Judith Miller in the news again (for better or worse…)

Hmmm, it seems that all the lefties who weighed in against the admittedly vile Judith Miller’s journalistic privilege in the Plame affair will be in the uncomfortable position of having to cheer her on this time around. From AP, Nov. 22:

Court Rejects N.Y. Times on Leak Probe
The Supreme Court ruled against The New York Times on Monday, refusing to block the government from reviewing the phone records of two Times reporters in a leak investigation of a terrorism-funding probe.

The one-sentence order came in a First Amendment battle that involves stories written in 2001 by Times reporters Judith Miller and Philip Shenon. The stories revealed the government’s plans to freeze the assets of two Islamic charities, the Holy Land Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation.

Like the CIA leak investigation into who in the Bush administration revealed the identity of Valerie Plame, the current Justice Department probe is being conducted by Patrick Fitzgerald, who is prosecuting Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff in the Plame case.

In June 2005, the Supreme Court refused to take up the Times’ request to hear an appeal in the Plame investigation. Fitzgerald was seeking to compel Miller, who retired from the Times a year ago, to reveal her sources in that case.

That leak probe led to Miller’s jailing for 85 days before she eventually agreed to testify in Fitzgerald’s investigation. Her testimony was crucial in the indictment of former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis Libby.

The current dispute stems from Shenon and Miller calling two charities for comment after learning of the planned freeze on their assets from confidential sources.

The Justice Department says the reporters’ calls tipped off the charities of upcoming government raids. A federal judge who ruled in the Times’ favor said there is no evidence in the case even suggesting that the reporters tipped off the charities about the raids or that the reporters even knew the government would raid either charity.

In August, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that federal prosecutors could see the two reporters’ phone records.

The government says the fact that the reporters relayed disclosures from a government source to “targets of an imminent law enforcement action substantially weakens any claim of freedom of the press.”

At issue are 11 days of phone records the government plans to review in 2001 – for the dates Sept. 27-30, Dec. 1-3 and Dec. 10-13. In a declaration this month, Fitzgerald said the statute of limitations “on certain substantive offenses that the grand jury is investigating” will expire on Dec. 3 and Dec. 13 of this year.

The current leak probe is in Fitzgerald’s capacity as U.S. attorney in Chicago. The Libby prosecution is in Fitzgerald’s role as a special counsel who was selected by a Justice Department superior to conduct that particular investigation.

But all you haters will like this one better. From Editor & Publisher, Nov. 13:

Judith Miller Testifies in Israeli ‘Torture’ Case

CHICAGO — Testifying Monday in the federal trial of an American citizen accused of helping finance the Palestinian militant group Hamas, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller portrayed herself as a skeptical journalist who saw no signs that Muhammad Salah had been tortured when she was given unprecedented access to witness his 1993 prison interrogation.

“He was relaxed, he was conversational, he was boastful, he was jaunty,” Miller testified in a Chicago courtroom. “There was no reason for me to believe he had been exposed to” extreme conditions.

Under cross-examination, one of Salah’s defense attorney, Michael Deutsch, suggested with his questions that Miller had been used by former Israeli prime minister Rabin to spur U.S. authorities to take seriously Israeli allegations that Hamas had a support network in the United States.

Deutsch also said Miller’s reporting on allegations that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was used in a similar way by U.S. officials to justify starting a war in Iraq. “Isn’t it true that you are no longer with The New York Times because you have been exposed as someone who got too close to public officials?” Deutsch challenged her.

“No, sir, that is not true,” Miller replied without elaborating. She had described herself at the beginning of her testimony as a “freelance journalist.”

“Didn’t you write a series of articles promoting our going to war in Iraq?” Deutsch asked. Miller did not get a chance to answer because U.S. District Court Judge Amy J. St. Eve sustained a prosecutor’s objection to the question.

Miller, dressed in a brown jacket and dark slacks, was calm throughout the testimony, smiling occasionally and never raising her voice.

The Israelis would not allow Miller to bring along her own translator to the interrogaton of Salah, she said. She also agreed not to disclose that she had visited the prison or seen Salah’s interrogation.

Miller testified that she cleared those conditions with her editors in New York. Asked which editor had approved, Miller said she could not recall. “We had a lot of editors at The New York Times,” she said.

Salah, now 53 — a former grocer from suburban Chicago who now transports dialysis patients for treatments — spent four and a half years in an Israeli prison in the mid-1990’s after admitting that he had provided money and other aid to the Palestinian organization Hamas for use in attacks against Israel.

Now, nearly a decade after Mr. Salah’s release, his lawyers are trying to convince a federal jury here that the confession, on which a federal racketeering case against him is based, was obtained through torture.
He and his co-defendant, Abdelhaleem Ashqar — a former professor from suburban Washington — are charged with supplying financial support to Hamas’s military leaders. Prosecutors say they have evidence that the two men used bank accounts hereto funnel money to the group.

Salah was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza in 1993. Police found $97,000 in his hotel room in Jerusalem. He admitted to meeting with Hamas military leaders and giving them money — but defense lawyers said the confession was false, obtained only after Israeli secret police tortured him for more than 50 days.

Miller said she became interested in the Salah case after reading a New York Times article about his arrest in late-January 1993. She testified that she flew to Israel where she met with officials, including Rabin, who she described as a personal friend. The Israelis showed her documents allegedly detailing Salah’s involvement with Hamas and the extent of the group’s network in the U.S.

Miller said she decided not to write anything because she couldn’t determine that the documents were not forgeries.

“I was concerned about being set up,” she said.

Israeli officials were “not happy” with her refusal to write about the case, she said. “They asked what would persuade me, and I said I would have to ask Salah myself,” she recalled.

The Israelis agreed to let Miller witness an interrrogation of Salah. They even asked Miller what questions she would like asked of him, something she said made her feel “uncomfortable,” so she did not go along with that.

During the Salah interrogation, Miller said, “I studied him closely because I was very concerned that he had been tortured.” Instead, she said, Salah was “very conversational,” and often giving lengthy answers and talking about “distributing money to people preparing military operations in the West Bank.”

On cross-examination, attorney Deutsch suggested repeatedly that Miller had a bias towards Israel and her sources in Israeli intelligence. “I consider myself a friend of some Israelis,” Miller said. “I don’t consider myself a friend of Israel.”

She declined to comment to E&P following her testimony.

“Have you ever acted as a ‘asset’ of Mossad?” Deutsch asked, referring to the Israeli spy agency.

“No sir,” Miller said, with a soft chuckle.