Judith Miller to name Scooter Libby

Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 09:42 am
Miller is a scumbag. More will be known on that one with time, I have no doubt; she was instrumental in selling the Iraq war to the masses, and knew exactly what she was doing.

BBB, I hear Wed. is going to be the magic day; better clear yer schedule...

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Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 10:23 am
SPJ Reaffirms Decision to Give Miller 'First Amendment' Awar
Problem is that Miller went to jail to protect herself, not her source. ---BBB

SPJ Reaffirms Decision to Give Miller 'First Amendment' Award
By Joe Strupp
Published: October 17, 2005 12:08 PM ET

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has reaffirmed its plans to honor embattled New York Times reporter Judith Miller with its First Amendment Award on Tuesday, amid new revelations concerning the reporter's involvment in the CIA leak investigation and her recent grand jury testimony.

Reached Monday, SPJ board members stressed that the honor is not meant to be an assessment of her entire career.

"It's not a lifetime achievement award," said Mac McKerral, SPJ past president and a current board member. "I could understand people being upset if we were recognizing her work over a period of time, but this is an award for being willing to not reveal a source, willing to spend so many days in jail, and that is how we distinguish it."

David Carlson, incoming SPJ president, agreed. "It is important to point out that we are not trying to recognize everything a person has done," Carlson added. "The First Amendment Award is to recognize someone doing an extraordinary thing to further the First Amendment. I don't have any way of knowing what all of her motives were, but we do know that she spent 85 days in jail and that act drew great attention to the First Amendment."

McKerral, who is at the SPJ Convention in Las Vegas where the award will be presented, noted that the SPJ Board initially decided to give the award to Miller in July. That decision came shortly after Miller was sent behind to jail for refusing to testify in the Valerie Plame case about a source who had discussed Plame's identity with her.

After 85 days, Miller was released and, just this past weekend, the Tjmes published a lengthy report on her dealings with federal investigators, sources, and the newspaper itself that seemed to generate more controversy than it quelled.

McKerral said the SPJ Board, which has more than 20 members, met again on Saturday and repeated its desire to give her the award. "We have had members who have e-mailed us that this is a bad idea and that is why we revisited the issue at the convention and reaffirmed it," he said, noting that he knew of no board members who had voted against the decision this weekend.

He also said the weekend reports in the Times, and the mixed reaction to them, had no influence on the award. "Issues raised in the past couple of days really had no bearing on the award," he said.

Miller could not be reached for comment Monday, but she is expected to be at the convention by tonight.
Joe Strupp ([email protected]) is a senior editor at E&P.
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Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 10:27 am
Sulzberger Says It's Time To Put the Miller Case Behind Us
Sulzberger Says It's Time To Put the Miller Case Behind Us, As She Describes Finding 'Flame' Notebook for First Time
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.
By E&P Staff
Published: October 17, 2005 9:00 AM ET

Since The New York Times published its long-awaited probe of reporter Judith Miller's involvement in the Plame scandal this weekend, the paper's exeuctive editor and its publisher, and Miller herself, had remained silent. But the Wall Street Journal on Monday published brief but revealing comments by each.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said he was satisfied by his newspaper's account and "we can all hope this period is behind us."

One gaping hole in the weekend account by a team of Times reporters, and in Miller's own first-person story, was the question of how and why she belatedly discovered the notebook that held ther notes of her first interview with "Scooter" Libby on June 23, 2003, which she turned over to the prosecutor earlier this month. This was the notebook that carried the now-famous notation "Valerie Flame."

Miller told the Wall Street Journal that she discovered the notebook in her office after being asked to seek out answers to another question from the prosecutor. "There was an open question about something, and I said I would go back and look and see if there was anything in my notes that would address that question," she told the Journal.

She said she found the notebook in her office.

Talking to the Journal, she repeated that she couldn't recall who first told her about former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, even though that name became front-page news just three weeks after she wrote "Valerie Flame" in that notebook.

"I don't remember who told me the name," she said, growing agitated, as the Journal described it. "I wasn't writing a story, remember?" Asked if the other source was Mr. Rove, she replied, "I'm not going to discuss anyone else that I talked to."

The Journal also reached Executive Editor Bill Keller in China where he is visiting the paper's Beijing bureau. Keller replied by e-mail: "Knowing everything I know today about this case, I might have done some things differently, but I don't feel the least bit apologetic about standing up for a reporter's right to do the job."

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Times reiterated that, despite the uproar over the weekend articles, Miller "was expected to return to the newsroom at some point."
E&P Staff ([email protected])
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Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 10:34 am
More Reactions to Miller Opus: Many Questions Remain
More Reactions to Miller Opus: Many Questions Remain
By E&P Staff
Published: October 16, 2005

In appearances on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday morning, CNN's Frank Sesno, syndicated columnist and blogger Arianna Huffington, and host Howard Kurtz criticized, to varying degrees, The New York Times' lengthy article on Judith Miller's involvement in the Plame scandal as insufficient.

In the Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, James Rainey provided instant outside reaction to The New York Times' article Sunday, featuring quotes from ex-Timesmen.

"I don't think the Times looks any better today than it did yesterday," said Adam Clymer, the paper's former chief Washington correspondent, now retired.

"You can't blame her for wanting to get out of jail," said Alex S. Jones, director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. "But this whole thing leaves a very strange aftertaste about Scooter Libby and her relationship with him and whether she is in some fashion protecting him."

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism: "Is it really the waiver [from Libby] that got her to testify? Or was it that she became tired of jail?"

On the CNN show Sunday morning, Sesno called the Times opus an "honest accounting but not a full accounting. There are still a lot of questions and the public has a right to know -- but still does not know," such as confusion surrounding her long-delayed "waiver" deal.

Huffington said the main unanswered question was: Why did Arthur Sulzberger allow Miller "to hijack" the Times' newsroom policy on this story?"VIEWS

Greg Mitchell: Keller Must Fire Miller, and Apologize to Readers

Greg Mitchell: Why Judith Miller Can't Catch a Break


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'Hidden Scandal' in Miller Story, Charges Former CBS Newsman

Judy Does Vegas: Homecoming for Miller as She Picks Up SPJ Award

Kurtz said he agreed there were still many unanswered questions but, more than those two guests, "I'll give the paper credit for answering many of them." But throughout the segment, he raised strong questions about the Times' mishandling of the Miller affair.

Sesno pointed out that the Times had really suffered because of its weak coverage of this matter and he wondered if "editorial higher-ups" or corporate lawyers discouraged or distorted the paper's work. He called this an "ugly case" and said it "shows the use and abuse of confidential sources."

Huffington said she did not buy Miller's explanation that she could not recall her sources who named Plame, because "after all, her notes were only a few weeks old when Robert Novak's column came out" and all hell broke loose.

