Monday, October 10, 2005

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Plame

Perhaps the oddest thing about the whole Valerie Plame affair occurred a month ago, when top Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby sent a personal note to his prison pen pal, Judith Miller. In the note Libby gave Miller explicit permission to testify about their conversations in July 2003, but ended it with this exceedingly strange and now semi-famous paragraph:

“You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover--Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work---and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers.”

There are two prevailing theories about this graph: a) Lewis was warming up for entry into the Bulwer-Lytton contest for wretched writing, or 2) it was a coded message instructing Judy what she should and shouldn’t tell the grand jury. In any case, it reveals a relationship far more intimate than anyone was previously aware of.

I can now confidently state #2 is the correct theory, and that I’ve cracked the code. The answer? It’s an anagram.

It’s not commonly known, but Miller is crazy for anagrams—in fact, her pet name for Lewis Libby is “Wily Bibles.” So it’s only natural that he’d choose this form to communicate in secret.

Take the phrase that appears in the middle of the paragraph. “The aspens will already be turning” anagrams into repugnantly brainiest swellhead” – a clear reference to Karl Rove.

“They turn in clusters” anagrams into “truth incenses truly” or “truth n’ rusty silence” – both referring to Miller’s refusal to testify before the grand jury without Scooter's approval. (An alternate anagram is “nuts! the surly cretin,” which may be a veiled reference to President Bush.)

Finally, “because their roots connect them” translates into “the erotic obscurement aches not” as well as “bitch the concrete, treasonous me.” These of course, may be Libby’s way of saying “our love will survive as long as you keep my role obscure,” or possibly “drop a dime on me and I’ll punk yo ass, bitch.”

The bottom line: Lewis was telling Miller to offer them anything, but give them Karl Rove.

Miller’s relationship with Libby has become more clear following the ‘discovery’ of a notebook she had neglected to mention in her grand jury testimony, which details a meeting she had with Libby on June 25, 2003. That’s 11 days before Joe Wilson’s OpEd appeared in the Times detailing White House lies about Iraq’s nuclear program, and three weeks before Robert Novak outed Wilson’s wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, thanks at least in part to information supplied by Libby and Karl Rove.

According to highly placed sources, the phrase “Mrs. Lewis Scooter Libby” was written all over the outside of the notebook in a variety of elaborate scripts. Experts have identified the handwriting as belonging to Miller, in part because the i’s in “Lewis” and “Libby” were dotted with tiny hearts.

Inside the back cover investigators found a crude drawing of Karl Rove wearing devil’s horns with the words “fat boy” beneath it. They also found this poem written in the margins:

“Scooter-n-Judy’s WMDs
First comes war
Then comes Hell
Then comes Karl in a prison cell.”

One can only imagine what went on during Judy and Scooter’s afternoon meetings at the St. Regis Hotel. (“This time I’ll play the relentless investigative reporter and you play the reluctant anonymous source.”) But one thing is finally clear: Judy Miller did not endure 85 days in jail to preserve the sanctity of the First Amendment, protect her sources, atone for her egregiously inaccurate WMD coverage, or bump up the advance for her upcoming book.

She did it for love.


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