politics reviews Judith Miller’s new book. Miller was in Pickings a few days ago introducing her book.

… That is where Miller almost ends her book.

In the epilogue, however, she discloses that she now believes she gave incorrect testimony in United States v. Libby and that she did so because prosecutor Fitzgerald—who declined to respond to written questions about the case—withheld crucial information from her.

Of the nine journalists who testified at Libby’s trial about conversations with him—including Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, Times reporter David Sanger, and syndicated columnist Robert Novak—Miller was the only one to say that Libby voluntarily revealed Plame’s CIA employment. She writes that her testimony “was also crucial to Fitzgerald’s assertion that the vice president had been involved, since Libby had told the grand jury that Cheney had approved his suggestion that he discuss the intelligence estimate [the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate] about Iraq and WMD with me.”

Before she appeared before the grand jury in the autumn of 2005, Miller writes, Fitzgerald led her by pointed queries to believe that a four-word question contained between parentheses in her notebook—“(wife works in Bureau?)”—was the smoking gun that proved that Libby, in a June 23, 2003 conversation, had told her about Plame’s CIA employment. She so testified to the grand jury in 2005 and at trial in 2007.

Three years later, while reading Plame’s book, “Fair Game,” Miller was astonished to learn that “while working overseas for the CIA, Plame’s cover were jobs at the State Department.” This threw “a new light” on Miller’s notebook jotting, because the State Department has “bureaus,” while the CIA is organized into “divisions.”

Miller saw that she must have begun her conversation with Libby wondering whether Wilson’s wife worked at the State Department. Moreover, had a seasoned Washington insider like Libby sought to reveal Plame’s CIA job, Miller realized, he would not have referred to the place she worked as a “bureau,” but rather as a “division.” These revelations, according to Miller, shattered her confidence in her recollection and led her to believe that Fitzgerald misled her into providing false testimony.

The prosecution had the classified file of Plame’s service and Fitzgerald knew, or should have known, of Plame’s State Department cover. But despite his obligation to provide exculpatory evidence to witnesses as well as to the defendant, he withheld this information not only from Judy Miller, but also from Scooter Libby’s lawyers even though they had requested Plame’s employment records.

It would have been easy for Miller to take her knowledge of her mistaken testimony to her grave. Who would have known? Who would have cared?

Nevertheless, as she had done with the prewar intelligence failures, Miller investigated.  In addition to finding injustice to Libby she also revealed that Fitzgerald’s three-and-half year pursuit of him damaged American national security.

In a 2013 interview, former Vice President Cheney told Miller that but for Fitzgerald’s sidelining of Libby, the Iraq War might have turned out differently. In 2003, Libby was the principal figure in the White House arguing for the counterinsurgency strategy that President Bush only embraced in late 2006 after many wrong turns and much carnage, and which Gen. David Petraeus successfully implemented in 2007. It is painful to contemplate how many lives—American and Iraqi—might have been spared had Libby, the foremost champion within the White House in 2003 of stabilizing Iraq through counterinsurgency operations, not been hindered by, and eventually forced to resign because of, Fitzgerald’s overwrought federal investigation and prosecution.

Serendipity, a biased press, and a fanatical prosecutor combined to yoke together the fates of Scooter Libby and Judith Miller. Elite left-wing opinion demanded that the Bush administration pay for its supposed lies about Iraqi WMD. The left wanted to take down Bush or Cheney and when they couldn’t destroy either, they settled for Libby.

At the same time, the left had no interest in toppling their beloved New York Times, but relished the newspaper’s guilt offering of Miller. That the only lies of consequence were those they promulgated about Libby and Miller does not yet seem to have registered in, much less troubled, the left-liberal conscience.

Miller’s sobering book, which demonstrates her devotion to getting the story right, makes a major contribution to correcting the record.



For another back-story that exposes the lies of the left, The Daily Caller shows the link between the obama administration and the fraudulent Rolling Stone article about UVA.

A top-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has emerged as a potentially key figure in Rolling Stone’s false article, “A Rape on Campus.”

Catherine Lhamon, who heads the Department’s civil rights wing, was identified in a letter sent last month by University of Virginia Dean of Students Allen Groves to Steve Coll and Sheila Coronel, the two Columbia Journalism School deans who conducted a review of the Nov. 19 article, written by disgraced reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

Groves’ letter was included as a footnote to the Columbia deans’ report, which was released on Sunday and cataloged the failures and lies that led to the article’s publication.

In the letter, Groves wrote that he has suffered “personal and professional” damage as a result of Erdely’s reporting and comments Lhamon made about him which were included in the article.

