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Miller: 'I know what my conscience would allow'

New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified Friday after getting a waiver from her source.


Judith Miller
Crime, Law and Justice
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The following is a transcript of New York Times reporter Judith Miller's statement after she testified before a federal grand jury in Washington, followed by her answers to reporters' questions.

JUDITH MILLER, NEW YORK TIMES: I'm happy to be free and finally able to talk to all of you.

Recently I heard directly from my source that I should testify before the grand jury. This was in the form of a personal letter and, most important, a telephone conversation, a telephone call to me at the jail. I concluded from this that my source genuinely wanted me to testify.

These were not form waivers. They were not discussions among lawyers. They were given after the special council assured us that such communication would not be regarded as obstruction of justice.

Once I got a personal voluntary waiver, my lawyer, Mr. [Bob] Bennett, approached the special counsel to see if my grand jury testimony could be limited to the communications with the source from whom I had received that personal and voluntary waiver. The special counsel agreed to this, and that was very important to me.

I served 85 days in jail because of my belief in the importance of upholding the confidential relationship journalists have with their sources. Believe me, I did not want to be in jail. But I would have stayed even longer if I had not achieved these two things: the personal waiver and the narrow testify -- and the narrow testimony. I could not have testified without both of them.

I said to the court before I was jailed that I did not believe I was above the law. And that I would therefore have to go to jail because of my principles. But once I satisfied those principles, I was prepared to testify.

I am hopeful that my very long stay in jail will serve to strengthen the bond between reporters and their sources. I hope that blanket waivers are a thing of the past. They do not count. They are not voluntary, and they should not be accepted by journalists. I am also hopeful that my time in jail will help pass a federal shield law so that the public's right to know can be protected.

And finally, I want to thank everyone, particularly Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and The New York Times, my family, my husband, my friends, my colleagues, the citizens of this country who wrote to me and from all over the world who said they understood the position of principle that I was taking and supported me. They've supported me through a very difficult time.

I will take a few questions. But bear with me, I am really tired. I have a meal that I want my husband to prepare, a dog I want to hug, and I'd like to go home to Sag Harbor. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you describe your role in this case, since you didn't file a story but did go to jail? How would you characterize your role in this whole investigation?

MILLER: I was a journalist doing my job. Protecting my source until my source freed me to perform my civic duty to testify.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN: Question, Scooter Libby's lawyer, your source's lawyer ... I suspect you're not going to tell us if that's correct [that Libby was your source].

MILLER: I am not going to tell you if that's correct.

FRANKEN: Scooter's lawyer has said that, had you asked, you wouldn't have had to spend any time in jail. He would have been more than willing to give you the explicit waiver you say you now accepted.

MILLER: I was not a party to those discussions. I'm going to let you refer those questions to my lawyer. I can only tell you that as soon as I received a personal assurance from the source that I was able to talk to him and talk to the source about my testimony, it was only then and as a result of the special prosecutors' agreement to narrow the focus of the inquiry, to focus on that source, that I was able to testify.

I testified as soon as I could. And I will ask you to please address the questions to which I was not a party to my lawyers.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But Judy, a conversation you were a party to, on the steps of this courthouse, when you and Matt [Time reporter Matthew Cooper] faced contempt of court charges, you said out here when Matt was asked the same question, your answer was different. You said no waiver would be acceptable.

MILLER: No, I said I had not received a personal explicit voluntary waiver from my source, what I considered that. That was my position, and I said it many times. I said it before I went to jail. I said it when I was in jail.

FRANKEN: What about -- what about the perception that you spent 85 days dancing on the head of a pin?

MILLER: I will let people draw their own conclusions. I know what my conscience would allow. And I was -- I stood fast to that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Journalist principles involved. What is this really all about? Why was your testimony so important to Mr. Fitzgerald?

MILLER: You'll have to ask Mr. Fitzgerald why it's important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, I think we're done here, folks. Thanks -- thank you very much.

MILLER: Thank you very much. Thank you.

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