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Judith Miller Speaks!
October 15, 2005 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Judith Miller Speaks!
In a 5,800 word article New York Times reporters finally tell the story about their fellow reporter Judith Miller. She tells her story regarding her testimony in the CIA leak investigation. Among many things, she says: "W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong" and that she can't recall who gave her Valerie Plame's name. She is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the New York Times effective immediately.
posted by ericb (68 comments total)

 
does anyone else remember Gilda Radner sing-songing "It's the Judy Miller Show!" whenever they read anything about this? Ah, just me, then. Carry on.
posted by scody at 3:15 PM on October 15, 2005


*She tells her story* -- corrected hyperlink here.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on October 15, 2005


She is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the New York Times effective immediately. She is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the New York Times effective immediately.

As bad as she looks comoing out of this, the NY Times looks even worse. "America's Paper of Record", yeah, sure.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:24 PM on October 15, 2005


Why would they not just go ahead and fire her?
posted by odinsdream at 3:33 PM on October 15, 2005


Why would they not just go ahead and fire her?

I don't know, "... until we decide what she is doing next," sounds pretty much like she's fired.
posted by octothorpe at 3:38 PM on October 15, 2005


Utter whore. And it drives me crazy to think there are institutions willing to pay her upwards of 50K to hear her speak, apparently.
posted by bardic at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2005


This is just another stupid move by the New York Times. To wait this long to comment on the story makes them look like idiots.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2005


No, listen. She may well be the perfect replacement candidate for the Supreme Court if whats her name gets dropped.
posted by donfactor at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2005


Maybe if Fitzgerald had just offered her $50k to begin with...
posted by uosuaq at 3:53 PM on October 15, 2005


Oh, did you mean Valerie Plame? 'Cause I wrote down Valerie Flame:
In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: "Valerie Flame."

Ms. Miller should have written Valerie Plame. That name is at the core of a federal grand jury investigation that has reached deep into the White House. At issue is whether Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, an undercover C.I.A. operative, to reporters as part of an effort to blunt criticism of the president's justification for the war in Iraq.

Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source, then relented. On Sept. 30, she told the grand jury that her source was I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame's name.

And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.
Also:
Mr. Fitzgerald asked about a notation I made on the first page of my notes about this July 8 meeting, "Former Hill staffer."

My recollection, I told him, was that Mr. Libby wanted to modify our prior understanding that I would attribute information from him to a "senior administration official." When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby requested that he be identified only as a "former Hill staffer." I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill.

Did Mr. Libby explain this request? Mr. Fitzgerald asked. No, I don't recall, I replied. But I said I assumed Mr. Libby did not want the White House to be seen as attacking Mr. Wilson.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:06 PM on October 15, 2005


According to this August 2005 analysis by former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, charges could be brought under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, despite the administration's spin and the conventional wisdom.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:20 PM on October 15, 2005


W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong
"You know what," she offered angrily. "I was proved fucking right. That's what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again.' But I was proved fucking right."
Judith Miller on WMD, May 2004 [via]
posted by kirkaracha at 4:25 PM on October 15, 2005


I've read that NYT carefully - where does she admit "I got it wrong?"
posted by dash_slot- at 4:31 PM on October 15, 2005


Now that she's taken the NYT's reputation to the sewers her job is done, she can leave the once-paper-of-record now!

It's an interesting conspiracy theory, which would have more teeth if the NYT hadn't proven many a time in the past few years that it was quite capable of completely fucking up without any outside help.
posted by clevershark at 4:31 PM on October 15, 2005


I've read that NYT carefully - where does she admit "I got it wrong?"

Paragraph #30 in this article.
posted by ericb at 4:54 PM on October 15, 2005


Mr. Fitzgerald also focused on the letter's closing lines. "Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning," Mr. Libby wrote. "They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."


Spies turn, as do allies and sources. Is Scooter talking about his expectation that, like a lover spurned or betrayed, she - Miller - will turn against him, as do the other journos and sources (Cooper, Novak, maybe even Rove), and paint him out to be the fall guy?

Is he actually giving her permission to testify against him, in that reference?
At a rodeo one afternoon, a man in jeans, a cowboy hat and sunglasses approached me. He asked me how the Aspen conference had gone. I had no idea who he was.