As the Rolling Stone article fell apart, Lhamon’s involvement has gone virtually unmentioned. But a deeper look reveals her ties to Emily Renda, a University of Virginia employee and activist who put Erdely in touch with Jackie, the student whose claim that she was brutally gang-raped by seven members of a fraternity on Sept. 28, 2012, served as the linchpin for the 9,000-word Rolling Stone article. President Obama nominated Lhamon to become the Education Department’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in July 2013. The Senate approved her unanimously the following month.

She has served as the Education Department’s designee to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault which Obama created on Jan. 22, 2014. Renda served on the same task force.

Besides that link, both spoke at a February 2014 University of Virginia event entitled “Sexual Misconduct Among College Students.” …



The above is not the first time Emily Renda’s fingerprints were found in the Rolling Stone disaster. The blog 28 Sherman posted on her involvement last December.

Even after my Erdely-Renda post from Thursday, the Rolling Stone article continues to unravel elsewhere. The Washington Post managed to do the yeoman’s work on the problems to the story. Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller has interviewed Jackie’s friend Randall, adding to the catfish elements to the story. Emily Renda’s still skating free from scrutiny except here. A really weird coincidence is found between Renda’s words and Jackie’s story in the Rolling Stone. This plays into who came up with Sabrina Erdely’s story details. The media should be asking Emily Renda deeper questions than the softballs NPR threw her way.

Jackie’s story to her friends differs from Erdely’s reporting. Jackie has accused Erdely of lying, people have accused Jackie of lying, and it is a tornado of lies. This is where Renda fits in. Emily Renda’s testimony to the Senate was in June. Here is a passage about a vicious rape on campus.

“One of the student survivors I worked with, Jenna*, was gang-raped by five fraternity men early in her freshman year. Despite the severity of the assault and injuries she sustained, Jenna still experienced a feeling of personal responsibility. Looking for affirmation, she sought out peers and told her story. Sadly, each and every one of the friends she reached out to responded with varying denials of her experience; these responses worsened her feelings of self-blame – that she must be confused because that fraternity “is full of great guys”; that she must have made them think she was “down for that”; questioning how no one else at the party could have heard what was going on if she was telling the truth; or discouraging her from seeking help because “you don’t want to be one of those girls who has a reputation” for reporting “that kind of thing.” These statements haunted Jenna. She told me that they made her feel crazy, and made her question whether her own understanding of the rape was legitimate.”

Sounds familiar? …



And the blog The Other McCain posts on the “coven of liars” that promoted the story.

The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reports that Lhamon and Emilly Renda are part of the same federal apparatus:

“[Lhamon] has served as the Education Department’s designee to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault which Obama created on Jan. 22, 2014. Renda served on the same task force.
Besides that link, both spoke at a February 2014 University of Virginia event entitled “Sexual Misconduct Among College Students.”
Lhamon has been invited to the White House nearly 60 times, according to visitor’s logs. Renda has been invited six times. Both were invited to the same White House meeting on three occasions. One, held on Feb. 21, 2014, was conducted by Lynn Rosenthal, then the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Twenty-one people, mostly activists, were invited to that meeting. Lhamon and Renda were invited to two other larger gatherings — one on April 29 and the other on Sept. 19.
It is unclear if both attended the three meetings. Renda did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
Renda and Lhamon also testified at a June 26, 2014, Senate hearing on campus sexual assault. It was at that hearing that Renda cited Jackie’s story that she was brutally gang-raped by five fraternity members — a statement that was inconsistent with Jackie’s claim to Erdely that she was raped by seven men. According to the Columbia report, Renda first told Erdely about Jackie’s allegation on July 8, nearly two weeks after her Senate testimony.
During her testimony, Lhamon claimed that “The best available research suggests that 20% of college women, and roughly 6% of college men, are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault.” That “one-in-five” claim about the prevalence of sexual assault on campus has been heavily disputed.”

Now, read the second page of Chuck Ross’s report:

“In his letter, Groves wrote that he filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking correspondence between Lhamon and Erdely. Likewise, The Daily Caller filed a FOIA request but expanded the inquiry to include emails Lhamon and her assistant sent to Renda.
In his letter to Coll and Coronel, Groves wrote that he was “one of the professionals vilified by name” in Erdely’s article.
He claimed that Erdely completely mischaracterized remarks he made at a Sept. 2014 meeting with university trustees about sexual assault and that Lhamon disparaged him with comments she made to Erdely. . . .
Despite the context provided by Groves, the Department of Education is not backing off of Lhamon’s comments to Erdely.
“We stand by the statement Catherine made during her interview with Rolling Stone,” Dorie Turner Nolt, the agency’s press secretary, told The DC.”

This is serious. Here you have Erdely misrepresenting a UVA dean’s words and a federal official disparaging the dean on the basis of that misrepresentation, and the Department of Education declares that it will “stand by” this smear? More than that, however, Lhamon and Renda appear to have a very close connection through the White House task force, and both were sources for Erdely’s now-discredited article. …

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