Lucy Dalglish, director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and a strong Miller supporter, agreed that Miller allowing I. Lewis Libby to determine how she would describe him in a story (as a former congressional aide rather than as an administration official) was "a little misleading and a little odd." She defended Miller's decision to protect a source and called for a federal shield law.

At this, Huffington said, "It's really time for Lucy and other defenders to update their talking points. It's clear from today's articles the Miller was mainly protecting other sources on the leak" and left principles behind eventually because "she got tired of waiting in jail."

Sesno said that the revelations about the Times' editor and publisher failing to probe Miller or look at her notes were "a giant shot across the bow of every editor and producer in the business. It shows the need to control reporters and examine what they have."

Kurtz said he had invited representatives from the Times on the show, but they had refused.

In a later segment of the same show, Kurtz asked New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman why Miller seemed to draw such attention, pro and con. He replied: "You know, Judy has always been a pioneer and an agent of change, you know. And has been at the forefront of a lot of stories, and people like that in our business engender a lot of attention, a lot of criticism and a lot of jealousy. And that's the only way I can really explain it."

Also on Sunday, Mickey Kaus at the popular blog Kausfiles offered this assessment:

"It's now clear (Miller's) confinement wasn't pointless. It worked for the prosecutor exactly as intended. After a couple of months of sleeping on 'two thin mats on a concrete slab,' Miller decided, in her words, 'I owed it to myself' to check and see if just maybe Libby really meant to release her from her promise of confidentiality. And sure enough-- you know what?--it turns out he did!

"The message sent to every prosecutor in the country is 'Don't believe journalists who say they will never testify. A bit of hard time and they just might find a reason to change their minds. Judy Miller did.' This is the victory for the press the Times has achieved. More journalists will now go to jail, quite possibly, than if Miller had just cut a deal right away, before taking her stand on 'principle.'"

James Wolcott at his Vanity Fair blog:

"Let us not be too harsh on Judith Miller herself, however. She was caught up in the hypnotic voodoo of highstakes journalism. We've all been there. All of us veteran reporters who risk our parking privileges in pursuit of a hot story know what it's like to have strange words leap into your notebook out of nowhere in the middle of an intense interrogation.

"You're sitting there having breakfast at the St. Regis with Scooter Aspen, buttering each other's toast, and somehow the name 'Valerie Flame' pops up in your notebook without you knowing how it got there! It's your handwriting, sure enough, but rack your brain much as you will, you just can't remember which little birdie tweeted that name into your ear."

For the Monday Washington Post, Howard Kurtz talked to Miller's friend at the Times, Claudia Payne, who said the reporter "cooperated to the best of her ability under the circumstances." Payne said much of the criticism "is based on perceptions of Judy that are uninformed. Some of the declarations about high-handedness and trampling on people are simply not what I've experienced."
E&P Staff ([email protected])
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Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 10:48 am
'Hidden Scandal' in Miller Story, Charges Former CBS Newsman
'Hidden Scandal' in Miller Story, Charges Former CBS Newsman
By E&P Staff
Published: October 16, 2005 4:00 PM ET

Since the posting of The New York Times lengthy article on Judith Miller's involvement in the Plame scandal Saturday, much of the Web has been abuzz with the revelation that she had some sort of special classified status while embedded with troops in Iraq at one point.

The issue came to the fore after Miller, in recounting her grand jury testimony, wrote about how her former classified status figured in her discussions with I. Lewis Libby. She was even pressed by the prosecutor on this matter.

E&P columnist William E. Jackson Jr., had first raised this issue in a 2003 column published on E&P's Web site. On Sunday, former CBS national security correspondent Bill Lynch posted his views in a long letter about it at the Romenesko site at poynter.org. Here is the letter:

There's a scandal hidden in Miller's report
10/16/2005 3:34:37 PM

From BILL LYNCH, retired CBS News correspondent: 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.

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?

It is not hard to imagine a defense lawyer being granted a security clearance to defend, say, an "enemy combatant." When the lawyer gets access to classified information in the case, he discovers it is full of false or exculpatory information. But, because he's signed the secrecy oath, there's not a damn thing he can do except whine on the courthouse steps that his client is innocent but he can't say why. A journalist should never be put in an equivalent position, but this is precisely what Ms. Miller has opened herself to.

There are other questions. Does she still have a clearance? Did she have it when talking to Scooter Libby? Is that why she never wrote the Wilson/Plame story?

I am a former White House and national security correspondent and have had plenty of access to classified information. When I divulged it, it was always with a common sense appraisal of the balance between any potential harm done and the public's right to know. If I had doubts, I would run it by officers whose judgement I trusted. In my experience, defense and intelligence officials routinely share secrets with reporters in the full expectation they will be reported. But if any official had ever offered me a security clearance, my instincts would have sent me running. I am gravely disappointed Ms. Miller did not do likewise.

It strikes me that Ms. Miller's situation is the flip side of the NYT's Jayson Blair coin. He and the Times were rightly disgraced for fabricating. In my opinion, Miller also violated her duty to report the truth by accepting a binding obligation to withhold key facts the government deems secret, even when that information might contradict the reportable "facts."

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.

E&P Staff ([email protected])

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Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 12:11 pm
Judy Miller and the Neocons
Judy Miller and the Neocons
By Juan Cole
Friday 14 October 2005

Arrogance, poor editing, and getting too close to her sources - not ideology - led to her fall.

New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified again on Wednesday before a grand jury regarding allegations that Irving Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, outed an undercover CIA operative in summer of 2003. After spending 85 days in jail for refusing to testify before the grand jury, Miller was released after receiving a personal waiver from Libby - who turned out to be her confidential source.

Miller's reputation had already been deeply sullied by her inaccurate and one-sided reporting on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction before the war. Questions have swirled about her relationship with the small coterie of neoconservatives, including Libby, who staffed key positions in the Bush administration, and who were allied with Ahmad Chalabi, a corrupt Iraqi expatriate and notorious liar who became Miller's principal source on WMD issues. Suspicions that Miller had crossed an ethical line and grown too close to her sources increased after the waiver letter she received from Libby was disclosed. That letter ended with this bizarre, highly personal passage: "You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover - Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work - and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers. With admiration, Scooter Libby."

All of which raises the question: Should Miller herself be understood as a neocon?

The evidence suggests that she is not. Rather it was a combination of hawkish convictions about Saddam, ambition, arrogance pumped up by her pre-9/11 work on WMD and jihadis, lax editorial oversight, and her long-standing tendency to get too close to her sources, that led her to become a credulous mouthpiece for those who sought to justify war with Iraq.

Miller clearly agrees with the neocons on some subjects. But she is too knowledgeable about the Middle East and Islam, too evenhanded on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and too much of a liberal on domestic U.S. issues, to be considered a neoconservative herself. A veteran Middle East correspondent (she headed the Times' Cairo bureau) who speaks some Arabic, she had a more balanced and nuanced view of the region than the neocons - at least until 9/11. She probably has more in common with "liberal hawks" such as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff, who were driven to support a U.S. war on Iraq by fears of Saddam's weapons, a belief that military action could end Arab/Muslim terrorism, and impatience with the glacial pace of political reform in the Middle East.

