Thursday, September 29, 2005

Judy Miller Walks

Judith Miller, The New York Times reporter jailed since July 6 for refusing to identify a source, was released this afternoon following a telephone conversation with the alleged source - the vice president's chief of staff.

She is expected to testify before a grand jury in Washington, a source said, possibly as early as Friday.

Miller, whose incarceration sparked a national debate about the First Amendment and unnamed sources, spoke from jail two weeks ago with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, according to Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate.

During that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, Tate said. Miller had been concerned that a Libby's blanket waiver releasing any journalist might have been coerced.

"She wanted to hear it directly from Mr. Libby," Tate said. "And he assured her that it was voluntary."

The special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has sought to compel Miller to reveal her source to a grand jury investigating whether Bush administration officials leaked the name of a CIA covert officer, Valerie Plame.

A 1982 federal law makes it a crime to disclose the name of American covert agents.

Miller was released at 3:55 p.m., according to officals at the Alexanderia Detention Center.

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