Judith Miller to name Scooter Libby

Reply Tue 11 Oct, 2005 10:47 am
Some Editors Question 'NY Times' Coverage of Her Case
Miller to Talk to Prosecutor Again Tuesday, As Some Editors Question 'NY Times' Coverage of Her Case
By Joe Strupp
Published: October 10, 2005

NEW YORKIn the 11 days since Judith Miller left jail after agreeing to testify before a federal grand jury about her sources, many of the facts in the case have yet to come out. But one thing is clear: Her newspaper, The New York Times, has had very little to say about her role in the Plame/CIA leak case, and has been regularly scooped by other papers on the latest twists in her involvement.

The newspaper promised a full accounting by now, but then put it off after Miller was told she had to chat with the federal prosecutor again, on Tuesday. Executive Editor Bill Keller was quoted in an online Business Week article Monday suggesting that the complexities of the situation put the paper in the "uncomfortable" position of not being able to share important information Miller knows.

The paper had to run a correction today on one bit of information it did confirm (after it was widely published elsewhere): The previously unknown conversation between Miller and I. Lewis Libby took place on June 23, 2003, not June 25 of that year.

The all-holds-barred reporting by the Times about a national story partly based in its own newsroom has drawn comments from several daily newspaper editors, who tell E&P that the Gray Lady needs to open up more about one of its own. But more than half of the top editors polled by E&P on this subject declined to comment, refusing to leap to the paper's defense, or condemn it.

"What bothers me is that they have been quiet about it since she got out of jail, not sharing with the readers anything," says Doug Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. "Once she was out, they owed it to readers to share what she testified. She ought to have shared with readers what she shared with the grand jury."

Clifton also questioned the Times' approach in putting together a story about Miller's jailing if editors who have a long association with her, or have championed her actions, are part of the process.

"Maybe because of the Times' stature, it elevates this whole thing to a national audience," he said. "Perhaps they should get someone more removed to handle it, to direct the reporters who are doing a good reporting job on just what happened," Clifton told E&P, "someone out of the direct chain of command."

Clifton would not go so far as to advocate an outsider coming in to run that reporting project, which is well underway, but he said, "if they want it to be above reproach, get the public editor to do it. The important thing is to give an accounting."

For Dennis Ryerson, editor of The Indianapolis Star and former editor of the Des Moines Register, the minimal Times reporting is unusual. "I've been surprised at their lack of aggressiveness throughout," he told E&P. "They didn't even break the story of her getting out of jail." Ryerson added that "usually they can be counted on to provide the best perspective on things, even when it involves their own. It seems unusual for them that we are not seeing more."

When asked how he would have covered the story, Ryerson would not say. He also pointed out that "there may be things that we do not know that will come out" related to how the Times has taken the approach it has.

Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, was not as critical, but he noted the importance of the Times explaining its actions and those of Miller completely. "More is always better," he said when asked about how they have reported on Miller's decisions. "While we in the profession are much more interested in the detail and minutiae, when you are in the position that The New York Times is in, you need to disclose everything to a fault. It looks like they might, but we don't know."

Bronstein said the entire episode of Miller's sourcing and jailing "raises some issues that are disturbing" such as, "How do you determine that a source is not being coerced?" But, in the Times' defense, he said, "It is always more complicated than it seems to be on the outside."

When asked how he would have covered it, Bronstein said, "I'm glad I'm not in their shoes."

Mike Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, said that in some ways an uninvolved newspaper's coverage of the Miller story might be best anyway, noting that it would be difficult for the paper to cover itself. "An independent voice coming at it is probably better than the Times," Days said. "I am happy to read coverage of [Miller] in other papers."

Asked how he would have covered the story, Days quipped, referring to his paper's often offbeat or humorous approach to the news: "This is the Philadelphia Daily News. We would have had her do a daily diary and she would have been blogging from inside the jail cell."

Leonard Downie Jr., Executive Editor of The Washington Post, was one of several editors who declined to comment on the situation, saying, "I'm in charge of this paper, not that one." (At least two of his reporters have also testified before the Plame grand jury.) Amanda Bennett of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Ken Paulson of USA Today, Ann Marie Lipinski of the Chicago Tribune, and Robert Rivard of the San Antonio Express-News, among others, also took a pass.
Joe Strupp ([email protected]) is a senior editor at E&P.

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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 05:19 pm
Public Editor Will Review Upcoming 'NY Times' Opus on Miller
Public Editor Says He Will Review Upcoming 'NY Times' Opus on Miller
By E&P Staff
Published: October 13, 2005 6:21 PM ET

New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame announced Thursday on his Web journal at the newpaper's site that he will, indeed, write a review of the paper's long-delayed account of the Judith Miller case.

It comes one day after he told E&P's Joe Strupp that he wasn't sure if he would write anything -- and after a judge lifted the contempt order against the Times reporter after her latest day of testimony in the Plame case.

He also revealed that he had been "asking some basic questions of the key players" at the paper since July, to no avail. Calame added that he expects to talk to Miller, Executive Editor Bill Keller, and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., in looking into the affair.

"While a multitude of issues need to be addressed," Calame wrote, "I certainly will expect The Times's explanation to address these fundamental questions that I first posed to the key players at the paper in July: Was Ms. Miller's contact with the source she is protecting initiated and conducted in genuine pursuit of a news article for Times readers? Why didn't she write an article? What kinds of notes are there and who has them? Why wasn't she exploring a voluntary waiver from the source?

"An important and obvious issue that has arisen in recent days, of course, is Ms. Miller's seemingly belated discovery of notes from a June 2003 conversation that she had with I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Several hours after she testified before the grand jury yesterday about the notes, a federal district judge in Washington, D.C., lifted the contempt finding that had caused her to spend 85 days in jail."
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 05:28 pm
Why Judith Miller Can't Catch a Break
By Greg Mitchell
October 13, 2005

As criticism of The New York Times -- from within and without -- for its handling of Miller's role in Plamegate mounts, her defenders want us to overlook her tainted WMD coverage. Here's why that plea is absurd, and why so many at her own paper are voicing complaints.