"Judy," he said. "It's Scooter Libby."

I think he is.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:56 PM on October 15, 2005


aarrgh. working link - *this article*
posted by ericb at 4:56 PM on October 15, 2005


I'm not a huge news junkie and don't have much to say other than I've stopped reading the NY Times over this whole deal. If the Times and Miller herself cannot figure out who told her about Judy "Flame", then neither the newspaper nor Miller are really serious about reporting the truth of this story. It seems to me that other places do journalism as good if not better these day.
posted by Staggering Jack at 5:00 PM on October 15, 2005


"Can't Recall"!? Jesus fucking christ.

Seems like she could have testified to that without going to jail. Bizzare.
posted by delmoi at 5:09 PM on October 15, 2005


she has the blood of ... if nothing else... a helluva a lot of iraqi children on her hands. damn her to h*ll...
posted by specialk420 at 5:25 PM on October 15, 2005


What's weird is that top newscasters (like Tim Russert), pundits & anchormen are at the centre of this story - and pretend not to be.

It's not just politics that shot in the US - it's the guys reporting on - and holding the politicians accountable that's corrupt, too.

What a friggin' mess.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on October 15, 2005


Agreeing to identify Scooter Libby as a "former Hill staffer" rather than his current position is a blatant violation of her readers' trust.

That's like identifying George Bush as a "former baseball executive" or Charles Manson as an "ex-musician." A Clintonesque semi-truth at best and a Jayson Blair falsehood at worst.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:57 PM on October 15, 2005


There is another article in Salon (watch an ad or subscribe) about her fall from grace... Those who think she's just another Jeff Gannon should read it.
posted by mzurer at 6:10 PM on October 15, 2005


institutions willing to pay her upwards of 50K to hear her speak, apparently.

Chalabi's INC, perhaps.

anyway, this is just too fucking funny. I thought that the whole impeachment-over-a-cum-stain was bizarre enough, but this is a SNL skit. Valerie "Flame"? "Former Hill staffer"? "Cannot recall"?

"Ooooops, there weren't as many Iraqi nuqes as Ahmad and I thought, tough shit"?

we're only missing a guy in a tuxedo fucking a dead duck, then the picture is complete. this is all a joke, only it's a joke on the American people. and, of course, on the world.
posted by matteo at 6:18 PM on October 15, 2005


"Can't Recall"

This is the New York Times' star investigative reporter.

"W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong."

This is the New York Times' star investigative reporter.

She also couldn't figure out how to determine if Libby's exemption of their conversations was a 'blanket' exemption. So she spent 85 days in jail rather than, you know, pick up a telephone and ask him for clarification.

This is the New York Times' star investigative reporter.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:21 PM on October 15, 2005


Why would they not just go ahead and fire her?

Because the NYT is a union newspaper, and it is very hard to fire someone in the Newspaper Guild. It's much easier to give them undesireable assignments and push them out.
posted by Airhen at 6:34 PM on October 15, 2005


Actually the reason she's not likely to get fired is because she's very tight with the NYT's editor in chief.

Apparently this is the same genius who thought elevating Jayson Blair to a position of prominence would be a good thing.
posted by clevershark at 7:53 PM on October 15, 2005


All those "I can't recall"'s remind me uncomfortably of Reagan's answers to every goddamn question at the end of his second term.

As it turns out the guy had Alzheimer's. What's Judy's f*cking excuse?
posted by clevershark at 7:54 PM on October 15, 2005


That's like identifying George Bush as a "former baseball executive"

You know, I like the sound of that so much better than "president". I may start using it.

Former baseball executive George Bush.

Nice ring. Ahhhhhhhh.
posted by mkultra at 8:20 PM on October 15, 2005


Actually, it seems that Judy does cop to Libby's telling her that "Wilson's wife" works for the CIA. She doesn't remember hearing "The name" from him, but..
At that breakfast meeting, our conversation also turned to Mr. Wilson's wife. My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: "Wife works at Winpac." Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant. Winpac stood for Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control, the name of a unit within the C.I.A. that, among other things, analyzes the spread of unconventional weapons.
-- Judy Miller

Wilson's wife was easily look-up-able as Valerie Wilson aka Valerie Plame. This issue isn't wether or not Plame was named by name, but wether her cover as a CIA agent was blown. Miller seems to burning Libby here, can't recalls notwithstanding.
posted by delmoi at 8:57 PM on October 15, 2005


In my grand jury testimony, Mr. Fitzgerald repeatedly turned to the subject of how Mr. Libby handled classified information with me. He asked, for example, whether I had discussed my security status with Mr. Libby. During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment "embedded" with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.

