WASHINGTON – A federal judge in the CIA leak investigation lifted a contempt order against New York Times reporter Judith Miller (search), clearing the way for the newspaper to fulfill its promise to publish a full account of Miller's conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.
In grand jury testimony, Miller has detailed three contacts she had with I. Lewis Libby in June and July 2003 about former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson (search) and his wife, covert CIA officer Valerie Plame (search).
Plame's identity was leaked to reporters by officials in the Bush administration, after a July 6, 2003 op-ed piece by Wilson publicly criticized the Bush administration. Wilson wrote that the administration had twisted intelligence on Iraq's nuclear weapons program to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. Miller never wrote a story on Wilson or his wife.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan lifted the contempt order following Miller's testimony to the grand jury Wednesday about a previously undisclosed June 23, 2003 conversation she had with Libby about Wilson.
At the time, Wilson had not yet gone public with his criticism of the Bush administration. The former ambassador had been referred to, though not named, in articles in May and June 2003 by a Times columnist and in a story in The Washington Post regarding the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the primary reason the Bush administration gave for going to war.
Hogan signed an order Wednesday, which was released Thursday by the court, saying that "Judith Miller has provided testimony and documents to the grand jury thereby complying with the subpoenas issued to her."
The reporter served 85 days in jail before agreeing to cooperate with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's (search) investigation into the leak of the identity of Wilson's wife.
In a story in Thursday's editions of The Times, Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, said: "It's a great relief to have Judy out of legal jeopardy. And it should clear the way for The Times to do what we've been yearning to do: tell the story."