The top-down defense of Judith Miller at The New York Times sometimes reminds me of the classic song, "Every Time I Go to Town (The Boys Keep Kicking My Dog Around)," recorded by Bob Dylan nearly 40 years ago in the basement at Big Pink, and never released. Now, two days after New York Times executive editor Bill Keller denounced "armchair critics" who have knocked the paper for its weak coverage of the Miller case -- and a day after complaining about being "nibbled at by the blogs" -- it turns out that some of the harshest criticism comes not from the global Web village but from within his own ranks.

Leaks from inside the Times to this effect, some reported by E&P, have emerged for months, but Thursday morning National Public Radio's David Folkenflik produced a segment citing three unnamed Timespeople voicing complaints. At the same time, Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post -- a rival newspaper -- came out with a column based largely on interviews with nearly a dozen anonymous Times staffers. While he reports a very mixed in-house opinion, he declares that "anguish" among staffers over the paper's handling of the Miller saga "has mounted in recent days, much to the consternation of its top executives."

And the column contains this money shot: "Some said the newsroom is more demoralized now than during the 2003 debacle over Jayson Blair's serial fabrications, because top editors were deceived by Blair but in this case have embraced Miller's handling of the controversy and level of disclosure."

Adam Clymer, the former Times political editor and chief Washington correspondent, explained: "A lot of the reporters have really been wondering and doubting their editors. It wasn't that they knew the defense of Judy was wrong, but they didn't have a sense of what was being defended. ... People all over the paper think the Times should have been covering the story harder."

Clymer also pointed out that some at the paper still resented Miller for her grievously flawed reporting on Iraq's alleged weapons of destruction, especially those who tried to dissuade her at the time.

This is a critical point. Defenders of Miller's actions in the Plame affair have long complained that she has unfairly suffered in the court of media opinion because she is tainted by her many errors on WMDs -- which, after all, helped ease the path to a catastrophic war. This defense is absurd, of course, since the entire Plame case stems directly from the bogus WMD claims and the administration's attempt to tar those brave souls (Miller not among them) who later raised questions.

Rarely mentioned is that Keller's defense of Miller pre-dates the Plame case. The Times not only apparently failed to punish her for her WMD reporting (which did, indeed, prove far more deadly than Jayson Blair's illusions), it went out of its way to shield her from embarrassment. Keller was not top editor at the Times before the Iraq invasion, but as a columnist for the paper called himself a "hawk" on the war. He later said he supported the invasion "mainly because of the convergence of a real threat and a real opportunity."

The Times' efforts on Miller's behalf reached preposterous proportions in its controversial May 26, 2004 editors' note, which at long last admitted flaws in the paper's pre-war coverage of Iraq WMDs (while failing to apologize to readers). It briefly described six particular articles that had wrongly bolstered the notion of WMDs, without mentioning the names of any of the reporters involved. E&P was first to reveal that Judith Miller had a hand in four of the six stories.

Most damaging among these articles was the Sept. 8, 2002, front-pager that made the case for Saddam's interest in the "aluminum tubes" and raised the specter of a mushroom cloud over America. The Times later dryly admitted, "The article gave no hint of a debate over the tubes," adding, "The White House did much to increase the impact of The Times article." Vice President Cheney, in fact, specifically cited the Times story in stating, later that day, that he knew with "absolute certainty" that Saddam was buying the tubes to build nuclear weapons.

"It looks as if we, along with the Administration, were taken in," the Times' editors' note admitted, without pointing to the prime media conduit/sap for the Scooter Libbys who drove the rush to war: Judith Miller.

As E&P columnist William E. Jackson, Jr. pointed out in response, "Strikingly absent from the editors' note is any flat-out admission that the Times as an institution allowed the line to become indistinct between the Bush Administration's claims and the newspaper's own reporting. There is no admission that the nation's leading print outlet bears some responsibility for the march to war."

And yet, they wonder why so many will not give the newspaper, and Judy Miller, a mulligan today.
Greg Mitchell ([email protected]) is editor of E&P. He is the author of seven books and a finalist for an Online Journalism Award for commentary.
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 05:31 pm
How Judith Miller Lost My Support
How Judith Miller Lost My Support
By Allan Wolper
October 11, 2005

New York Times reporter Judith Miller lost the ethical high ground, and my support, when she changed her mind and decided that Scooter Libby, somehow free of any coercion, truly wanted her to testify. Then she committed a journalistic mortal sin--turning over notes to a prosecutor.

Judith Miller of The New York Times made a principled decision to go to jail rather than tell a grand jury what she and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby discussed about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. But Miller lost her standing nearly two weeks ago after spending 85 days in jail when she changed her mind and decided that Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, truly wanted her to testify.

Miller made that decision even though New York Times officials and reporters concluded a year ago that Libby had been browbeaten into signing a waiver by the Bush Administration that permitted him to break his confidentiality agreement with her, and questions about the voluntary nature of later waivers remained.

"If someone is made to sign a form saying that he or she is a source then the agreement is no longer valid," a Times reporter who worked on the story last year told me. "And everything that the Bush White House has done indicates that is the case."

The Times lawyers echoed that thought. "There was no question the White House waivers were coerced," George Freeman, an assistant general counsel for The Times, told me at the time, referring to all the waivers at the White House, including the one signed by Libby.

Now Freeman tells me Miller feels Libby is no longer being coerced. How does he know? Miller told him so, referring to a telephone conversation she had with Libby from her Virginia cell while his lawyers listened in, according to Newsweek.

It requires total brain lock to think that Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney -- and a promoter of the fiction that Iraq was filled with Weapons of Mass Destruction -- is in any way free from the influence of the White House.