Although some critics have noted that Miller associated herself with the neocon Middle East Forum, headed by Daniel Pipes, and had a brief relationship with Benador Associates, a neoconservative booking agency, neither association is more than circumstantial evidence for an ideological affinity with the neoconservatives. Rather, her research on radical Muslim movements gave her something in common with the Middle East Forum at a time when such interests were often viewed as eccentric in the Washington policy establishment. Her actual position on figures such as Sudanese Islamist Hasan Turabi is much more nuanced than that of the typical MEF authors. Miller should be judged by what she said, not by what Web pages she allowed her name to be listed at.

Miller's trajectory on major issues departs significantly from that of the neoconservatives. Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense 2001-2005, immediately regretted that the U.S. did not go on to Baghdad in 1991, whereas as late as 1993 Miller saw Iraq as defanged. In 1996, in the now-notorious paper titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Defending the Realm," Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, among others, advised then Israeli candidate for prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to scrap the Oslo Peace Accords and refuse to withdraw from the Occupied Territories, as well as to support a war against Iraq. In contrast, Miller supported Oslo and stressed that it was important that both Israelis and Palestinians felt secure so as to attract investment. As late as 1998 she was unsure what to do about Iraq, sometimes supporting bombing raids but at others raising questions about what options the U.S. had in the aftermath.

Yet over time Miller came to subscribe to key neocon ideas - and began increasingly to rely on neocons and their allies for sources. As a June 2004 profile of Miller in New York magazine makes clear, perhaps the pivotal moment in this evolution came in the '90s, when Miller began focusing on the link between terrorism and WMD. She was particularly interested in al-Qaida's plans to acquire WMD. Her work on this subject put her in contact with Ahmad Chalabi, whose party line she began to recite as early as 1998. Before 9/11, her beat made her look obsessed; afterward, as the piece's author, Franklin Foer, notes, "she seemed more like Cassandra, the only one who'd been right. And this fact gave her tremendous power at the paper."

In any case, Miller began to uncritically parrot even some of the neocons' loonier claims. On CNN's "American Morning With Paula Zahn" for May 14, 2002, Miller explained the controversy that had broken out about allegations that Cuba had a biological weapons program. She told Zahn, "And there are a lot of very unsavory contacts, as the administration regards them, between Cuba and especially Iranians who are involved in biological weapons." Such frankly weird assertions raise questions about where in the world Miller got her so-called information. No serious intelligence professional believes that either Iran or Cuba has a significant biological weapons program, much less that a communist Latin American dictatorship was being helped by a Shiite Muslim fundamentalist state with deadly microbes.

Miller's statement only makes sense in light of the speech given by John Bolton, then undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, in May of 2002, in which he alleged that Cuba had a biological weapons program. Thomas Fingar, head of the State Department's Intelligence bureau, along with a retired national security officer, demurred from the charges in Bolton's speech. When Christian Westermann at the State Department intelligence bureau raised questions about the intelligence on which Bolton was basing his campaign, Bolton called him into his office, chewed him out, and then allegedly tried to have him fired, according to the April 18, 2005, edition of the Washington Post. Miller was channeling Bolton in her comments to Paula Zahn, and very likely was simply repeating whatever Bolton himself had told her. Washington political analyst Steven C. Clemons asserted that Bolton was a regular source for Miller in her reporting on national security and weapons of mass destruction issues. Bolton has a special interest in getting up a U.S. war against Iran, accounting for the bogus charge that it was active in Havana.

While Miller was in jail, John Bolton, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, came to visit her.

Miller's reporting on this subject, as with so many other subjects involving the claims of the hawks and neocons, was embarrassingly bad. Since Bolton had so many detractors in the intelligence community, it would have been easy for a good reporter to double-check his claims and to discover with what suspicion they were viewed by the professionals. (Bolton is merely a bad-tempered lawyer who did political work for the Republican Party, including helping Bush-Cheney stop the Florida recount in 2000, and has no special knowledge of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs, much less of the Middle East.) That Miller neglected to seek out the whole story but rather contented herself with serving as a stenographer for figures such as Bolton and Iraqi fraudster Ahmad Chalabi suggests either a conviction on her part of an ideological sort, or an excessive trust in her sources - probably both.

Miller was not always a dupe of far-right-wing hawks. After the Gulf War, she responded on CNN to a 1993 speech by Saddam Hussein in which he claimed that Iraq was stronger and wiser since the 1991 war. On Jan. 8, 1993, Miller told anchor Donna Kelley, "I don't think that the allied forces at this stage face any real threat from Saddam Hussein. He has suffered a real body blow through the Gulf War. His nuclear capability, for the moment, has been eradicated. The U.N. has destroyed thousands of chemical munitions. They continue searching for biological and other weapons of mass destruction. I think a lot of this is just bravado. This is the mother of all rhetoric, that's Saddam Hussein, and I don't think anyone believes it, inside Iraq or outside of the area." Miller's description of the state of Iraq's weapons programs in 1993 was entirely accurate, though the biological program was not completely shut down by Hussein Kamel, head of Iraq's WMD program (and Saddam's son in law), until 1995. In this interview she was still functioning as a balanced news reporter who did not allow her obvious hatred for Saddam to interfere with her analytical judgment about the sort of threat he posed.

But by the late 1990s, Miller had emerged as a hawk on the Iraq issue again. The heating up of the conflict had been provoked by the replacement of Rolf Ekeus as head of the United Nations weapons inspection team, UNSCOM, with Australian Richard Butler, who made a series of wild allegations against Iraq with little or no evidence. He demanded access to Saddam's presidential palaces in early 1998, which Saddam at that time refused. Saddam, a germophobe, is later alleged to have told his U.S. captors that he feared the U.N. inspectors would make his palaces "dirty." No unconventional weapons were discovered in them. Miller commented on the crisis on CNN & Co. on Jan. 28, 1998, saying, "Well, I think the Israelis are busy buying gas masks after Richard Butler made his remarks about Saddam Hussein possibly having enough biological agents to blow Tel Aviv and other cities off the map." Miller was uninterested in the dissenters among the weapons inspectors who deeply disagreed with Butler. She admitted that it was not clear what the U.S. options were after an airstrike. But then in another interview on Jan. 29, 1998, Miller said on MSNBC's "News at Issue" that an airstrike against Iraq might force Saddam to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In mid-August of 1998, at a time when some observers suspected that the Clinton administration might engage Iraq militarily to take the focus in Washington off the Lewinsky scandal, Miller dropped a new bombshell. She published an article in the New York Times based on an interview with Khidhir Hamza, who claimed to be "the highest ranking scientist ever to defect from Iraq," and who had come to the U.S. in 1994. Hamza asserted that Iraq continued to have a viable nuclear weapons program and that only half of it had been destroyed by the Gulf War. One of Hamza's critics, Iraqi nuclear scientist Imad Khadduri, maintains that Hamza had only been given the lead position in the Iraqi nuclear program for six months in 1987, but was soon dismissed for petty embezzlement. He left the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission in 1989, became a college lecturer and businessman, then went to Libya in 1994. Khadduri says that Hamza established links to the Iraqi National Congress of Ahmad Chalabi and began publishing articles in the British press on Iraq's alleged nuclear program in 1995. He alleges that the Times on Sunday sent documents provided by Hamza to the International Atomic Energy Commission, which declared them false, but that the newspaper published Hamza's pieces anyway. Coming to the United States, Hamza was picked up by Benador Associates, a public relations firm and speakers' bureau closely associated with neoconservatives and their causes, including support for the expansionist Likud Party in Israel.

