Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

Oct 19 - Nov 2, 2005
Issue #86

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
Grand Perjury
A Miller's Tale
Allan Uthman

Are Female Genitals Enough to Qualify for the Supreme Court?
Paul jones

Getty Some
Hot Movement Action
A Monkey
Jurassic Dork
Michael Crichton's Science Fiction
Kit Smith
Harold Who?
Ode to Pinter in 1 Act

Alexander Zaitchik

Theatre of War
Inside the Psy-Ops Studio
Matt Bors

Drown Together
On Katrina & Disaster Fatigue
Jeff Dean
After terror threats, New York begins efforts to clean shit out of pants
Clayton Byrd
An Open Letter to Jessica Alba
Irresponsible Mayoral Speculation:
What do Bflo's candidates have to do to win/lose?

Shop for Porn Like a Pro!
Hyman Bender

The Assassin’s Gate
America in Iraq
by George Packer
Review by John Freeman
The Big Wedding
9/11, the Whistle-Blowers and the Cover-Up
by Sander Hicks
Review by Russ Wellen
Buffalo Soldiers
Hutch Tech's New Program: Forcible Conscription
Allan Uthman
Another Corporate Psycopath
The Barnacle at Delphi
Chuck Richardson

The BEAST Blog
Irresponsible vitriol on a near-daily basis

[sic] - Letters
Wide Right
Bills Football & other sports
Ronnie Roscoe
Kino Korner: Movies
Michael Gildea
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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Last Issue: (85)

A Miller’s Tale
Allan Uthman

[Editor’s note: The BEAST is extremely proud to present to you the first advance pages from New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s eagerly anticipated upcoming book, tentatively titled “All the President’s Mendacity.” This excerpt, from a chapter called “Letters from Lewis,” details Miller’s arduous prison stay in the summer of 2005, and a series of enigmatic messages from I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff.]

Floyd, my lawyer, called to tell me that Scooter’s lawyer had called. “He’s waiving anonymity,” he said. “You can testify, but maybe don’t be too forthcoming. He said something about revenge. It wasn’t entirely clear.” But I knew Libby would say that just to be nice. I decided to remain mum until I could get clarification from him personally.

Lewis called a few days later. He asked how I was, what I was wearing, and the usual niceties. Then he went into a long monologue about gardening. He talked about how friends were like green, leafy plants, and special prosecutors were like aphids. It was interesting imagery, but I couldn’t understand why he would make small talk at such a serious moment. I asked Lewis if he was feeling all right. He sighed and said he was “fine,” but his curt tone told my highly trained reporter’s ear that something wasn’t right. My suspicions about his state of mind were further exacerbated when Libby went on to compare political reporters with Egyptian plovers, or crocodile birds, which pick food from between jagged teeth in the opened mouths of massive crocs. “On the one hand, the birds need to eat, and the crocodile needs his teeth cleaned, so it is a symbiotic relationship,” said Libby. “But,” he went on, “the power balance is not even, is it? One snap of the jaw and the bird is consumed, while the great lizard suffers no ill effect. Do you understand?”

Of course I did. But what on earth it had to do with reporting, or politics, I hadn’t the slightest. I told Scooter I thought we should be discussing more pressing issues, like how I should handle the special prosecutor’s subpoena. “Don’t fuck with me, Miller!” he shouted, and hung up. His inexplicable, violent reaction told me the stress of the investigation was getting to him. I was on my own in figuring out how to deal with the Grand Jury.

That night, I found a horse’s severed head in my bed. The note attached said “you know who—and you know what to say.” I racked my brain—who would do such a thing? What did it mean? In retrospect, I guess it was probably from Lewis. He had a truly unique sense of humor. At the time, I knew this was a big clue, a hint as to what I should do next. If only I could understand it…

Some friends urged me to testify, especially when Matt Cooper did, but frankly, I thought Joe Wilson was a big showoff. Everyone else was on board with the WMDs, the “mushroom cloud” and everything. Wilson wasn’t a team player. He was a smartass, and nobody likes that. I wanted to protect Lewis, even if he didn’t think I should, or couldn’t face the issue at all.

I refused to testify, choosing to do time in prison instead. I needed a break from the daily grind anyway, and hey, let’s face it: journalist + jail time = high profile and lucrative book deal.