Miller turned the WMD fiction into a front-page crusade for an American invasion of Iraq, making her supporters wonder whether the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist had become a stooge for The Bush Administration. But she is also a terrific reporter. I doubt that the non-WMD Miller would believe one of her confidential sources had recanted a confidentiality agreement without at least interviewing him alone. Without looking into his eyes, observing his every movement, alert to every facial tic -- and then calling up a half dozen sources to check him out.

In this case, Miller had a newsroom full of some of the best reporters in the world who could do the legwork for her. But none of them were able to prove that the Libby of 2005 was any less coerced than he was a year ago.

Miller had been one of the few Washington reporters involved in
the Plame-Wilson outing case who had not accepted Libby's claims that he was an independent agent. She held fast as Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, and Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine (twice), and Tim Russert, The NBC-TV Washington bureau chief, all testified before the grand jury investigating the leak case.

But Miller wouldn't bend. She knew that reporters who promise a source not to disclose his identity must never break their word. Otherwise whistle blowers would stop talking to them.. And she went to jail to uphold a principle. But now that she is out, it is hard to deal with what she has done.

She testified about her conversations with Libby. She handed over
her notes to the special prosecutor, explaining they were redacted - as if that mitigated anything. Then, last week, she sent more notes, from a June 23, 2003, interview with Libby, to the prosecutor.

A reporter's notes are never supposed to be shared with anyone but his editor.

Meanwhile, The New York Times is acting like she was a heroine.
"Judy has been unwavering in her commitment to protect the confidentiality of her source," Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the newspaper, said. "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."

It's embarrassing. Sulzberger was celebrating the surrender of one of its reporters to a prosecutor. He had forgotten that the Supreme Court case (Branzburg vs. Hayes), which the courts cited to incarcerate Miller involved Earl Caldwell -- a New York Times reporter who refused to disclose his sources to a grand jury.

Allan Wolper ([email protected]) is a columnist for E&P. He can be reached at [email protected].
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 05:41 pm
Catch-22 at the New York Times
Catch-22 at the New York Times
By Arianna Huffington

It's put up or shut up time at the paper of record.

Now that Judge Hogan has lifted Judy Miller's contempt citation, there is no reason for the Times to hold back on its promised full accounting of the Miller story.

Rarely has so much been riding on a single article.

Especially internally. The frustration I've been reporting on since July has now spilled into the MSM with "nearly a dozen Times staffers" venting to Howard Kurtz. The Times newsroom is a powder keg ready to blow.

But the Times finds itself facing a vexing Catch-22. In order to quell the rising newsroom rebellion -- not to mention fulfill its obligation to the Times' readers -- the Miller reporting team of Landman, Van Natta, Liptak, and Scott needs to produce an article that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what Bill Keller called Miller's "entanglement with the White House leak investigation." But how can they do that without going against the paper's unwavering editorial line in support of Miller?

As I've said before, coming clean on Miller will mean focusing not just on "the drama" of Miller's time behind bars but on her discredited reporting on WMD in Iraq -- the issue that brought her to the Plame dance in the first place. It will require Landman and company to interview the editors and reporters who observed first-hand Miller's actions during the period in question (and who are speaking privately about her journalistically dubious methods) -- including her tirade against Joe Wilson. It will entail the paper applying the same journalistic standards to the Judy Miller story it would apply to any other subject.

But how do you do that when your bosses are still sticking by the Judy-as-hero routine?

So which way will it go? Will the Times save its journalistic soul by coming clean or will it serve up a mushy bowl of Judy-shielding pablum to avoid contradicting its editorial stance so far?

If the language Keller has been using lately is any indication of the paper's mindset, it doesn't bode well. His references to "vultures still circling," "preposterous speculation congeal[ing] into conventional wisdom," and "myths kicked up by the rumor mill" don't sound much like a man ready to come clean.

If the big Times story does not break with this siege mentality, the paper will have made the kind of mistake it will be next to impossible to recover from. Expect an exodus from West 43rd Street. I hear that some of the Times' brightest stars are already being courted by competitors looking to take advantage of the mounting anger at the paper's handling of the Miller affair. Maybe that's what Keller meant by "vultures circling."

And this time, the anguish won't be brought to an end by the kind of ritual bloodletting that followed the Jayson Blair fiasco. Sulzberger sacrificing Keller won't do the trick. No one doubts for a moment that on all things Miller Keller has been acting as a loyal lieutenant to the publisher.

As a source familiar with the inner working of the Times told me in August: "Every big decision that comes out of the Times comes directly from the top. Nobody does anything there without Arthur Sulzberger's approval. It's the larger untold story in all of this -- that he now runs the newsroom."

Or as longtime Times observer Michael Wolff told me: "The distinction between the 3rd floor and the 14th floor used to be real. The editor was always in charge. That's no longer the case. And it's hard to avoid the conclusion that while Pinch has been running the paper, it just lurches from crisis to crisis. At some point you have to question the quality of his leadership."

And that questioning has already begun, leading to the unspeakable being whispered among big media players. As one of them boldly asserted to me: "Mark my words, this will end with Sulzberger's resignation."

It's a sign of how bad things have gotten that such a far-fetched scenario has moved from the realm of the preposterous (after all, nine of the Times board's fourteen directors were chosen by the Sulzberger family) to the realm of the conceivable.

That's a hell of a lot to have riding on a single story.
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 05:52 pm
And What About Russert?
And What About Russert?
By Eric Boehlert

Today's focus remains on Judy Miller and whether she will step forward and fully explain what she knows about the unfolding grand jury investigation, and help answer the dozens of questions that surround it, as well as the New York Times' involvement. Independent counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has given Miller the okay to talk and write about the episode.

But does she want the facts out? Time magazine's Matt Cooper did. As soon as he was permitted, Cooper wrote a revealing first-person account of his role in the investigation. And note that in the recent issue of Nieman Reports, a quarterly published by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, another subpoenaed reporter, spelled out the details of his participation.