Miller gave an interview with National Public Radio about her piece on Hamza, on Aug. 17, 1998, with Linda Wertheimer. Miller gushed, "In fact, Linda, I think what struck my colleague and I when we were listening to Dr. Hamza talk, was Saddam Hussein's determination at all costs to have a nuclear bomb." She reported that the Gulf War bombings of Iraq's nuclear sites only hit about half of them, according to Hamza. In fact, Iraq's nuclear facilities were found and ordered destroyed after the war by the United Nations inspectors, and they were extremely thorough, as inspector and former U.S. Marine Scott Ritter insisted. When Wertheimer asked if Hamza was credible, Miller said, "Yes. We were able to speak to people, intelligence officials, administration officials, nuclear experts, a great variety of people, all of whom found Dr. Hamza very credible."

In fact, the story that Hamza was telling was extremely controversial and was controverted by knowledgeable persons. Either Miller was lying when she reported unanimity in the judgment of Hamza's credibility, or she only talked to a handful of hawks. Wertheimer adds, "I gather that the CIA almost missed him. The story of his defection and his attempts to find a safe haven in the United States reads sort of like a cross between a thriller and a farce." The transcript reports "LAUGHTER." Of course, the reason that the CIA "almost missed him" was that he was a minor bit player who had not been involved in the Iraqi nuclear program at all since 1989 and had no new information aside from baldfaced lies. (In 2001 Scribner published Hamza's mendacious book, which described him as "Saddam's Bombmaker," and thereafter he became a constant presence on American television news, flacked by Benador, purveying his lurid and completely false tales of an Iraq near to having a nuclear bomb.

Already by 1998, Miller was reporting Iraqi National Congress propaganda, purveying an image of Iraq completely different from that she gave in 1993, when she admitted that the country's weapons of mass destruction programs had been dismantled. On Dec. 29, 1998, she commented to Diane Dimond of CNBC's "Upfront Tonight" about the Clinton administration's bombing of Iraq and the $100 million that the U.S. Congress had appropriated to support the Iraqi expatriates who were attempting to overthrow Saddam. She complained, "But I did notice that just before the bombing, Ahmed Chalabi, who was one of the leaders of the opposition, told me that he only had about four hours notice. The administration called him and said, 'Oh, by the way, we're going to start bombing in a few hours.' This doesn't leave the opposition with a lot of time to prepare a kind of internal action, if it has the ability to do that. And we're not sure if the Iraqi opposition could stage a coup or start a rebellion at this point. It may be a weak reed, but it's the only reed the administration has at the moment."

Miller was already talking to Chalabi, and was willing to act as a conduit for his grouses about not being kept in the loop by the Clinton administration. It was the start of a beautiful friendship. Leaked New York Times memos showed that Chalabi was Miller's principal source for stories she later did on Iraq's fabled and in fact nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. According to Foer, Miller also relied heavily on the neocons' intelligence-fixing outfit, the notorious Office of Special Plans headed by Douglas Feith. Almost all of its "intelligence" was completely bogus.

Miller was a consistent critic of Saddam's regime, but before 1998 she was capable of making nuanced judgments about the problem it posed for the United States. At some point after that, she apparently began to believe that she, with her prescient expertise about WMD and radical Islam, and her hawkish and neocon sources were right. This was when her fateful decline began. A minor scientist and sometime college teacher such as Khidhir Hamza became "the highest ranking scientist" to defect from Iraq. She relayed complaints from Gucci revolutionaries like Chalabi that they had been left out of the loop by the Clinton administration, and retailed Iraq National Congress tall tales to her unsuspecting audience. By the late 1990s, she had laid the ground for her subsequent path, of becoming stenographer to a motley crew of neoconservative hawks and Iraqi expatriate wheelers and dealers. The aluminum tubes story, in particular, which she co-wrote and which helped pave the way to war, will likely be taught in journalism classes for years as a textbook study of flawed reporting.

In the end, Miller's decline seems due more to professional ambition than ideological conviction - although her own beliefs clearly grew closer to the neocons'. "While Miller might not have intended to march in lockstep with these hawks, she was caught up in an almost irresistible cycle," Foer writes. "Because she kept printing the neocon party line, the neocons kept coming to her with huge stories and great quotes, constantly expanding her access."

In the end, it seems that Miller will go down in history not so much as a true believer as a useful idiot.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 17 Oct, 2005 12:33 pm
Miller Admits faking Hill Staffer Source to Protect Libby
Miller Admits Fabricating Hill Staffer Source to Protect Libby
By Ari Melber

Judy Miller just admitted her deliberately deceptive role in the White House smear campaign against Joe Wilson.

Her New York Times "personal account" explains that her articles usually referred to Libby as a "senior administration official," since it's the truth. But when Libby gave her information about Wilson, the truth wouldn't cut it.

So at Libby's request, she agreed to deliberately deceive her readers by describing him as a "former Hill staffer." The scheme was absurdly misleading, as Arianna explained. It helped Libby trash Wilson without implicating the White House. In Miller's words, "Mr. Libby did not want the White House to be seen as attacking Mr. Wilson."

This misleading sourcing violates the New York Times official guidelines, a key fact the Times article ignored. The newspaper requires reporters explain anonymous sourcing arrangements without being "coy," and "especially when we can shed light on the source's reasons" (emphasis added). Can you imagine how that might read?

"A former Hill staffer, who insisted on anonymity because he did not want attacks to be heard from the White House, where he currently works, said that Ambassador Wilson has credibility issues."

Of course, Miller's misleading sourcing was not just an office violation. It leveraged the credibility of the New York Times to advance the White House's smear campaign to anonymously trash Joe Wilson for exposing the Bush Administration's prewar lies.

