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October 17, 2005

Judith Miller Had A Security Clearance?

TMP Cafe wants to talk this up as a conflict-of-interest deal-- reporters shouldn't get security clearances, as it brings them into the hated military-industrial complex.

But TMP Cafe does bring up a more interesting angle: If Miller had a security clearance, or if Scooter Libby thought she did, wouldn't that be a defense against mishandling classified information?

From Miller's testimony:

In my grand jury testimony, Mr. Fitzgerald repeatedly turned to the subject of how Mr. Libby handled classified information with me. He asked, for example, whether I had discussed my security status with Mr. Libby. During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment "embedded" with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believed so, but could not be sure. He asked how Mr. Libby treated classified information. I said, Very carefully.

...

I told Mr. Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby might have thought I still had security clearance, given my special embedded status in Iraq. At the same time, I told the grand jury I thought that at our July 8 meeting I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me if I knew whether I was cleared to discuss classified information at the time of my meetings with Mr. Libby. I said I did not know.

Her security clearance seems to have lapsed by the time of the discussion in question. Still, if Libby thought that clearance was still operative, that would seem to be a defense as regards deliberately giving classified information to someone not authorized to receive it.



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posted by Ace at 02:43 PM

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