So what about NBC's Tim Russert? Like Miller, he received a confidentiality waiver from his source, Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, to appear before the Plame grand jury and for more than a year Russert has been free to inform viewers everything he knows about the investigation, particularly whether his version of events contrasts with testimony given by Libby. Instead, Russert has remained mum, conveniently playing dumb whenever the topic comes up on "Meet the Press." (Of course, columnist Robert Novak has also remained silent about his role, but he's an obvious partisan with an agenda.) What, if anything, is Russert hiding and why aren't his bosses at NBC now demanding that Russert, who's clearly part of an important news event, step forward as a journalist and report the facts as he knows them?
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 06:07 pm
Judith Miller: Bustado
Judith Miller: Bustado
By Jane Hamsher

I have to admit I was beginning to wonder. The cooler minds of people I respect absolutely were looking toward the simplest solution to the Judith Miller diary enigma -- namely that Miller has been cooperating with Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald all along, and he learned about her June notes during her September 30 testimony.

But sometimes being a bit of a loose cannon gives you the inside track into the psychology of wack jobs, I guess. Via Swopa, we learn that the Wall Street Journal says Miller might have been a wee bit evasive in her first appearance before the GJ:

She first appeared before the grand jury on Sept. 30 to talk about two conversations she had in July 2003. She made a second appearance Wednesday to disclose a third conversation in late June that she had previously failed to mention to the grand jury.

Over at Reuters, Adam Entous underscores the obvious question:
It was unclear how Fitzgerald learned of the June 23, 2003, conversation.
Well if you read yesterday's WSJ, her helpful lawyers leaped into the breech:

Since then, her lawyers have told Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the leak of the CIA agent's identity, that Ms. Miller's notes show that she also spoke with Mr. Libby in late June, information that was not previously given to the grand jury.
It implies they all woke up one morning and spontaneously pulled the notebook out of their collective hindquarters, with no prosecutorial prodding.

I'm not convinced.

Todays' WSJ also goes on to note that following Judy's September 30 testimony, her order of contempt was not lifted:

Her appearance Wednesday, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, won her a judge's order releasing her from the contempt-of-court citation that landed her in jail. The contempt order was still in place until her testimony was complete.

If Judy had gone in initially and told the GJ about the June meeting and said "oh you know, I just might have some notes," the contempt order most certainly would've stayed in place until she produced them. But she didn't do that. Her lawyers imply that her testimony was complete on the 30th, then she suddenly remembered her notes the following week, had Bob Bennett get Fitzgerald on the horn and say "St. Judith wants to step into the confessional again."

But if Fitzgerald thought Judy had told him everything on the 30th, why wasn't the contempt citation lifted then? He knew she was holding out.

I'm sticking with my initial guess -- Judy lied and Fitzgerald nailed her.

Oh but not in a biblical sense. Image be gone.
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 06:11 pm
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Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 09:49 am
My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room
New York Times
October 16, 2005
A Personal Account
My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room

In July 2003, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, created a firestorm by publishing an essay in The New York Times that accused the Bush administration of using faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. The administration, he charged, ignored findings of a secret mission he had undertaken for the Central Intelligence Agency - findings, he said, that undermined claims that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear bomb.

It was the first time Mr. Wilson had gone public with his criticisms of the White House. Yet he had already become a focus of significant scrutiny at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Almost two weeks earlier, in an interview with me on June 23, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, discussed Mr. Wilson's activities and placed blame for intelligence failures on the C.I.A. In later conversations with me, on July 8 and July 12, Mr. Libby, who is Mr. Cheney's top aide, played down the importance of Mr. Wilson's mission and questioned his performance.

My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A.

My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr. Wilson's wife by name. Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a covert agent or "operative," as the conservative columnist Robert D. Novak first described her in a syndicated column published on July 14, 2003. (Mr. Novak used her maiden name, Valerie Plame.)

This is what I told a federal grand jury and the special counsel investigating whether administration officials committed a crime by leaking Ms. Plame's identity and the nature of her job to reporters.

During my testimony on Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, asked me whether Mr. Libby had shared classified information with me during our several encounters before Mr. Novak's article. He also asked whether I thought Mr. Libby had tried to shape my testimony through a letter he sent to me in jail last month. And Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether Mr. Cheney had known what his chief aide was doing and saying.

My interview notes show that Mr. Libby sought from the beginning, before Mr. Wilson's name became public, to insulate his boss from Mr. Wilson's charges. According to my notes, he told me at our June meeting that Mr. Cheney did not know of Mr. Wilson, much less know that Mr. Wilson had traveled to Niger, in West Africa, to verify reports that Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium for a weapons program.

As I told the grand jury, I recalled Mr. Libby's frustration and anger about what he called "selective leaking" by the C.I.A. and other agencies to distance themselves from what he recalled as their unequivocal prewar intelligence assessments. The selective leaks trying to shift blame to the White House, he told me, were part of a "perverted war" over the war in Iraq. I testified about these conversations after spending 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with the grand jury inquiry. Having been summoned to testify before the grand jury, I went to jail instead, to protect my source - Mr. Libby - because he had not communicated to me his personal and voluntary permission to speak.

At the behest of President Bush and Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Libby had signed a blanket form waiver, which his lawyer signaled to my counsel was not really voluntary, even though Mr. Libby's lawyer also said it had enabled other reporters to cooperate with the grand jury. But I believed that nothing short of a personal letter and a telephone call would allow me to assess whether Mr. Libby truly wished to free me from the pledge of confidentiality I had given him. The letter and the telephone call came last month.

Equally central to my decision was Mr. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor. He had declined to confine his questioning to the subject of Mr. Libby. This meant I would have been unable to protect other confidential sources who had provided information - unrelated to Mr. Wilson or his wife - for articles published in The Times. Last month, Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questioning.

Without both agreements, I would not have testified and would still be in jail.

