Not shockingly, Judith Miller buried the lead in her breathless Letter from a Virginia Jail in tomorrow's Times (on the Website tonite) - she wastes a few hundred words on her own plight, her talks with editors and lawyers, and her frustration in stir. Sadly, even at this late date, she still lacks an editor at The Times willing to rewrite her me-first reporting. Because there is a bombshell in the middle of her story, way, way down - and the bombshell is this:
Before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald asked me questions about Mr. Cheney. He asked, for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interviews with me or was aware of them. The answer was no.
Forget about the "no" answer; despite her 85 days in jail, Miller will generally be a supporting witness in the upcoming trials, above a footnote but not the crux of any case. By her own admission, Miller's memory is bad and her notes wouldn't be a credit to a reporter on a college newspaper. No, what's astounding is the revelation that prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is going after the Vice President of the United States.
I think the story, in the end, is a simple one - and brilliantly captured by Don Imus during his Friday show. You know what it was, said Imus to his audience: "when we're mad at someone we all go back in the office - Bernie, Chuck, Lou and me - and we figure out a way to get the bastard, what we have on him. That's what these guys did." I think that's right, and I think Fitzgerald is convinced that the Imus figure in the bastard-getting was Dick Cheney. This could be quite a week.
UPDATE: Sharp-eyed AP reporter Pete Yost sees beyond the "whither NYT" knicker-twist, and nails the real lead of the Miller stories tonight. And it's about national security and the VP's office. Reuters scrawler Adam Entous also finds the right lead amidst the self-serving Miller mess.
UPDATE III: There's an interesting timeline analysis coming out of Miller's diary that places the NYT diva in Jackson Hole at the same time as Cheney and Libby (indeed she met with Libby face to face there) - offering some fascinating possibilities. Get the scoop from Akou here.