In the same personal account, Miller bizarrely claims that after the CIA agent was outed, she asked her editor about writing an article "to pursue the possibility that the White House was unfairly attacking a critic of the administration." Miller does not say whether she told her editor she had proof that "possibility" was a fact. She does not say whether she admitted that she was a deliberate accomplice in Libby's scheme to hide that very White House attack. And she does not say whether she volunteered her notebooks with references to Wilson's wife from Libby (and supposedly one other forgotten source). So according to her story, Miller wanted to be part of the cover-up and the investigation. It just does not add up.

Maybe that's why Jill Abramson, the Times Washington Bureau Chief during that period, implied that Miller is simply lying. Abramson told the Times that Miller never made any recommendation about such an article. Judy Miller obviously has a lot more explaining to do to her editors. It's past time for the whole story, and they're not going to wait for her book.
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 09:50 am
Arianna Huffington Bio

Judy Miller's Reporting: A Cancer on the New York Times?
READ MORE: Judith Miller, Washington Post, New York Times, Investigations
Signs of trouble and Judy Miller were like Mary and her little lamb. Everywhere that Judy went, a flashing warning sign was sure to follow.

Indeed, in looking back on her career, it's clear that there were more red flags popping up around Judy Miller's work as a journalist than at a May Day parade in Red Square.

We now know that Miller's bosses were being warned about serious credibility problems with her reporting as far back as 2000 -- a warning that came from a Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague of Miller who was so disturbed by her journalistic methods he took the extraordinary step of writing a warning memo to his editors and then asked that his byline not appear on an article they had both worked on.

In today's WaPo, Howard Kurtz quotes from a December 2000 memo sent by Craig Pyes, a two time Pulitzer winner who had worked with Miller on a series of Times stories on al-Qaeda.

"I'm not willing to work further on this project with Judy Miller... 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."
It's the journalistic equivalent of Dean telling Nixon that Watergate was "a cancer on the presidency." But while the Times corrected the specific stories Pyes was concerned about, the paper, like Nixon, ignored the long-term diagnosis. And, of course, the very same issues Pyes raised in 2000 -- Miller's questionable judgment, her advocacy, her willingness to take dictation from government sources -- were the ones that reappeared in Miller's pre-war "reporting" on Saddam's WMD.

And Pyes wasn't the only one at the Times raising concerns about Miller's reporting. As Roger Cohen, who was foreign editor at the time of Miller's WMD reporting, put it in Sunday's article: "I told her there was unease, discomfort, unhappiness over some of the coverage." And as has been reported by New York Magazine's Franklin Foer, Cohen did not express his concerns only to Miller: "During the run-up to the war, investigations editor Doug Franz and foreign editor Roger Cohen went to managing editor Gerald Boyd on several occasions with concerns about Miller's over-reliance on Chalabi and his Pentagon champions... But Raines and Boyd continually reaffirmed management's faith in her by putting her stories on page 1." (So, as Eric Altermann points out, the neocons got their Manchurian Reporter.)

Franz and Cohen's visits (piled on top of the Pyes memo) are eerily reminiscent of the email Jon Landman sent regarding Jayson Blair, in which he wrote "We have to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now." Here it was a number of respected journalists all but pleading: "We have to stop Judy from reporting for the Times. Right now."

But, instead, Miller was allowed to keep doing pretty much whatever she pleased. In fact, as a journalistic insider told me: "Howell Raines was thrilled with Judy's WMD coverage, however credulous, because it allowed the Times to slough off the liberal label and present themselves as born again tough hawks -- perfect for the post-9/11 zeitgeist." That was Raines. What was Keller's excuse?

Because perhaps the most damning admission in the Times' quasi-self-examination was Keller's pathetic claim that, despite being removed from her WMD beat, Miller "kept kind of drifting on her own back into the national security realm." "Kept kind of drifting on her own"? When did the Times stop being edited?

So Miller was very questionable goods. And everyone knew it. Yet this is the person they chose to rally behind, body and soul. And reputation.

The Times is in the midst of severe cutbacks, laying off 200 workers earlier in the year, with another 500 to come. "The paper is cracking down on expenses to such an extent," a Times staffer told me, "all travel now has to be approved by an editor. Used to be, if a story broke, a national correspondent could just book a flight and go -- and not have to wait six hours to get the trip approved. Now you need to have the agreement of an editor saying, 'Yes, this story is worth spending the money on, go'. That's a very big change for the New York Times. Yet the paper's management chose to spend millions of dollars in legal fees defending Judy Miller."

It's an utter disgrace, and an integral part of the paper's disastrous WMD coverage, which is without a doubt the blackest mark in the paper's long history.

And yet, even after all that we've learned, the Judy-ites continue to defend her.

"Judy has always been a pioneer and an agent of change." That was Tom Friedman on CNN. Yesterday. Hadn't he read his paper's story and Judy's laughable companion piece? Or maybe by "agent of change" he meant someone who has changed the culture of integrity at the Times to its polar opposite.

Tom Friedman -- and anyone else still hanging out at Camp Judy (I notice we haven't heard from Lou Dobbs or Tom Brokaw since the Judy-culpa came out) -- really need to update their talking points. Maybe they can all chip in and get a group rate on a good rewrite man. I suggest looking for a writer with a background in novels -- because trying to present Judy as anything even remotely resembling a journalist will now require someone very adept at crafting fiction.
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 10:17 am
too bad the leak thread was locked. still, lots of good reading in there.

I didn't like the NYT/Miller then.

The New York Times should answer some questions. For example, have they contacted Miller's source[s] and asked for an explicit waiver of confidentiality -- and been denied? If so, would that not appropriately put the pressure back on the White House, where it belongs? Does the Times want her sources to come forward?


I'm still thinkin' the Times/Miller thing is hinky.
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 12:17 pm
New York Daily News source believes senior White House official has flipped in leak case

RAW STORY | October 18 2005

The case of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame is set to explode.

The New York Daily News is set to report in Tuesday editions that a well-placed source interviewed by the newspaper believes a senior White House official has flipped and may be helping the prosecutor in the case, RAW STORY has learned.

The Daily News will reveal that a top source believes that based on the questioning of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his other contacts with the investigation, someone in the White House has turned.

All eyes are on Dick Cheney, the News says, as the investigation wraps up.

The piece follows on the heels of on a story by Bloomberg News and an article by RAW STORY last week confirming that the prosecutor is probing the Vice President.

Also under a microscope is the White House Iraq Group, an ad-hoc strategy group started by Bush chief of staff Andrew Card aimed at selling the war in Iraq.

Two officials close to Fitzgerald told RAW STORY they have seen documents obtained from the White House Iraq Group which state that Cheney was present at several of the group's meetings. They say Cheney personally discussed with individuals in attendance at least two interviews in May and June of 2003 Wilson gave to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, in which he claimed the administration "twisted" prewar intelligence and what the response from the administration should be.