I testified in Washington twice - most recently last Wednesday after finding a notebook in my office at The Times that contained my first interview with Mr. Libby. Mr. Fitzgerald told the grand jury that I was testifying as a witness and not as a subject or target of his inquiry.

This account is based on what I remember of my meetings with Mr. Fitzgerald and my testimony before the grand jury. I testified for almost four hours, much of that time taken by Mr. Fitzgerald asking me to decipher and explain my notes of my interviews with Mr. Libby, which I had provided to him.

I was not permitted to take notes of what I told the grand jury, and my interview notes on Mr. Libby are sketchy in places. It is also difficult, more than two years later, to parse the meaning and context of phrases, of underlining and of parentheses. On one page of my interview notes, for example, I wrote the name "Valerie Flame." Yet, as I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from, when I wrote it or why the name was misspelled.

I testified that I did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby, in part because the notation does not appear in the same part of my notebook as the interview notes from him.

The First Libby Meeting

Early in my grand jury testimony, Mr. Fitzgerald asked me to describe my history with Mr. Libby and explain how I came to interview him in 2003.

I said I had known Mr. Libby indirectly through my work as a co-author of "Germs," a book on biological weapons published in September 2001. Mr. Libby had assisted one of my co-authors, and the first time I met Mr. Libby he asked for an inscribed copy of "Germs."

In June 2003 I had just returned from Iraq, where I had been embedded with a special military unit charged with finding Saddam Hussein's unconventional weapons. Now I was assigned to a team of reporters at The Times examining why no such weapons had been found.

On the afternoon of June 23, 2003, I arrived at the Old Executive Office Building to interview Mr. Libby, who was known to be an avid consumer of prewar intelligence assessments, which were already coming under fierce criticism. The first entry in my reporter's notebook from this interview neatly captured the question foremost in my mind.

"Was the intell slanted?" I wrote, referring to the intelligence assessments of Iraq and underlining the word "slanted."

I recall that Mr. Libby was displeased with what he described as "selective leaking" by the C.I.A. He told me that the agency was engaged in a "hedging strategy" to protect itself in case no weapons were found in Iraq. "If we find it, fine, if not, we hedged," is how he described the strategy, my notes show.

I recall that Mr. Libby was angry about reports suggesting that senior administration officials, including Mr. Cheney, had embraced skimpy intelligence about Iraq's alleged efforts to buy uranium in Africa while ignoring evidence to the contrary. Such reports, he said, according to my notes, were "highly distorted."

Mr. Libby said the vice president's office had indeed pressed the Pentagon and the State Department for more information about reports that Iraq had renewed efforts to buy uranium. And Mr. Cheney, he said, had asked about the potential ramifications of such a purchase. But he added that the C.I.A. "took it upon itself to try and figure out more" by sending a "clandestine guy" to Niger to investigate. I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I thought "clandestine guy" was a reference to Mr. Wilson - Mr. Libby's first reference to him in my notes.

In May and in early June, Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist at The Times, wrote of Mr. Wilson's trip to Niger without naming him. Mr. Kristof wrote that Mr. Wilson had been sent to Niger "at the behest" of Mr. Cheney's office.

My notes indicate that Mr. Libby took issue with the suggestion that his boss had had anything to do with Mr. Wilson's trip. "Veep didn't know of Joe Wilson," I wrote, referring to the vice president. "Veep never knew what he did or what was said. Agency did not report to us."

Soon afterward Mr. Libby raised the subject of Mr. Wilson's wife for the first time. I wrote in my notes, inside parentheses, "Wife works in bureau?" I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I believed this was the first time I had been told that Mr. Wilson's wife might work for the C.I.A. The prosecutor asked me whether the word "bureau" might not mean the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Yes, I told him, normally. But Mr. Libby had been discussing the C.I.A., and therefore my impression was that he had been speaking about a particular bureau within the agency that dealt with the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. As to the question mark, I said I wasn't sure what it meant. Maybe it meant I found the statement interesting. Maybe Mr. Libby was not certain whether Mr. Wilson's wife actually worked there.

What was evident, I told the grand jury, was Mr. Libby's anger that Mr. Bush might have made inaccurate statements because the C.I.A. failed to share doubts about the Iraq intelligence.

"No briefer came in and said, 'You got it wrong, Mr. President,' " he said, according to my notes.

The Second Libby Meeting

I interviewed Mr. Libby for a second time on July 8, two days after Mr. Wilson published his essay attacking the administration on the Op-Ed Page of The Times.

Our meeting, which lasted about two hours, took place over breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington. I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I almost certainly began this interview by asking about Mr. Wilson's essay, which appeared to have agitated Mr. Libby. As I recall, Mr. Libby asserted that the essay was inaccurate.

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.

Mr. Libby then proceeded through a lengthy and sharp critique of Mr. Wilson and what Mr. Libby viewed as the C.I.A.'s backpedaling on the intelligence leading to war. According to my notes, he began with a chronology of what he described as credible evidence of Iraq's efforts to procure uranium. As I told Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury, Mr. Libby alluded to the existence of two intelligence reports about Iraq's uranium procurement efforts. One report dated from February 2002. The other indicated that Iraq was seeking a broad trade relationship with Niger in 1999, a relationship that he said Niger officials had interpreted as an effort by Iraq to obtain uranium.

My notes indicate that Mr. Libby told me the report on the 1999 delegation had been attributed to Joe Wilson.

Mr. Libby also told me that on the basis of these two reports and other intelligence, his office had asked the C.I.A. for more analysis and investigation of Iraq's dealings with Niger. According to my interview notes, Mr. Libby told me that the resulting cable - based on Mr. Wilson's fact-finding mission, as it turned out - barely made it out of the bowels of the C.I.A. He asserted that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, had never even heard of Mr. Wilson.

As I told Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Libby also cited a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, produced by American intelligence agencies in October 2002, which he said had firmly concluded that Iraq was seeking uranium.