WTF?
posted by delmoi at 9:02 PM on October 15, 2005



Mr. Fitzgerald asked me to read the final three paragraphs aloud to the grand jury. "The public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me," Mr. Libby wrote.

The prosecutor asked my reaction to those words. I replied that this portion of the letter had surprised me because it might be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby to suggest that I, too, would say we had not discussed Ms. Plame's identity. Yet my notes suggested that we had discussed her job.
Scoots is going down. Please please please let Rove go with him.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 PM on October 15, 2005


Hardly Chalabi Inc., but rather a "First Amendment Award" from these people.

See, she's a hero. To whom, we'll never know.
posted by bardic at 9:19 PM on October 15, 2005


to Bush?
posted by matteo at 9:29 PM on October 15, 2005


Did the New York Times give Judy a free ride on war because the of a Jewish inclination toward war with Iraq?
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:30 PM on October 15, 2005


    As the newspaper’s devastating account of her Plame games -- and her own first-person sidebar -- make clear, she should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism, and her own newspaper. And Bill Keller, executive editor, who let her get away with it, owes readers, at the minimum, an apology instead of merely hailing his paper’s long-delayed analysis and saying that readers can make of it what they will. He should also apologize to all the “armchair critics” and “vultures” he denounced this week for spreading unfounded stories and “myths” about what Miller and the newspaper had been up to. If anything, this sad and outrageous story is worse than most expected.
It's linked from the main FPP story, but worth checking out on its own - Greg Mitchell's own furious take on today's stories.
posted by soyjoy at 10:44 PM on October 15, 2005


i'm getting the uneasy feeling that while she "took a fall" and then "cooperated" with the prosecutor, she also made sure she muddied the waters so that no one will be able to prove that libby was the one who actually leaked this ...

her career in mainstream journalism may be over ... but the neo-con think tanks and media outlets will reward her ... count on it ... they will point to what she did as a reporter doing the "honorable" thing ... while she plausably denies actually having real evidence of libby's involvement

she'll be a national security consultant for fox news in no time ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:27 PM on October 15, 2005


I'm afraid you are right, Pyramid t. Pay is probably better, with consulting fees, and the monthly check for life from the RNC/White House. If she's a paid consultant, she doesn't have to disclose who'se paying her, right?
posted by Balisong at 11:55 PM on October 15, 2005


During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment "embedded" with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons.

*spit take*

So...she signed national security agreements?

Cause any reporter on my six might've gotten....lost.

Thats just silly stupid either way. If she didn't sign an agreement she has no business there. If she did, how can you expect her to report accurately?

I grant it's a devils bargain, but I don't think she was granted a blanket clearance for looking at classified information.
Just the one shot deal I would think...Of course, I live in a world where water runs down hill and shit stinks.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:16 AM on October 16, 2005


It is patently obvious that she is lying when she says she doesn't recall who told her about Plame. She says in her article "Mr. Fitzgerald asked my reaction to Mr. Novak's column. I told the grand jury I was annoyed at having been beaten on a story."

So she would have us believe that, contemporaneously, when she saw Novak's article and she says to herself "damn, I had that information first", it's in her notebook, and she didn't remember who had told her just a few days before. Or that she suddenly forgot a few days later when every reporter in the country was trying to figure out who the leaker was. Unbelievable. I don't think the Ronald Reagan defense is going to work for her.
posted by JackFlash at 12:16 AM on October 16, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.com

OK, this is the part that confuses me. I agree she can't have forgotten that conversation so quickly. I'm appalled that she didn't realize the implications when she was told, given her own minor security clearance vetting. But if she "can't recall", yet has given explicit information that could be used to indict Libby, who is she protecting now?
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on October 16, 2005


...who is she protecting now?