DEVELOPING HARD... http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/356858p-304125c.html
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 04:53 pm
Pro- and Anti-Judy Miller Fallout Grips 'New York Times' New
Finally, the serious discussion about the integrity corruption at the Times is breaking through it's fractured shield. Long over due. Can it repair its reputation? ---BBB

Pro- and Anti-Judy Miller Fallout Grips 'New York Times' Newsroom
By Joe Strupp
Published: October 18, 2005
Editors and Publishers

The New York Times may have hoped to turn the page with Sunday's lengthy article on reporter Judy Miller's entanglement in the CIA leak investigation, but the paper and its star reporter continue to be the focus of media attention. On Tuesday, the Times newsroom was still buzzing about what will happen next.

Inside the paper, some reporters say Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. will take the blame for leading the paper's defense of Miller. Still others point to Executive Editor Bill Keller, who admitted Sunday that he would have done things differently in the Times' handling of the case.

Officially, the Times remains mum about Miller's future -- she is currently taking some time off -- and also has not addressed the nagging question about what kind of security clearance she enjoyed as an embed in Iraq, a revelation she put forth in her first-person report on Sunday but did not fully explain.

But for those working at the paper, the fallout and unknown future seem to create more of a stir each day, and less certainty about what is really going on.

"Everybody's buzzing about it," said one staffer, who requested anonymity. "It shows how Arthur [Sulzberger] really gave the wheel to her, gave control to one person, and that is devastating."

Newsroom employees said speculation is mounting that either Sulzberger or Keller might become the fall guy. But many admit it may depend on the next move by Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is leading the Plame investigation. If he chooses to indict anyone, especially a White House aide, it could shift attention away from the newspaper.

"We have learned that the executive editor of The New York Times can lose his job," one Times reporter said, referring to former executive editor Howell Raines, who was fired after the Jayson Blair scandal two years ago. "But it seems the publisher is in more trouble. We know that Arthur was driving the editorials, and we were constrained from writing anything."

Another longtime staffer agreed, noting, "The big issue is Sulzberger. He is the one who turned the paper over to Miller and he is left holding the bag."

Keller and Sulzberger have not returned calls this week from E&P seeking comment. Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins, whose section published numerous editorials supporting Miller in recent months, also could not be reached.

As opposed to the Blair scandal, which exposed the former Times reporter's ability to make up facts, lie about his reporting, and plagiarize, some staffers contend that the Miller story could have a greater impact.

"It's sort of 'strike two,'" one reporter said. "This is deeply institutional, so in a way it is worse [than Blair] and the implications of it are worse, for the press and the paper, that we are capable of suppressing reporting of an important story." The staffer added that any plans for Miller to return to the paper would be "hard for me to imagine."

One staffer noted that when it comes down to how many supporters and the number of detractors Miller has in the Times newsroom, "The critical camp is larger than the supportive camp."

Another employee offered a more positive response, saying the Miller report had drawn mixed reactions in the newsroom. But the staffer did not believe it delivered the knockout punch that others had described. "Defenders of Judy think it played out in an acceptable way, and her opponents and critics think it is a disaster," the person said of the Sunday report.

The same staffer sought to play down any negative impact on the Times: "It's hard to say that bad decisions were made. I think the intentions were good. Now that we are freed from constraints, I think the coverage can proceed unimpeded. There is a feeling that the paper acquitted itself pretty well in running the story. It stopped and dealt with some hard issues."

But not everyone is so positive. One newsroom veteran said staffers remained "baffled" that Miller was allowed to dictate what actions she would take and what information she would give. "People are just amazed that Judy didn't cooperate with them and that she has been able to run amok to this day," the staffer said. "No one blames the reporters who did the [Sunday] story, they blame her, and, possibly, management for not forcing her to come to the table. There is a sense that this is not over."

Managing Editor Jill Abramson declined to comment on the Sunday report, as did Managing Editor John Geddes. When asked if the paper would increase or reduce its Miller-related coverage following the report, Geddes said only, "We're going to cover events as they unfold."

When asked about Miller's assertion that she had gotten special security clearance as an embed, Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis did not respond. Mathis addressed complaints that Miler had not been cooperative with reporters on the story by saying, "Judy limited her discussion but she did speak to reporters on two separate occasions and wrote the article that appeared in Sunday's paper."

Mathis also did not say whether Miller was on paid or unpaid leave or when she might return, or in what capacity. "Judy is taking some time off," was the Times' official explanation.

Howell Raines, who was contacted by E&P via e-mail at his home in Pennsylvania, declined to comment on the Miller situation. But former managing editor Gerald Boyd, who also lost his job as a result of the Blair scandal, said the Miller case and the paper's Sunday report highlight the need for newspapers to tell as much to readers as possible. "It underscores the importance of transparency when dealing with readers," Boyd said. "Telling them everything you can as soon as you can."

Boyd declined to comment specifically on the Times reporting of Miller, noting, "I don't know the ins and outs of what went on." But he stressed that the criticism the Times has received shows "the need for editors to level with the audience and their readers. That kind of openness is really essential."
Joe Strupp ([email protected]) is a senior editor at E&P.

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0 Replies
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 05:21 pm
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 05:25 pm
My 3 Hours Hiking Among Clustered Aspens With Judy Miller
My Three Hours Hiking Among the Clustered Aspens With Judy Miller
By Arianna Huffington

I now understand how you can suddenly "discover" important documents you had completely forgotten even existed. It happened to me late last night as I was working in the newsroom of the Los Angeles bureau of the Huffington Post. There, in my desk, I found a photograph of Judy Miller and me hiking in Aspen.

Behind us are the famous aspen trees. Surrounding us are other sources -- I mean, hikers -- whose names I cannot, for the life of me, recall.

And then it all -- except for those darn names -- came back to me.

It was Sept. 2002, and we were attending the Forstmann Little conference in Aspen. Just before heading out on our hike, we had heard a speech over lunch by Karl Rove, fresh off the creation of the White House Iraq Group, that eight-member unit designed to "market" the war against Saddam. Rove assured the crowd of movers-and-shakers that, if America decided to invade Iraq (he was still playing the "we're not sure" game -- though barely), we would be greeted as liberators. I cannot recall if he mentioned that flowers would be strewn at our feet. But I do remember that he sang the praises of Rummy's "new Army" that would be able to win wars with hardly any casualties. Madison Avenue couldn't have launched a product with any more hype -- or a more accomplished pitchman.

The warm afterglow that Rove had engendered with images of conquering, unscathed armies and destroyed WMD was matched by the balmy, though thin, Aspen air. I particularly recall how flushed and happy Judy was. Not from the hike, mind you, but from her excitement over the Rovian fantasy we had just heard. The thought of Iraq being liberated, casualty-free, and all those aluminum tubes she had just written about on the front page of the New York Times taken out of the hands of Saddam, left her positively giddy. (I'm not sure you can tell from the picture, but that's not a bottle of water she's holding -- it's White House Kool-Aid).