An unclassified version of that estimate had been made public before my interviews with Mr. Libby. I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I had pressed Mr. Libby to discuss additional information that was in the more detailed, classified version of the estimate. I said I had told Mr. Libby that if The Times was going to do an article, the newspaper needed more than a recap of the administration's weapons arguments. According to my interview notes, though, it appears that Mr. Libby said little more than that the assessments of the classified estimate were even stronger than those in the unclassified version.

Although I was interested primarily in my area of expertise - chemical and biological weapons - my notes show that Mr. Libby consistently steered our conversation back to the administration's nuclear claims. His main theme echoed that of other senior officials: that contrary to Mr. Wilson's criticism, the administration had had ample reason to be concerned about Iraq's nuclear capabilities based on the regime's history of weapons development, its use of unconventional weapons and fresh intelligence reports.

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.

I said I couldn't be certain whether I had known Ms. Plame's identity before this meeting, and I had no clear memory of the context of our conversation that resulted in this notation. But I told the grand jury that I believed that this was the first time I had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for Winpac. In fact, I told the grand jury that when Mr. Libby indicated that Ms. Plame worked for Winpac, I assumed that she worked as an analyst, not as an undercover operative.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me whether Mr. Libby had mentioned nepotism. I said no. And as I told the grand jury, I did not recall - and my interview notes do not show - that Mr. Libby suggested that Ms. Plame had helped arrange her husband's trip to Niger. My notes do suggest that our conversation about Ms. Plame was brief.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a reference to Ms. Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was based on my conversations with Mr. Libby. I said I didn't think so. I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I could recall discussing the Wilson-Plame connection with other sources. I said I had, though I could not recall any by name or when those conversations occurred.

Before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald asked me questions about Mr. Cheney. He asked, for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interviews with me or was aware of them. The answer was no.

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.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believed so, but could not be sure. He asked how Mr. Libby treated classified information. I said, Very carefully.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me to examine a series of documents. Though I could not identify them with certainty, I said that some seemed familiar, and that they might be excerpts from the National Intelligence Estimate of Iraq's weapons. Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether Mr. Libby had shown any of the documents to me. I said no, I didn't think so. I thought I remembered him at one point reading from a piece of paper he pulled from his pocket.

I told Mr. Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby might have thought I still had security clearance, given my special embedded status in Iraq. At the same time, I told the grand jury I thought that at our July 8 meeting I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked me if I knew whether I was cleared to discuss classified information at the time of my meetings with Mr. Libby. I said I did not know.

The Third Libby Conversation

My third interview with Mr. Libby occurred on July 12, two days before Robert D. Novak's column identified Ms. Plame for the first time as a C.I.A. operative. I believe I spoke to Mr. Libby by telephone from my home in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

I told Mr. Fitzgerald I believed that before this call, I might have called others about Mr. Wilson's wife. In my notebook I had written the words "Victoria Wilson" with a box around it, another apparent reference to Ms. Plame, who is also known as Valerie Wilson.

I told Mr. Fitzgerald that I was not sure whether Mr. Libby had used this name or whether I just made a mistake in writing it on my own. Another possibility, I said, is that I gave Mr. Libby the wrong name on purpose to see whether he would correct me and confirm her identity.

I also told the grand jury I thought it was odd that I had written "Wilson" because my memory is that I had heard her referred to only as Plame. Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether this suggested that Mr. Libby had given me the name Wilson. I told him I didn't know and didn't want to guess.

My notes of this phone call show that Mr. Libby quickly turned to criticizing Mr. Wilson's report on his mission to Niger. He said it was unclear whether Mr. Wilson had spoken with any Niger officials who had dealt with Iraq's trade representatives.

With the understanding that I would attribute the information to an administration official, Mr. Libby also sought to explain why Mr. Bush included the disputed uranium allegation in his 2003 State of the Union address, a sentence of 16 words that his administration would later retract. Mr. Libby described it as the product of a simple miscommunication between the White House and the C.I.A.

Mr. Fitzgerald asked whether I ever pursued an article about Mr. Wilson and his wife. I told him I had not, though I considered her connection to the C.I.A. potentially newsworthy. I testified that I recalled recommending to editors that we pursue a story.

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. I said I felt that since The Times had run Mr. Wilson's original essay, it had an obligation to explore any allegation that undercut his credibility. At the same time, I added, I also believed that the newspaper needed to pursue the possibility that the White House was unfairly attacking a critic of the administration.

Mr. Libby's Letter

When I was last before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald posed a series of questions about a letter I received in jail last month from Mr. Libby. The letter, two pages long, encouraged me to testify. "Your reporting, and you, are missed," it begins.

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.

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."

How did I interpret that? Mr. Fitzgerald asked.

In answer, I told the grand jury about my last encounter with Mr. Libby. It came in August 2003, shortly after I attended a conference on national security issues held in Aspen, Colo. After the conference, I traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyo. 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."
0 Replies
Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 09:56 am
The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal
The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal
Published: October 16, 2005
New York Times

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.

Whether Ms. Miller's testimony will prove valuable to the prosecution remains unclear, as do its ramifications for press freedom. Yet an examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to do so, offers fresh information about her role in the investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause.

The grand jury investigation centers on whether administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, whose husband, a former diplomat named Joseph C. Wilson IV, became a public critic of the Iraq war in July 2003. But Ms. Miller said Mr. Libby first raised questions about the diplomat in an interview with her that June, an account suggesting that Mr. Wilson was on the White House's radar before he went public with his criticisms.

Once Ms. Miller was issued a subpoena in August 2004 to testify about her conversations with Mr. Libby, she and The Times vowed to fight it. Behind the scenes, however, her lawyer made inquiries to see if Mr. Libby would release her from their confidentiality agreement. Ms. Miller said she decided not to testify in part because she thought that Mr. Libby's lawyer might be signaling to keep her quiet unless she would exonerate his client. The lawyer denies that, and Mr. Libby did not respond to requests for an interview.