I think you've put your finger on it. Something still doesn't add up. She is still concealing something. Some people are pushing the conspiratorial theory that she might have been the original leaker to Libby rather than the other way around. But I lean toward the much simpler explanation that she just doesn't want to explicitly burn her sources. Her entire career as a star reporter is built upon her unparalleled access to sources at the highest levels whether it be Chalabi, Powell or Cheney. Without their cooperation she's nothing.
posted by JackFlash at 1:03 AM on October 16, 2005


What the hell, it's just Judy Miller's newspaper anyway.

Actually, Jay Rosen has been en fuego with this story as it relates to the Times, and I thought this was an interesting reaction:
Miller cannot recall where the name at the center of the case came from? Wowzer. Sure to be the center of controversy over the next week. Claiming memory loss about the most important fact in the story is weak. Very.

Miller actually subtracts from public knowledge in this part, a feat. She introduces into the narrative a new “source” who must have been around to plant the name on her, and then promptly tells us she cannot remember anything about him. So we know less if we believe her.
And the most striking part, I think, is that Miller violated every newsroom code by not answering her fellow reporters' questions. I also think it's very telling that the Times' Washington bureau chief contradicts Miller regarding Miller's assertion (to a nameless editor--whom Miller would not identify!) that the Times should do a story on Plame.

Actually the reason she's not likely to get fired is because she's very tight with the NYT's editor in chief.

Apparently this is the same genius who thought elevating Jayson Blair to a position of prominence would be a good thing.


Clevershark, that was Howell Raines, not Bill Keller.
posted by Vidiot at 1:38 AM on October 16, 2005


Also: Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell calls for Miller's firing:
As the newspaper’s devastating account of her Plame games -- and her own first-person sidebar -- make clear, she should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism, and her own newspaper. And Bill Keller, executive editor, who let her get away with it, owes readers, at the minimum, an apology instead of merely hailing his paper’s long-delayed analysis and saying that readers can make of it what they will.

He should also apologize to all the “armchair critics” and “vultures” he denounced this week for spreading unfounded stories and “myths” about what Miller and the newspaper had been up to. If anything, this sad and outrageous story is worse than most expected. . .

Saturday's Times article, without calling for Miller’s dismissal, or Keller’s apology, made the case for both actions in this pithy, frank, and brutal assessment: "The Times incurred millions of dollars in legal fees in Ms. Miller's case. It limited its own ability to cover aspects of one of the biggest scandals of the day. Even as the paper asked for the public's support, it was unable to answer its questions."

It followed that paragraph with Keller's view: "It's too early to judge."

Like Keller says, make of it what you will. My view: Miller did far more damage to her newspaper than did Jayson Blair, and that’s not even counting her WMD reporting, which hurt and embarrassed the paper in others ways.

The Times should let Miller, like Blair, go off to write a book, with no return ticket. We all know how well that worked out for Blair.

Miller should be fired if for nothing more than this: After her paper promised a full accounting, and her full cooperation, in its probe, it reported Saturday, “Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes.”

As for Keller’s apology (or more), consider just one of a dozen humbling sentences from the Times story: “Interviews show that the paper’s leadership, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control.” . .

This is the woman Bill Keller and Arthur Sulzberger decided to make a First Amendment martyr, tainting their newspaper’s reputation like never before. As their paper’s article reveals, neither asked Miller detailed questions about her conversations with Libby or examined her notes. Keller "declined to tell his own reporters" that Libby was Miller's source, Saturday's article dryly complains. The report also makes clear that he ordered ideas for articles related to the case killed. Most humiliating, the Times had a story about Miller's release from jail ready at 2 p.m. that day -- and it wasn't published until the end of the day, allowing other newspapers (even tiny E&P) to get the scoop.
Josh Marshall also raises a really good question:
My recollection, I told him, was that Mr. Libby wanted to modify our prior understanding that I would attribute information from him to a "senior administration official." When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby requested that he be identified only as a "former Hill staffer." I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill.

Did Mr. Libby explain this request? Mr. Fitzgerald asked. No, I don't recall, I replied. But I said I assumed Mr. Libby did not want the White House to be seen as attacking Mr. Wilson.
I thought about writing a post trying to give some background about whether this is a normal or accepted practice among reporters.

The first part of an answer is to say, no, I would never agree to that sort of sourcing or those sorts of ground rules. And I can't imagine that many other journalists would either. But I think the more revealing detail is that I do not think I've ever even been asked.