So there we were, out west, in September. Which is right around the time certain tree aficionados believe the aspen trees start turning. In clusters. Because their roots connect them. The Aspen aspens towering over us in the photo, however, clearly hadn't turned. Maybe they hadn't gotten the heavy-handed metaphor memo yet.

Pity I can't recall the other hikers. When grilled about this memory lapse by HuffPost staffers for a second time this morning, I told them, in answer, that at one point during the hike, the woman in the Fortsmann Little cap and dark sunglasses had approached Judy and asked how the Aspen conference had gone. Miller appeared to have no idea who the woman was.

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

Make of that what you will.
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Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2005 05:33 pm
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:37 am
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 09:05 am
(Today's WaPo)

If so, they should be punished. Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald may have evidence that they did; there is a still a great deal that is not publicly known. But so far, in the accounts given by reporters about their conversations with administration officials, no such crime has been described. What has been depicted is an administration effort to refute the allegations of a critic (some of which did in fact prove to be untrue) and to undermine his credibility, including by suggesting that nepotism rather than qualifications led to his selection. If such conversations are deemed a crime, journalism and the public will be the losers.



A recurring thought to me is that the Left will go absolutely nuts if this grand jury adjourns with no indictments.

By the way, I'm not at all sure that the October 28 date (the end of the grand jury term) is a hard and fast deadline. If Fitzgerald has any evidence and needs more time, I'd think he could just convene another.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 10:24 am
Keller Should Fire Miller--and Apologize to Readers
After 'NY Times' Probe: Keller Should Fire Miller--and Apologize to Readers
By Greg Mitchell
October 15, 2005

As the devastating Times article, and her own first-person account, make clear, Miller should be promptly dismissed for crimes against journalism --and her own paper. And her editor, who has not taken responsibility, should apologize to readers.

It's not enough that Judith Miller, we learned Saturday, is taking some time off and "hopes" to return to the New York Times newsroom. 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.

Let's put aside for the moment Miller's exhibiting the same selective memory favored by her former friends and sources in the White House, in claiming that for the life of her she cannot recall how the name of "Valerie Flame" got into the reporter's notebook she took to her interview with Libby; or how she learned about the CIA operative from other sources (whom she can't name or even recall when it happened).

Bad enough, but let's stick to the journalism issues. 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 other 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."

Longtime Times reporter Todd Purdum testifies that many on the staff were "troubled and puzzled by Judy's seeming ability to operate outside of conventional reportorial channels and managerial controls."

At another point, Keller reveals that he ordered Miller off WMD coverage after he became editor (surely, a no-brainer), but he admits "she kept kind of drifting on her own back into the national security realm." Does he anywhere take responsibility for this, or anything else? Not that I can see.

Keller should also apologize to 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.

But back to Judy, who tells us that she wishes she (and not Robert Novak) had the honor of outing Valerie Plame. Okay, to each her own, but what about apparently lying to her own editors?

--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, Washington bureau chief, asked Miller whether she was among the six. Miller, of course, denied it.

--Miller claims that, contrary to any available evidence, she really did want to write an article about Wilson, but was told "no" by an editor, whom she would not identify -- perhaps she did not get a personal waiver. Jill Abramson, then her chief editor, says Miller never made any such request.

But equally damning, from her own first-person account: Revealing her working methods, perhaps too clearly, Miller writes that at her second meeting with Libby on this matter, on July 8, 2003, he asked her to modify their prior understanding that she would attribute information from him to an unnamed "senior administration official." Now, in talking about Joseph Wilson (and his wife), he requested that he be identified only as a "former Hill staffer." This was obviously to deflect attention from the Cheney office's effort to hurt Wilson.

Surely Judy wouldn't go along with this? Alas, Miller admits, "I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill."

There's more, much more, including this gem: She calls Scooter Libby, who helped take the country to war based on false evidence -- with a big assist from Judy Miller and her paper -- "a good-faith source who was usually straight with me."

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.

Perhaps most revealing of all of Keller's quotes in today's story comes when he says that he wishes the paper's principled stand had involved a reporter "who came with less public baggage." In other words, only the public had a problem with her, not Keller. Her WMD reporting, the hatred she inspired in his newsroom, and her unwillingness to be kept under his control, didn't amount to any "baggage," in his eyes.

Saddest of all, Sulzberger tells his reporters today that he let Miller run this entire show "because she was the one at risk." He apparently doesn't realize that the newspaper he runs was at far greater risk, and will suffer much longer than she did. "This car had her hand on the wheel," Sulzberger says. And she drove it right off the cliff.

Asked by Times reporters what she regretted about the paper's handling of the Miller affair, Jill Abramson, now the managing editor, replied: "The entire thing." Who is responsible? And how will they make amends?
Greg Mitchell ([email protected]) is editor of E&P and author of seven books on politics and history. His column is a finalist for an Online Journalism Award in commentary.

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0 Replies
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 06:24 pm
Treasongate: Valerie Flame
Wednesday :: Oct 19, 2005
The Left Coaster
Treasongate: Valerie Flame

You all remember Judith Miller's famous "Valerie Flame" notation in her notebook and her deliberate obfuscation about not knowing the source for that name. Now, regardless of the source who gave her that name, Miller either made a mistake writing down Plame's name or received this information from a source who got Valerie Plame's name wrong. Until now, I was inclined to believe that the former was the case. Now, I've changed my mind.

The alert AspTrader at Daily Kos noticed something (bold text is my emphasis):

Novak used the name "Valerie Flame" in an article appearing in a Human Events article in October 2003.

How big a secret was it? It was well known around Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Republican activist Clifford May wrote Monday, in National Review Online, that he had been told of her identity by a non-government source before my column appeared and that it was common knowledge. Her name, Valerie Flame, was no secret either, appearing in Wilson's Who's Who in America entry.

That was of course the same Novak article where he changed his story about the Valerie Plame expose after having heard about the Justice Department investigation. As leckavrea says in comments to the above post:

There was certainly something odd going on with the "Valerie Flame" mispelling. First it appears in the notebook used for notes by Miller of her June 2003 meeting with Libby. Novak's first article in July 2004 [Eriposte: actually 2003] spells the name correctly. After the leak investigation was announced, Novak did a follow-up article on the The CIA leak -- the original version with a date of October 1, 2003 correctly shows the name as Valerie Plame. However, the October 6, 2003 version of the same article in Human Events shows the name as Valerie Flame. The latter appears under the title It was not a planned leak but the only difference between it and the one published five days earlier is (1) Plame replaced with Flame, and (2) "(D.-N.Y.)" has been appended to Charles Schumer's name. So what source was the overzealous proofreader using? They obviously thought that source more reliable than Novak's own two earlier articles.

