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Saturday, September 29, 2018

September 29th...This Day in History (Reporter Judith Miller released from prison + others)

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Reporter Judith Miller released from prison 2005  


On this day in 2005, New York Times reporter Judith Miller is released from a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia, after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller had been behind bars since July 6, 2005, for refusing to reveal a confidential source and testify before a grand jury that was looking into the so-called Plame Affair. She decided to testify after the source she had been protecting, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, signed a waiver giving her permission to speak.

The Plame Affair dates back to a July 6, 2003 op-ed piece for the New York Times written by former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, Plame’s husband. In it, Wilson questioned the Bush Administration’s reasons for going to war in Iraq. Later that month, on July 14, undercover agent Valerie Plame’s identity was revealed in a newspaper column by Robert Novak. Wilson’s claim that the disclosure was retaliation by the White House for his op-ed piece sparked an investigation in December 2003 led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. A 1982 law made it illegal to reveal information about a covert agent to anyone not authorized to receive such classified information.

Fitzgerald interviewed President George W. Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials, along with various journalists. Although Miller hadn’t written an article about Plame, she did meet with Libby shortly after Wilson’s op-ed piece was published and Fitzgerald believed Miller had information that was relevant to his investigation.

After 85 days in jail, Miller was released and testified before a grand jury that prior to the Novak column, she had several discussions with Scooter Libby in which he talked about Plame. On November 9 of that same year, Miller announced her retirement from the Times after a 28-year career with the newspaper.

On March 6, 2007, Scooter Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to federal investigators in the Plame investigation. In June, he was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $250,000. However, one month later, on July 2, President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s prison term before the ex-White House aide served any time.

(More Events on This Day in History)

CIVIL WAR
1864
Battle of New Market Heights (Chaffin’s Farm/Fort Harrison)
On this day in 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant tries to break the stalemate around Richmond and Petersburg (25 miles south of Richmond) by attacking two points along the defenses of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The assault against Richmond, called the Battle of New ...

GENERAL INTEREST
1758
Lord Nelson born
Horatio Nelson, Britain’s most celebrated naval hero, is born in Burnham Thorpe, England. In the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, he won a series of crucial victories and saved England from possible invasion by France.The son of the village rector, he entered the British ...

MUSIC
1907
Gene Autry, “The Singing Cowboy,” is born
As a boy, Autry sang in the church choir in Tioga and mastered the mail-order guitar his parents bought him for his 12th birthday. He was already an accomplished amateur and sometime-professional musician when, in the early 1920s, his family moved to Oklahoma, setting in motion ...

GENERAL INTEREST
1982
The Tylenol murders
Investigators soon determined that the tainted Tylenol capsules hadn’t been tampered with at the factories where they were produced. This meant that someone had taken the bottles from store shelves, laced them with poison and then returned them to grocery stores and pharmacies, ...

GENERAL INTEREST
1941
Babi Yar massacre begins
The Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children begins on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.The German army took Kiev on September 19, and special SS squads prepared to carry out Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s orders to exterminate all Jews and ...

GENERAL INTEREST
1988
American woman climbs Everest
Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon, becomes the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. Allison, a member of the Northwest American Everest Expedition, climbed the Himalayan peak using the ...