I'm certainly not what you'd call a veteran reporter. But I've been doing this for a living for about eight years. And just off the top of my head, thinking it over this evening, I can't come up with a memory of a situation in which a source has asked me to identify them in this way. And by 'this way' I mean in a fashion that is technically accurately but intentionally and willfully misleading.

What happens very often is that you get in wrestling matches with sources over specificity -- with the reporter always wanting more detail and the source usually wanting to keep things as vague as possible.

Occasionally you will end up with formulations that amount to little more than 'said a human being in Washington who was knowledgeable about this subject.'

That's never a satisfactory solution; but occasionally it's unavoidable. And behind it is almost always -- from my experience at least -- a frustrated calculus the reporter has made that the information is illuminating and revealing enough of the truth of the story to justify not being able to give your readers a very clear idea just where you got it. . .

[T]his is probably already more information than most folks want. But in this case it certainly seems as though the tacit bargain between Miller and Libby was that Libby would provide Miller with information in exchange for her assistance in deceiving her readers. And that violates the rule or principle that amounts to the Occam's Razor of journalistic ethics -- fundamental honesty with your readers.
Miller's actions are inexcusable, and the Times, a great newspaper, is guilty of absolutely shameful conduct, shoddy journalism, and very bad judgment. Both Miller and Keller should be fired.
posted by Vidiot at 1:48 AM on October 16, 2005


Firing? I think she's facing indictment on perjury charges, depending what other evidence Fitzgerald might have.
posted by caddis at 9:09 AM on October 16, 2005


In related news...Time Magazine reports that "if indicted [Karl Rove] would immediately resign or possibly go on unpaid leave..."
posted by ericb at 11:32 AM on October 16, 2005




Yup--everyone read homunculus' link--why did she have a DOD security clearance?

...In an era where the Bush Administration seeks to conceal mountains of government activity under various levels of security classification, why would any self-respecting news organization or individual journalist agree to become part of such a system? Readers would be right to question whether a reporter is operating under a security clearance and, by definition, withholding critical information. Does a newspaper not have the obligation to disclose to its readers when a reporter is not only embedded with a military unit but also officially proscribed in what she may report without running afoul of espionage laws? Was that ever done in Ms. Miller's articles from Iraq? ...
posted by amberglow at 4:54 PM on October 16, 2005


MetaFilter: everyone read homunculus' link
posted by homunculus at 6:46 PM on October 16, 2005


'Hidden Scandal' in Miller Story, Charges Former CBS Newsman
"There is one enormous journalism scandal hidden in Judith Miller's Oct. 16th. first person article about the (perhaps lesser) CIA leak scandal. And that is Ms. Miller's revelation that she was granted a DoD security clearance while embedded with the WMD search team in Iraq in 2003.

This is as close as one can get to government licensing of journalists and the New York Times (if it knew) should never have allowed her to become so compromised. It is all the more puzzling that a reporter who as a matter of principle would sacrifice 85 days of her freedom to protect a source would so willingly agree to be officially muzzled and thereby deny potentially valuable information to the readers whose right to be informed she claims to value so highly.

One must assume that Ms. Miller was required to sign a standard and legally binding agreement that she would never divulge classified information to which she became privy, without risk of criminal prosecution. And she apparently plans to adhere to the letter of that self-censorship deal; witness her dilemma at being unable to share classified information with her editors....If Ms. Miller agreed to operate under a security clearance without the knowledge or approval of Times managers, she should be disciplined or even dismissed. If she had their approval, all involved should be ashamed."
[Editor & Publisher | October 16, 2005]
posted by ericb at 8:46 PM on October 16, 2005



The Normalization of Treason, the Republicans' gift to America
--- ...The Republican party's gift to the American people, and the Bush administration's legacy, will be the normalization of treason. They are trying to convince Americans that betraying our country during wartime for personal gain is no more serious than running a stop sign or going 60 in a 55 zone.
If a senior aide to the president had intentionally outed an American undercover agent during World War II, an agent whose work was central to our mission of defeating the Germans, that aide would very likely be put to death. While no one is yet arguing that Karl Rove be executed, it is the height of hypocrisy and hubris for the Republican party to attempt to minimize a crime that not only puts our troops at risk, but risks the lives of every American man, woman and child.
It is truly a sad day when the Republican party minimizes treason in a selfish attempt to defend a traitor. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:58 PM on October 16, 2005




About.com background on security clearances.

