|Man Without Qualities|
Friday, October 07, 2005
According to this report from Reuters this May 6, 2003 Nicholas Kristof column may have been the trigger for a meeting between Scooter Libby and Judith Miller at the St. Regis Hotel on June 12, 2003 - before Joe Wilson's notorious New York Times item appeared on July 7. The key Kristof passage seems to be this:
I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.According to Reuters, Ms. Miller discovered her notes from this meeting after she testified before the grand jury. She has now turned the notes over to prosecutor Fitzgerald and is to meet him again next Tuesday.
Kristof's column supposedly contained the first public mention of Wilson's mission in Niger, and Libby supposedly wanted to dispel Wilson's assertion (was Wilson Kristof's nameless source?) that he was sent to Niger at the urging of the vice president.
It certainly would explain why the prosecutor is having some key witnesses give repeat performances before the grand jury. But the Reuters suggestion that this earlier meeting is suggestive of a "conspiracy" seems weak at this point - especially since we don't know what is in those notes. And the whole story makes a rather jarring read compared to prior assertions by administration critics that the alleged administration anti-Wilson actions were prompted by his July article.
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