New York Times reporter Judith Miller told the federal grand jury in the CIA leak case that she might have met with I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby on June 23, 2003 only after prosecutors showed her Secret Service logs that indicated she and Libby had indeed met that day in the Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, according to attorneys familiar with her testimony.
When a prosecutor first questioned Miller during her initial grand jury appearance on September 30, 2005 sources said, she did not bring up the June 23 meeting in recounting her various contacts with Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney. Pressed by prosecutors who then brought up the specific date of the meeting, Miller testified that she still could not recall the June meeting with Libby, in which they discussed a controversial CIA-sponsored mission to Africa by former Ambassador Joe Wilson, or the fact that his wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.
When a prosecutor presented Miller with copies of the White House-complex visitation logs, she said such a meeting was possible.
Shortly after her September 30 testimony, Miller discovered her notes from the June 23 meeting, and returned on October 12 for a second round of grand jury testimony. In this second appearance, Miller recounted details from her June 23 meeting with Libby, with the assistance of her notes.
Bob Bennett, an attorney for Miller, confirmed in an interview that Miller's October 12 testimony "corrected" her earlier statements to the grand jury regarding the June 23 meeting. Bennett declined to provide specifics of anything Miller said during either of her grand jury appearances, except to say: "We went back on the second occasion to provide those additional notes that were found, and correct the grand jury testimony reflecting on the June 23 meeting."
Bennett said that Miller's testimony is now "correct, complete, and accurate."
Miller's grand jury testimony is considered to be central to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak that led to the disclosure of Plame as a covert CIA operative. Libby's testimony is at odds on key points with that of Miller and other witnesses, according to sources close to the investigation and attorneys for individuals enmeshed in the probe.
Stan Brand, a respected Washington defense attorney who often represents political figures in high-profile investigations, including those by special prosecutors, said in an interview that he did not know the particulars regarding Miller's testimony. But, speaking in general, he said: "What you tell your client when they go before the grand jury, is that they should be truthful, be thorough, and not hold anything back. You don't want to hide anything or not disclose things to expose you to charges or even the perception by the government that you haven't been forthcoming."
Regarding Miller specifically, Brand said that even if Fitzgerald were to conclude that Miller had "a feigned memory loss," the special prosecutor was unlikely to "make an issue out of this because he got what he wanted from her," and might still be dependant upon her as a witness during a potential trial.
Miller was unavailable for comment for this article. Earlier in the week, she returned a reporter's phone call and left a voice mail saying, "I can say that I read you in prison" and that she was eager to talk and tell more of her side of the story beyond what she had written in a first-person account of her grand jury testimony that was published on October 16 in The Times. But Miller did not return several phone calls later in the week.
Miller's personal account of her testimony appeared in The Times on the same day as a long staff-written "examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to-do so" that, the paper said, included "information about her role in the [Plame] investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause."
Miller's first-person account, as well as the staff-written piece by Times reporters, disclosed details on the June 23 Miller-Libby meeting, a second meeting between Miller and Libby on July 8, 2003, and two conversations that Miller and Libby had on July 12, 2003. Both accounts also reported details on her two grand jury appearances.
In her personal account in The Times, Miller said only that she discovered the notes on the June 23 meeting between her first and second grand jury appearances. But neither her personal account nor the staff-written article reported that Miller initially failed to disclose the meeting in her testimony or that she was shown the Secret Service visitation logs.
Miller devoted two sentences to the circumstances surrounding her grand jury testimony on the June 23 meeting and notes. "I testified in Washington twice," she wrote, "most recently last Wednesday after finding a notebook in my office at the Times that contained my first interview with Mr. Libby. Mr. Fitzgerald told the grand jury that I was testifying as a witness and not as a subject or target of his inquiry."