Of course, one should certainly wish Novak good luck in finding "Valerie Flame" in Who's Who. Emptywheel says:

I think it very likely Judy was involved in the cover-up conspiracy, along with Rove, Libby, and Novak. So the Flame thing might be part of the cover-up (it's about the only alteration of Judy's notes she could hide).

Second, you have just discovered what Carville was gong to say on CNN before he stormed off. They had a copy of Who's Who on the desk. I'm sure they were going to turn to it and show that it said Plame, not Flame. Also showing that Novak's October article was shite. Also showing it was part of a cover-up.

Which, if I'm right, suggests Fitz may know the Flame reference is part of the cover-up.

As for Judy being originally part of the cover-up, I think the data strongly indicates that was the case. As Emptywheel explains further at The Next Hurrah (bold text is my emphasis):

As I noted in my first thoughts on the NYT/Judy document dump this weeked, Judy's response when Taubman asked if she were one of the six writers involved in the leak was no simple lie:

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.

"The answer was generally no," Mr. Taubman said. Ms. Miller said the subject of Mr. Wilson and his wife had come up in casual conversation with government officials, Mr. Taubman said, but Ms. Miller said "she had not been at the receiving end of a concerted effort, a deliberate organized effort to put out information.

That is, this lie is not an invention Judy made up all by herself. Compare Judy's Fall 2003 statement with the claim Novak makes in his 2003 column.

First, I did not receive a planned leak.


The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue.

Judy and Novak--responding to the same article--provide almost the exactly same excuse. The leak was not planned, not deliberate. They weren't pawns.

Now, Murray Waas has reporte[d] investigators are looking closely at this story, as evidence of a cover-up.

Federal investigators have been skeptical of Novak's assertions that he referred to Plame as a CIA "operative" due to his own error, instead of having been explicitly told that was the case by his sources, according to attorneys familiar with the criminal probe.

Also of interest to investigators have been a series of telephone contacts between Novak and Rove, and other White House officials, in the days just after press reports first disclosed the existence of a federal criminal investigation as to who leaked Plame's identity. Investigators have been concerned that Novak and his sources might have conceived or co-ordinated a cover story to disguise the nature of their conversations.

The investigators have some evidence that Novak's story was the product of collaboration between Novak, Rove, and (presumably) Libby, part of an effort to tell a consistent story that exonerates everyone. Novak's story, then, is a product of the cover-up. And Judy Miller is telling a very similar story at precisely the same time.

By all accounts, Judy has long been playing a dangerous game with the FBI and Justice Department, on this case. I've documented her deceptions and slithery behavior elsewhere. That said, the commonality between Novak's and Miller's fake denials (how could they possibly have known that the leak wasn't "planned" or "concerted", especially when it was?) and the appearance of the name "Valerie Flame" associated with both of their writings (article in the case of Novak and notes in the case of Judith Miller) provides some indication that the use of "Flame" may have been more than a careless spelling error.
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Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2005 09:03 pm
This discussion is starting to resemble a filibuster.

For what it's worth, assuming original comment is OK in this thread, I agree that Miller should be fired.
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Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2005 03:22 pm
Miller Clarifies So-Called Secret Information Clearance
Judith Miller Clarifies So-Called 'Secret Information' Clearance
By Jennifer Saba
Published: October 20, 2005 1:31 PM ET
Editors and Publishers

In a story in Thursday's New York Times, reporter Katharine Q. Seelye attempts to clarify fellow Times reporter Judith Miller's earlier remarks regarding special clearance status she received while embedded in Iraq.

In Miller's original account of her four hour testimony in front of a federal grand jury that ran in Sunday's paper, she reports that the Pentagon had given her "clearance to see secret information" when she was "embedded with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons."

That statement had been the subject of speculation for the last several days, including among other military reporters who had access to sensitive information.

After a telephone interview with Miller Wednesday, Seelye wrote that what the reporter "had meant to say in her published account was that she had had temporary access to classified information under rules set by her unit," conditions similar to what other embedded reporters faced.

"Ms. Miller said that under the conditions set by the commander of the unit, Col. Richard R. McPhee, she had been allowed to discuss her most secret reporting with only the senior-most editors of The Times, who at the time were Howell Raines, the executive editor, and Gerald M. Boyd, the managing editor.

"When asked if she had ever left the impression with sources, including [Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis] Libby, that she had access to classified information after leaving her assignment in Iraq, Ms. Miller said she could not recall. 'I don't remember if I ever told him I was disembedded,' she said. 'I might not have.' But she added, 'I never misled anybody.'"

Reached earlier this week, several military reporters said they were baffled by what Miller described as her "clearance to see secret information."

Reporters covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are normally bound by ground rules that prevent them from revealing details such as troop movements, for example. Joe Galloway, a senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers, said it's "unheard of" for a reporter to gain security clearance for secret or top secret information.

Full security clearances, explained Galloway, require months of background checks. "When you hold a security clearance there are all kinds of briefings you have to attend on how to handle classified documents and how they are transported," he said.

As far as Galloway's aware, government workers are the only ones who would receive a special clearance. He was granted top security clearance when, for a brief period, he served as a special consultant to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Still, some reporters covering wars are granted access to areas that otherwise would be considered off-limits. However, usually in those situations, an agreement is hammered out typically beyond the basic embed ground rules. Though they may receive special passes, these passes are not considered full security clearance.

David Wood, who has covered national security for Newhouse News Service since 1984, received special access to the main command center when he was covering the war in Afghanistan. Wood, the public affairs officer, and the commanding general came up with an agreement that limited where Wood could go -- he had no access to the intelligence office within the center. He was also required to run his copy by the military.

"It specified what they could object to and what they couldn't," he said. "It was obvious stuff.

"The agreement worked extremely well," Wood said, adding that a disclaimer explaining that his copy had been passed through military censors ran under his byline.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, the Army public affairs officer that worked with Wood, said the kind of access Wood had was not considered "special clearance." "We wanted him to come in so we cleared it with the [the army] and the Department of Defense, just so we knew he wasn't a commie," he said, adding that he has never hear of a reporter having special clearance.

Like Wood, Peter Baker, who was an embed in Iraq for The Washington Post and now covers the White House, was granted access to an operations center during the Iraq war. "It was where they were really running the war with real-time satellite imagery and computers showing every unit -- it was a lot of sensitive stuff."

Baker (and the three other reporters embedded with him) struck a deal that gave them access virtually 24 hours a day; he too had to run his copy by military censors. "I was very leery of this," he said. "The Marine officers lived up to the spirit of the agreement. They never objected to anything we sent out except for small occasions like 'please don't include this code name for this unit.'"

Baker said his pass was not a security clearance but rather a situational deal.
Jennifer Saba ([email protected]) is associate editor of E&P.

Links referenced within this article

Miller's original account
Seelye wrote
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