As Ms. Miller, 57, remained resolute and moved closer to going to jail for her silence, the leadership of The Times stood squarely behind her.

"She'd given her pledge of confidentiality," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher. "She was prepared to honor that. We were going to support her."

But Mr. Sulzberger and the paper's executive editor, Bill Keller, knew few details about Ms. Miller's conversations with her confidential source other than his name. They did not review Ms. Miller's notes. Mr. Keller said he learned about the "Valerie Flame" notation only this month. Mr. Sulzberger was told about it by Times reporters on Thursday.

Interviews show that the paper's leaders, 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 car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk," Mr. Sulzberger said.

Once Ms. Miller was jailed, her lawyers were in open conflict about whether she should stay there. She had refused to reopen communications with Mr. Libby for a year, saying she did not want to pressure a source into waiving confidentiality. But in the end, saying "I owed it to myself" after two months of jail, she had her lawyer reach out to Mr. Libby. This time, hearing directly from her source, she accepted his permission and was set free.

"We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for," Ms. Miller said in an interview Friday.

Neither The Times nor its cause has emerged unbruised. Three courts, including the Supreme Court, declined to back Ms. Miller. Critics said The Times was protecting not a whistle-blower but an administration campaign intended to squelch dissent. The Times's coverage of itself was under assault: While the editorial page had crusaded on Ms. Miller's behalf, the news department had more than once been scooped on the paper's own story, even including the news of Ms. Miller's release from jail.

Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."


(Continued, long article)
0 Replies
Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 10:01 am
0 Replies
Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 10:08 am
Judy-Culpa Raises More Questions Than It Answers
Times Selective: Judy-Culpa Raises More Questions Than It Answers.
Arianna Huffington
10.15.2005 [UPDATED]

The first question raised by the Times' Judy-Culpa and by Judy Miller's own account is: Who told Judy about Valerie Plame (or "Flame" as the name appears in Judy's notes)? According to these two pieces, the name was immaculately conceived. "As I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from," Miller writes.

When the Plame case broke open in July 2003, these notes were presumably no more than a few weeks old. But who had revealed Plame's name was not seared on Miller's mind?

This is as believable as Woodward and Bernstein not recalling who Deep Throat was. It also means that Judy went to jail to protect a source she can't recall.

Update: Not Since Geraldo Cracked Open that Vault...

Now that I have spent a few hours absorbing this latest installment in the ongoing soap opera "Desperate Editors," I can safely say that not since Geraldo cracked open Al Capone's vault has there been a bigger anticlimax or a bigger sham. After all, the question everybody has been asking is: who was the source who leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Judy Miller?

And the answer? She can't remember.

Given the "gee-whiz, it all just sort of, like, happened, and I don't know when or why or where or who..." tone of her mea no culpa , maybe Judy is vying for a role on MTV's "Laguna Beach."

Which is just as well, because if these two articles have revealed anything at all, it's that Judy Miller is no journalist.

Judy Miller: A Victory for Journalism?

The Times articles are inconclusive about a lot of issues, but they are devastatingly conclusive about Miller as a journalist -- including, the confirmation that, within a few weeks of assuming the editorship of the Times, "in one of his first personnel moves, Mr. Keller told Ms. Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues," and including the Times' long-delayed acknowledgement that 5 of the 6 articles in its WMD mea culpa "were written or co-written by Ms. Miller."

Here are some more problems about Miller as a journalist:

Her account of her meetings with Libby shows how off-target her journalistic radar was. Is it because of how off-target her loyalties were? Here is a quote: "My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr. Wilson's wife by name. Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a covert agent or "operative..." My notes show? Wasn't she there?

One thing we do know about Judy Miller is that she's no dummy. Whether or not Libby said the words "Valerie Plame," and whether or not Libby knew or revealed that Plame was covert, it's inconceivable that Miller did not know what was going on: a high-level administration official was trying to smear a critic of the administration. That's news. That's something the readers of the New York Times --and the American people -- deserved to know, and yet she did nothing with the information. Indeed, she still calls Libby a "good-faith source who was usually straight with me." Was it an example of Scooter being straight with Judy (and the public) that he asked to be described not as "a senior administration official" (as was their "prior understanding") but as a "former Hill staffer"? "I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill." Mr. Libby had also once been to high school. So how about "former high school student" to really disguise the identity of the White House henchman from her readers?

And here are some questions for Miller's editors:

Did Miller mislead them when she denied that she was one of the journalists to whom White House officials disclosed Plame's identity? Here's the quote from today's article:

"In the fall of 2003, after The Washington Post reported that "two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists," Philip Taubman, Ms. Abramson's successor as Washington bureau chief, asked Ms. Miller and other Times reporters whether they were among the six. Ms. Miller denied it."
If she denied it falsely, is there any journalistic institution in the United States that would keep on a reporter who is dishonest to her editors?

Also, in her interview with the Times reporters, Miller says that she made a strong recommendation that a story be pursued on Joe Wilson, but that her editor rejected it. Problem is, Miller refuses to identify the editor. Jill Abramson, who was the Washington bureau chief at the time, says it was not her. So who was it? And why is Miller refusing to supply the name of the editor? It's not classified. It does not require a waiver. What journalistic rules is she abiding by?

And how overidentified with her sources was she that she felt she "was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information" from Libby about Iraq because of the government security clearance she had?

And here is a question for Abramson: she said that she regrets "the entire thing." Can she elucidate what aspects of "the entire thing" she specifically regrets?

Is Anybody Clearer Now About Why Miller Went to Jail?

It is clear from the two Times pieces that Miller did not go to jail because she did not have a voluntary waiver from Scooter Libby -- who, incidentally, we should stop referring to as her source since, according to Miller, he was not the one who revealed to her Valerie Plame's name.