One day, about a month into my prison stay, I found a note tucked under my cornbread (which was terribly dry, not nearly as good as that which my husband makes). I got the impression that it may have been from Libby, as it bore his signature. “Judy,” it read, “What are you doing? Did you not get the waiver? I thought it was pretty clear. Why are you in jail? I feel kind of bad, after all your help, sacrificing your reputation writing those WMD articles. Go ahead and testify. Just…you know, ixnay on the eaklay.” As I read the note, I again got the feeling he was trying to tell me something, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I decided to remain in jail despite the strain. Clearly, it was my duty as a journalist.

A couple of weeks went by. I read a gift copy of Bob Woodward’s The Secret Man, about Mark Felt, or “Deep Throat.” My dear friend, Ahmed Chalabi, used to call me that, because, as he said, I “could swallow anything,” which I never really understood. I felt a certain kinship with Bob, protecting my source at all costs, even my freedom. Both sources were in positions of federal power with much to lose. Felt was exposing criminal wrongdoing in the White House, and Scooter was exposing…Joe Wilson’s wife. Another parallel was that Bob was making a ton of money on a hastily prepared book, and I really felt an affinity for that course of action.

About halfway through the book, another cryptic note from Libby fell out from its pages. This one was even more confounding. “Judy, what the hell is wrong with you? Are you a goddamn retard? You’re just making things worse by staying in jail. I don’t know how to say this to you in a way your tiny brain can comprehend without incriminating myself, but I’ll try again: Just LIE down for a while, and FORGET your troubles, then go and testify—after all, I DIDN’T TELL YOU ABOUT PLAME, right? Get it? Christ! –I. Lewis Libby.”

What was Scooter trying to tell me, I wondered, and when would I ever be able to leave this terrible jail cell?

* * *

The days wore on. I was beginning to deteriorate. I had to make up phony headlines to keep my mind active. “Syrian ‘Lava-Cannon’ Near Completion,” I would think to myself, “DoD Urges Swift Preemptive Action.” “Canadian Border Within Striking Distance of Many US Nuclear Plants: Joint Chiefs Discuss Annexation.” It kept me going.

Then, one day, my guard, Gertrude, notified me of a phone call. It was Libby.

“Lewis!” I exclaimed into the handset.

“Judy…” he trailed off. “Why are you doing this to me?”

“Doing what?” I asked.

“I thought we had an understanding. I thought you knew how to play ball,” Libby exclaimed. He seemed to be frustrated, perhaps preoccupied with the low approval ratings the president was suffering under lately.

“Ball?” I asked. “I can play tennis, if you like, Lewis.”

Lewis laughed, but not in a pleasant way. “Goddammit, woman! You’re taunting me, aren’t you? What is it you want? Just tell me!”

I told him the truth: “Look, I just want to get out of here and get on with the book deal part!”

“Okay, Judy. Just listen to me, and I want you to listen carefully, all right?” I agreed. “First of all, just to make clear how serious this is—the only reason you’re still alive is that we can’t get to you as long as you’re in that jail. Do you understand? We have a woman here with your face, who has been trained to jump into your life seamlessly, okay? Nobody would even know you were gone. She’s going to be very upset, actually; she was quite pretty before.”

Lewis had a pretty odd sense of humor, but that was one of the things I liked about him. Even when I laughed, he stayed in character, telling me, “Shut up, you dumb cunt.” It reminded me of the time he followed me from Aspen to Jackson Hole, just to surprise me at a rodeo and tell me he could find me “anywhere, anytime, so don’t get any bright ideas.” Lewis was always making jokes like that. It was nice to be laughing again.

“You need to testify,” he was saying. “This story is killing us. You just go up there and tell them you talked to me, but I didn’t tell you that woman’s name, okay?”

“What woman?” I asked.

“Valerie Plame! For God’s sake, what do you think this is about?”

“But Lewis, you did tell me—”

“No I didn’t, dammit! No…I…didn’t,” he averred.

I was stunned. “Really? Because I could swear—”

“Just shut up and listen. You didn’t hear it from me, okay Judy?”

“Then who’d I hear it from?” I wondered aloud.

“You don’t remember.”

“I don’t?” I asked.

“No, you don’t,” Libby explained.

“You’re right,” I realized. “I really don’t remember!”

“Now you’re talking,” he said, relieved.

“Yeah!” I said, enthused. “Because I really thought it was you! But it wasn’t! So now I have no idea!”


“Now I can leave?”

“Right,” Lewis said. “Go. Testify. Do it. Hurry.”

I was elated. I thanked Libby profusely for letting me off the hook. He was typically unserious, saying “I’m glad we didn’t have to kill you, Judy. You’re so useful to us.”

What a joker.

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