Miller's Delays Made Story Miss Deadline for the national edition of the New York Times.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:50 PM on October 16, 2005


If the Times knew about the security clearance, they should have disclosed as much to their readers. But again, as I linked above, it's Judy Miller's Times, not Sulzberger's or Keller's.
posted by Vidiot at 7:02 AM on October 17, 2005


When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby requested that he be identified only as a 'former Hill staffer.'

According to the New York Times Confidential News Sources policy:
When we agree to anonymity, the reporter's duty is to obtain terms that conceal as little as possible of what the reader needs to gauge reliability. We should distinguish conscientiously between high-level and lower-level executives or officials. We should not use blind attribution -- "sources said," for example -- which is more a tease than a signpost. Attribution should never amount to a truism: since "source" merely means a provider of information, "one source said" is equivalent to "somebody said." And "informed" or "reliable source" is no improvement. (Would The Times quote an uninformed or unreliable one?) The objection is not to the word "source," but to its emptiness without a meaningful modifier: "a Senate source," for example, may be acceptable -- unless, of course, it is possible to tell the reader still more. The word "official" is overused, and cries out for greater specificity.

Trail markers should be as detailed as possible. "United States diplomat" is better than "Western diplomat," which is better than "diplomat." Still better is "a United States diplomat who took part in the meeting." And "a lawyer who has read the brief" or "an executive close to the XYZ Company" is far better than "a person familiar with the case," a phrase so vague that it could even mean the reporter.

Readers value signs of candor.
...
It should go without saying that The Times is truthful.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:01 AM on October 17, 2005






Unbelievable
"[Judith] Miller had helped negotiate her own embedding agreement with the Pentagon—an agreement so sensitive that, according to one Times editor, Rumsfeld himself signed off on it....As Miller covered MET Alpha, it became increasingly clear that she had ceased to respect the boundaries between being an observer and a participant. And as an embedded reporter she went even further, several sources say. While traveling with MET Alpha, according to Pomeroy and one other witness, she wore a military uniform.

When Colonel Richard McPhee ordered MET Alpha to pull back from a search mission and regroup in the town of Talil, Miller disagreed vehemently with the decision—and let her opinions be loudly known. The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz reprinted a note in which she told public-affairs officers that she would write negatively about his decision if McPhee didn’t back down. What’s more, Kurtz reported that Miller complained to her friend Major General David Petraeus. Even though McPhee’s unit fell outside the general’s line of command, Petraeus’s rank gave his recommendation serious heft. According to Kurtz, in an account that was later denied, 'McPhee rescinded his withdrawal order after Petraeus advised him to do so.'

Miller guarded her exclusive access with ferocity. When the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman overlapped in the unit for a day, Miller instructed its members that they couldn’t talk with him. According to Pomeroy, 'She told people that she had clearance to be there and Bart didn’t.' (One other witness confirms this account.)" [New York Magazine]

posted by ericb at 3:48 PM on October 17, 2005


Judith Miller's Security Clearance
"Officials from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon say they have no idea what New York Times reporter Judith Miller was talking about in her published claim over the weekend that she was given a 'security clearance' when she was embedded with a WMD military team in Iraq.

According to the officials, they know of no instance or circumstance when a reporter has been or would be granted a security clearance for any reason, and don't know that she was given one when she was embedded with the U.S. Army's 75th Exploitation Unit that was tasked with finding Iraqi WMD immediately following the end of major conflict in the spring of 2003.

Normally it takes at least three months of background checks, etc. before anyone is granted a 'SECRET' clearance. There are cases where someone is granted a temporary short-term clearance, for a day, for example, but that is usually extended only to military, DOD or civilian contractors who need to be cleared for specific information on a specific project." [NBC News | October 17, 2005]
posted by ericb at 3:52 PM on October 17, 2005



If Rummy signed off on her clearance....

Let me put it this way - I had a pretty high level clearance when I was in. I’ve seen guys with clearances so high it had it’s own moon. Someone like that could write the launch codes from the nuclear football on your mother's panties.


But he wouldn’t have gotten away with this.


I don’t want to be an alarmist or engage in hyperbole here, but it looks like someone might have perhaps overstepped the bounds of their authority.

