- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Miller freed

After nearly three months behind bars, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released yesterday after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert CIA officer, the Associated Press reported last night.

Mrs. Miller left the federal detention center in Alexandria after reaching an agreement with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. She will appear this morning before a grand jury investigating the case.

“My source has now voluntarily and personally released me from my promise of confidentiality regarding our conversations,” Mrs. Miller said in a statement.

The Times, which supported her contention that her source should be protected, reported late yesterday that her source was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“As we have throughout this ordeal, we continue to support Judy Miller in the decision she has made,” said Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “We are very pleased that she has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver, both by phone and in writing, releasing her from any claim of confidentiality and enabling her to testify.”

Mr. Fitzgerald’s spokesman Randall Samborn declined to comment.

A vague conspiracy

“Texas retribution went national [Wednesday] with the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay by Travis County (Austin) prosecutor Ronnie Earle. We’ve been critical of Mr. DeLay, but anyone who knows the history of Mr. Earle will not be rushing to judgment on this one,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“Not that the truth or falsity of the charges matters in immediate political terms. … Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly pounced to declare this ‘the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued with a culture of corruption.’ Mr. Earle understood he could get his man merely by charging him,” the newspaper said.

“Who knows what a jury will decide, but the four-page indictment isn’t much to go on. … The indictment includes a copy of a check that it claims was money laundered through a political action committee. But the charge is for conspiracy, which because of its vagueness can be the easiest indictment to bring but the most difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Left at the altar

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through yesterday on his promise to veto a bill to allow homosexual “marriage,” the Associated Press reports, leaving the issue up to voters or judges to decide in the next year.

“This bill simply adds confusion to a constitutional issue,” the Republican governor said in a veto message. Mr. Schwarzenegger had announced his intention Sept. 7, a day after the Legislature became the first in the country to approve a bill allowing homosexuals to “wed.”

Mr. Schwarzenegger said the bill by Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno, an open homosexual, contradicted Proposition 22, which was approved by voters in 2000 and said only a marriage between a man and woman is valid.

The governor said the state constitution bars the Legislature from creating homosexual “marriages” without another vote by the public, which Mr. Leno’s bill wouldn’t do.

Cat flees governor

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may love cats, but he and his 20-pound neutered tabby aren’t big on posing for photos together.

The 11-year-old cat named Jake appears to be trying to escape from a slightly perturbed Mr. Richardson in a photograph for the 2006 calendar of the Four Corners Animal League of Taos.

The governor and first lady, along with Jake and the couple’s other cat, Squeaky, are featured on the calendar, which the league produces each year to raise money for spaying, neutering and pet education programs.

“We were posing out in the back yard in two chairs stuck in the middle of the lawn,” Barbara Richardson said. “It was just awkward. … They did repeated shots and [Jake] started getting antsy. I think my husband got as antsy as he did.”

Blasting Bennett

Black groups and congressional Democrats yesterday denounced remarks about race and abortion that former Education Secretary Bill Bennett made on his syndicated radio program “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America.”

In remarks intended to demonstrate the error of using economics to analyze moral issues, Mr. Bennett told listeners Wednesday that “if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

Mr. Bennett opposes abortion, going on to say “that would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

Both Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California yesterday called the remarks racist. Mr. Reid said he was “appalled by Mr. Bennett’s remarks” and Mrs. Pelosi went on the House floor and demanded repudiations from congressional Republicans and President Bush, and an apology from Mr. Bennett.

“Secretary Bennett’s comments reflect a narrow-minded spirit that has no place within American discourse,” she said.

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, sent a letter to the Salem Radio Network, calling for the immediate suspension of the program.

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Illinois Democrat, also said Salem should pull Mr. Bennett from the air, and a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People statement said Mr. Bennett “should apologize for racist comments.”

Mr. Bennett defended his words on yesterday’s program, saying that he was “pointing out that abortion should not be opposed for economic reasons any more than racism … should be supported or opposed for economic reasons. Immoral policies are wrong because they are wrong, not because of an economic calculation.”

Jeb’s advice

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged the federal government to change its visa and immigration policies yesterday, saying the country needs to avoid stifling international travel and commerce.

The governor said he recognized that the country had to tighten security after the September 11 attacks, but that a better balance was needed, the Associated Press reports.

“Now it’s important to look at where we are and to make the necessary adjustments so that we don’t choke off international travel. So that we don’t choke off international commerce,” he said in Coral Gables, Fla., during the Miami Herald’s annual Americas Conference.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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