Judy Miller finally released her account today of her ordeal surrounding the
Valerie Plame leak (full New York Times article
have not read the entire article in full, but have read an interesting diagnosis
into it done by
Editor and Publisher magazine.
For the first time this clearly, Miller, in today’s article, admits, “WMD–I
got it totally wrong,” but then goes on to say that “all” of the other
journalists, and experts and analysts, also were wrong. “I did the best job
I could,” she said.
The article reveals, also for the first time, that Keller took her off
Iraq and weapons issues after he became editor in July 2003. Nevertheless,
he admits, that “she kept drifting on her own back into the national
security realm,” making one wonder who was in charge of her.
Reading that line there got me thinking about an article that appeared in
The Nation a couple
years ago. The article was comparing Judith Miller to Jayson Blaire, the
reporter who ultimately lost his job for plagiarism and not backing up his work.
Who’s the exact opposite of Jayson Blair, the New York Times reporter
accused of inventing sources and quotes, plagiarizing and other sins? Well,
how about Judith Miller? Where Blair is young and black and inexperienced, a
rookie journalist whose job was largely to interview ordinary people, Miller
is middle-aged and white and a veteran Times star whose job it is to
interact with the best and the brightest in science, academia and
But Blair and Miller have more in common than you might think. Both are
in trouble for giving readers dubious information. While Miller’s alleged
improprieties are of a more subtle nature, and she comes into this rough
patch with an estimable reputation built over the course of a long and
distinguished career, her case reveals a great deal about the state of
today’s news media. What Miller did, and the fact that her brand of
journalism is encouraged and rewarded by the powers that be, is precisely
the kind of topic that the Times’s leadership ought to air during its
current semipublic glasnost phase. In Blair’s case, the only serious damage
has been to the paper’s image. Miller, on the other hand, risks playing with
the kind of fire that starts or justifies wars, gets people killed and plays
into the hands of government officials with partisan axes to grind.
Every morning, almost every other source of news looks to see what the
Times does, then follows its lead. On the morning of April 21, in a
front-page story from Iraq, Miller suggested that the main reason US forces
had failed to find the much-ballyhooed Weapons of Mass Destruction–the
ostensible primary reason for the invasion–was that they had been recently
destroyed or existed only as precursors with dual, civilian uses. Her
source? A man standing off in the distance wearing a baseball cap, who
military sources told her was an Iraqi scientist who had told them those
things. In the same piece, she floated unsupported claims alleging that Iraq
had provided WMD aid to Syria and Al Qaeda. In so doing, she put the Times’s
imprimatur on a highly questionable formulation that was also essential to
White House political interests.
Full article here.
Raw Story released an interesting article this past week looking into
Cheney’s possible involvement into the leak. The article talked about how Judith
Miller played the role of media liaison for the White House Iraq Group. Turns
out she was the person they would leak information to in order to drum up
support for toppling Saddam.
The group relied heavily on New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who,
after meeting with several of the organizationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s members in August 2002,
wrote an explosive story that many critics of the war believe laid the
groundwork for military action against Iraq.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002, Miller wrote a story for the Times quoting
anonymous officials who said aluminum tubes found in Iraq were to be used as
centrifuges. Her report said the “diameter, thickness and other technical
specifications” of the tubes — precisely the grounds for skepticism among
nuclear enrichment experts — showed that they were “intended as components
She closed her piece by quoting then-National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice who said the United States would not sit by and wait to
find a smoking gun to prove its case, possibly in the form of a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œa mushroom
cloud.” After MillerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s piece was published, administration officials pursued
their case on Sunday talk shows using MillerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s piece as evidence that Iraq
was pursuing a nuclear bomb, even though those officials were the ones who
supplied Miller with the story and were quoted anonymously.
Rice’s comments on CNNÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œLate EditionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â reaffirmed MillerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s story. Rice
said that Saddam Hussein was “actively pursuing a nuclear weapon” and that
the tubes — described repeatedly in U.S. intelligence reports as “dual-use”
items — were “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge
Cheney, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” also mentioned the aluminum tubes
story in the Times and said “increasingly, we believe the United States will
become the target” of an Iraqi atomic bomb. Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld, on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” asked viewers to “imagine a September
11th with weapons of mass destruction.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
It seems more and more that Judith Miller was not an actual reporter, but
rather a propaganda outlet for the White House. Once things cool down with the
leak investigation, it would not be shocking to see her no longer employed at
the New York Times as her credibility is not shot. Truly she must of spent her
time in jail to protect herself and not her source. She wanted to appear as a
journalist of integrity and honor and not as a hack to the administration. Well
the cat is out of the bag now and we see Judith Miller’s true colors.