-----------
"When Colonel Richard McPhee ordered MET Alpha to pull back from a search mission and regroup in the town of Talil, Miller disagreed vehemently with the decision—and let her opinions be loudly known. [New York Magazine]
posted by ericb at 3:48 PM PST on October 17 [!]"

If it were my Col. she would have had a serious accident. Probably a couple of times.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:50 PM on October 17, 2005


Does it matter if someone overstepped the boundaries of their authority or not? The shame here is not on the government's side. This government has shown it has no shame, will take any action which furthers its political goals, has ultimate contempt for the people, for democracy, and respects only its own power. No, the real shame here is that the one big check on that sort of abuse is a vocal press. Judith Miller is a traitor to her country as much as Benedict Arnold. She knew all about how the officials were abusing their authority and power, yet signed on to assist them in this abuse for personal gain. Her actions are akin to payments to foreign spies for planting false intelligence in our government. Morally, although not legally, there is no difference. If there is any justice, her career as a journalist should be over, done, stick a fork in it. Not even FOX (which despite the criticism still maintains fairly high journalistic standards, their failing is in the talking head opinion shows) should shun this pariah. I hope sincerely that Fitzgerald skewers her on a spit for perjury.

Jason Blair was a pimple; Judith Miller is a cancer. The grey lady is on her death bed and heroic measures are needed for resuscitation. Complacency in their greatness has felled this once great journal. Hopefully, they can find it in themselves to cut out the cancers like Miller and refocus on their core mission of true journalism.
posted by caddis at 5:58 PM on October 17, 2005




By the way... - Washington Post
posted by soyjoy at 9:48 PM on October 17, 2005


Pretty fancy:

Cheney aide cooperating with CIA outing probe, sources say.
posted by nobody at 1:36 PM on October 18, 2005


White House Watch: Cheney Resignation Rumors Fly
"Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice." [US News & World Report | October 18, 2005]
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on October 18, 2005


KEITH OLBERMANN, COUNTDOWN HOST:
"You touched on the big picture on this story, and Bob Bennett, who is Judith Miller‘s lawyer, said to 'This Week' on ABC yesterday, Fitzgerald is putting together a big case. You just used similar terminology. How big are we talking? I mean, could this actually wind up referencing the whole premise of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or any of the other justifications for the war there?
HOWARD FINEMAN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE:
Yes, I think so, I think so, Keith. And in an odd way, I think we‘re going to reargue the run-up to the war in Iraq, and the aftermath of it, all the justifications that were made by Colin Powell and the United Nations that had to do with weapons of mass destruction, because I think the special prosecutor, Fitzgerald, is looking for motivation here. He‘s looking for why the people he‘s been investigating might have wanted to leak Valerie Plame‘s name, why they wanted to intimidate, perhaps, Joe Wilson and his wife. The answer, clearly, is politics." [MSNBC | October 18, 2005]
posted by ericb at 2:43 PM on October 18, 2005


A truly objective reporter with an arm's-length distance from those on whom she is reporting? Hardly!

Times Reporter Entangled in Leak Case Had Unusual Relationship with Military, Iraqi Group
"Embattled New York Times reporter Judith Miller acted as a 'middleman' between an American military unit and the Iraqi National Congress while she was embedded with the U.S. armed forces searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in April 2003, and 'took custody' of Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, one of 55 most wanted Iraqis...

Moreover, in one of the most highly unusual arrangements between a news organization and the Department of Defense, Miller sat in on the initial debriefing of Jamal Sultan Tikriti, according to a June 25, 2003 article published in the Washington Post.

The Post article sheds some light on her unusual arrangement in obtaining a special security clearance from the Department of Defense which is now the subject of a Democratic congressional inquiry....

The Post article raises an important question about her role in the outing of a covert CIA agent: was Miller, whose flawed reporting on the existence of WMD’s was scrutinized in mainstream newspapers, truly meeting with Libby in the hopes of pursuing a hot story or was she trying to get information out of him that would help restore her credibility and cover up her errors?" [Raw Story | October 18, 2005]
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on October 18, 2005


Newsweek: Burning Questions -- The cannibalistic media frenzy over Judith Miller ignores the lessons that we should be learning from her case.
posted by ericb at 6:44 PM on October 18, 2005


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