For months, Miller and the Times pooh-poohed waivers, their position most clearly presented by Bill Safire when he testified before Congress on July 20th: "I don't have to pussyfoot about this, because it's a matter of principle. I think waivers of confidentiality are a sham, a snare and a delusion."

Contrary to this stance, it becomes obvious from both Times pieces that Miller was not standing on any lofty principle when she went to jail. As soon as criminal contempt charges or the empanelment of a new grand jury became real possibilities, she chose to do what she could have done before going to jail: reach out to Libby to get a verbal confirmation from him. Even Sulzberger, Judy's staunchest supporter, can no longer utter a ringing endorsement of her: "Maybe a deal was possible earlierÂ… If so, shame on us. I tend to think not." I tend to think not? Is that the best he can do? After the endless absurdities that appeared on the Times editorial page about Judy the Martyr, including, "If she is not willing to testify after 41 days, then she is not willing to testify"?

On Meaningful Sources

Miller refuses to say -- both to the Times reporters and in her own sham of an account -- who else she discussed Valerie Plame with.

Yet, according to today's story, "Mr. Bennett, who by now had carefully reviewed Ms. Miller's extensive notes taken from two interviews with Mr. Libby, assured Mr. Fitzgerald that Ms. Miller had only one meaningful source. Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to limit his questions to Mr. Libby and the Wilson matter."

In what way was Libby the only "one meaningful source," if he didn't leak Plame's identity to Miller? Whoever gave Miller Plame's name was a pretty damned meaningful source. Although evidently not meaningful enough for her to remember who it was.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 01:41 pm
I read the article about Miller and Miller's own article in today's NY Times. While I agree with some of the points made by Huffington and others, I think it's time for everyone to pipe down and see what comes of the grand jury investigation. Ultimately, what happens to Rove and Libby is more important than what Judy Miller was up to.

I will say this: She certainly seemed to have the run of the Times for a long time. I hope the powers-that-be now realize how foolish they were to allow that...
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Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 02:50 pm
I don't agree, d'art.

The two Times articles came up on line last night. I read them, then went to bed as angry as I've been in a while. If the Times leaves the matter here, as Keller implies will be precisely what they'll do, the damage done to this paper, and perhaps even to American news journalism generally, will be hard to measure.

It looks like it is going to take a sustained barrage from other media and perhaps from journalists working at the Times itself to shake Sulzberger and Keller until they gain some fukking integrity.
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Reply Sun 16 Oct, 2005 11:05 pm
Blatham, I agree with you, which is why I've been so persistent in posting info about the terrible mistakes the Times is making. It will take a revolt by Times journalists to save the paper's reputation. The owner family's founders must be turning in their graves at what is happening.

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Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 06:43 am

Yes, you've kept on this story better than anyone else.

As of this morning, journalists from all over are piling on, and they should. But not enough of them are, yet. Likewise editorial staffs.Kurtz's column contains this revealing comment from a former colleague (along with other telling comments from others)...

Craig Pyes, a former contract writer for the Times who teamed up with Miller for a series on al Qaeda, complained about her in a December 2000 memo to Times editors and asked that his byline not appear on one piece.

"I'm not willing to work further on this project with Judy Miller," wrote Pyes, who now writes for the Los Angeles Times. He added: "I do not trust her work, her judgment, or her conduct. She is an advocate, and her actions threaten the integrity of the enterprise, and of everyone who works with her . . . She has turned in a draft of a story of a collective enterprise that is little more than dictation from government sources over several days, filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies," and "tried to stampede it into the paper."

The behavior of Sulzberger and Keller is inexplicable. Do they think they can stonewall these issues? And why would they? What set of notions and factors suggest to them that the damage all this has done and is being done to their paper's reputation is less threatening than some other feared consequence? This is so MUCH more important than the Jason Blair matter and Judith Miller is much more dangerous to the function and reputation of an independent and dependable press. I'm livid.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 07:32 am
D'artagnan wrote:
I read the article about Miller and Miller's own article in today's NY Times. While I agree with some of the points made by Huffington and others, I think it's time for everyone to pipe down and see what comes of the grand jury investigation. Ultimately, what happens to Rove and Libby is more important than what Judy Miller was up to.

I will say this: She certainly seemed to have the run of the Times for a long time. I hope the powers-that-be now realize how foolish they were to allow that...

Why? LOL. It took them over 3 years to catch on to Jayson Blair.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 07:40 am
Alex Jones, a former Times reporter who heads the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, noted the paper's disclosure that Executive Editor Bill Keller had told Miller in 2003 she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons of mass destruction after some of her stories turned out to be wrong.
"If the New York Times does not trust Judy Miller to do stories in her area of expertise, what do they trust her to do, and why should we trust what she does?" Jones asked. "She's a great, energetic talent, but investigative reporters need to be managed very closely, and her characterization of herself as Miss Run Amok is something an institution like the New York Times can't afford."

0 Replies
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 09:22 am
I suspect someone of the ax-grinding in this thread has to do with the Times now charging for some of its content. Just a hunch. But that's cool.

Just to clarify my position: I think the Times has been wrong and stupid for defending Miller so doggedly. I'm amused, though, at how people like Huffington (what exactly is her expertise in this area?) have been getting so much attention for bashing the Times. It's getting a little tiresome...
0 Replies
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 09:39 am
D'artagnan, I'd expect a more thoughtful response than the silly blaming anti-Millerism on the Times charging for reading it's columnists.

I'm angry that Miller falsely abetted the march to the Iraq war in behalf of the Bush Administration. But I'm livid that she masquerades as a journalist when, in fact, her writing belongs in the Op Ed section of the Times. That is a betrayal of the basic ethics of journalism and a threat to our democracy. It demonstrates the absolute corruption of the Bush Administration to encourage Miller and to participate in the trashing of the First Amendment.

How can you not want to protect such an important tenent of the Constitution?

0 Replies

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