Judith Miller

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Judith Miller, who resigned her 28-year career with the New York Times on November 9, 2005, after two weeks of negotiations,[1] "has taken a job with the friends of 'greater economic choice and individual responsibility'" at the right-wing think tank Manhattan Institute, New York Magazine reported September 6, 2007.[2] Miller is an "adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute" and a contributing editor of its online publication, City Journal.[3]

Miller played a key role in promoting both U.S. wars against Iraq.

In 2004 it was revealed that she was one of the reporters informed by a White House official that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent.

Miller and the Outing of Valerie Plame

In August 2004, Miller was subpoenaed by a Washington grand jury, headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who was investigating the leaking to Robert Novak and other journalists that Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was an undercover CIA officer. [1] Miller was researching a story on Plame but in the end did not write a story on her role as a CIA agent.

An Earlier Encounter Miller and Fitzgerald

On April 6, 2004, Josh Marshall reported how U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago "had quite aggressively investigated another Bush White House leak in late 2001 and early 2002. Fitzgerald had been investigating three Islamic charities accused of supporting terrorism -- the Holy Land Foundation, the Global Relief Foundation, and the Benevolence International Foundation. But just before his investigators could swoop in with warrants [on December 14, 2001], two of the charities in question got wind of what was coming and, apparently, were able to destroy a good deal of evidence.

"What tipped them off were calls from two reporters at the New York Times who'd been leaked information about the investigation by folks at the White House. One of those two reporters was Judy Miller," he wrote. The other was New York Times reporter Philip Shenon. [2]

Marshall's point in April 2004 wasn't that "the White House did something else wrong," in fact, he wrote, he was "told that in this case the White House really hadn't done anything improper at all." However, "Fitzgerald was pissed and apparently went after them very aggressively -- and this for a case in which," he was told, "there really wasn't much to go after," which "might be something to keep in mind when figuring how the Plame investigation might play out." [3]

Miller The Martyr

In October 2004, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan found Miller in contempt for refusing to provide evidence to a grand jury on who leaked the name of Valerie Plame to the Robert Novak last year. Hogan sentenced Miller to 18 months imprisonment but she remained free until an appeal was heard. Her appeal to the Supreme Court was unsuccessful.

In July 2005, after Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper agreed to testify about his sources, Miller was jailed for the duration of the grand jury investigation. [4]

While major journalism groups held Miller up as a defender of the right of journalists to protect their sources, others viewed her actions more sceptically. "Sources tell me," Arianna Huffington wrote October 3, 2005, "that Judy Miller is telling friends that she has made a $1.2 million book deal with Simon & Schuster. I’ve heard from senior editors at the publishing house that the deal is still so hush-hush that word of it has not appeared in the memos that circulate among the editorial staff, keeping them updated on pending deals and acquisitions."

"What would Miller’s angle be?," Huffington asked: "'I helped the bad guys sell a bogus war that led to tens of thousands of deaths, then went to jail to protect my neocon pals?'"

After serving 85 days in federal detention, Miller said that she had clearance from her source to disclose their identity - I. Lewis Scooter Libby - and the details of their July 2003 conversations. Her testimony once again threw a "damaging spotlight" on the White House, "whose credibility has been undermined" in the criminal probe into the leak which outed Plame, the Associated Press reported.

After offering to testify, a federal judge in the CIA leak investigation lifted a contempt order against Miller, "clearing the way for the newspaper to fulfill its promise to publish a full account of Miller's conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. In grand jury testimony, Miller has detailed three contacts she had with I. Lewis Libby in June and July 2003 about former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, covert CIA officer Valerie Plame," Associated Press writer Pete Yost reported October 13, 2005.

"The outcome could shake up the Bush White House, already reeling from criticism over its response to Hurricane Katrina" and the indictments of House Republican leader Tom DeLay. "The leak investigation has ensnarled Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, as well as Libby. The White House had long maintained that they had nothing to do with the leak." [5]

Miller Testifies

Miller testified before a grand jury on Friday, September 30, 2005, agreeing "to break her silence ... after receiving what she described as a voluntary and personal waiver of confidentiality from her source," who was identified as Libby. [6]

Joseph A. Tate, the attorney for Libby, "escalated the sharp dispute over exactly when Libby freed Miller to be questioned by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald."

Tate said October 3, 2005, "that New York Times reporter Judith Miller and her attorneys are responsible for Miller's 85 days in jail, reiterating that she was given permission a year ago to tell a prosecutor about private conversations she had with Libby," R. Jeffrey Smith reported in the Washington Post.

Miller "Discovered" 2003 Notes with Libby

Miller said she discovered notes about a June 2003 conversation she had with Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, "after her testimony before the grand jury last week," sources said October 7, 2005.

"Miller turned the [redacted] notes over to federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and [was] expected to meet him again" October 11th. "Miller's notes could help Fitzgerald establish that Libby had started talking to reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, weeks before Wilson publicly criticized the administration's Iraq policy in a [July 6, 2003,] Times opinion piece ...

"One source involved in the investigation said Miller's notes could help Fitzgerald show a long-running and orchestrated campaign to discredit Wilson, which could help form the basis for a conspiracy charge." [7]

Subsequently, the New York Times published three stories about Miller's testimony to the grand jury. The stories include Miller's first-person recounting of what she told the grand jury, a chronology of the Miller case, and an analysis suggesting that Libby, an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, may still be a focus of the criminal investigation.

Miller's own account of her testimony contains some notable ambiguities, such as her inability to remember how a misspelled mention of Plame's name wound up in her notebook from an interview with Libby.

And in an independent critique, Norman Solomon points out some disturbing details in Miller's account, such as her admission that she was given "clearance" by the Pentagon "to see secret information" which she "was not permitted to discuss" with her own editors. [8]

"There’s nothing wrong with this picture if Judith Miller is an intelligence operative for the U.S. government," Solomon states. "But if she’s supposed to be a journalist, this is a preposterous situation -- and the fact that The New York Times has tolerated it tells us a lot about that newspaper." [9]

"New" Strange Tale of Miller & the Military

Miller "acted as a 'middleman' between an American military unit and the Iraqi National Congress while she was embedded with the U.S. armed forces searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in April 2003, and 'took custody' of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, one of 55 most wanted Iraqis," The Raw Story reported October 18, 2005.

Miller also "sat in on the initial debriefing of Jamal Sultan Tikriti, according to a June 25, 2003 article published in the Washington Post.

"The Post article sheds some light on her unusual arrangement in obtaining a special security clearance from the Department of Defense which is now the subject of a Democratic congressional inquiry. On Monday, [October 17, 2005,] Reps. John Conyers and Ira Skelton, the ranking Democrats on the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees sent Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a letter demanding an explanation to Miller’s top secret security clearance, which Rumsfeld reportedly personally authorized."

The Raw Story said that the "Post article (see below) raises an important question about her role in the outing of a covert CIA agent: was Miller, whose flawed reporting on the existence of WMD’s was scrutinized in mainstream newspapers, truly meeting with Libby in the hopes of pursuing a hot story or was she trying to get information out of him that would help restore her credibility and cover up her errors?"

Miller and the Gulf Wars

During the first U.S.-led war in the Persian Gulf, Miller co-wrote a book with Laurie Mylroie, titled Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf.

Miller and Mylroie have both been clients of Eleana Benador, whose PR firm has represented many leading pro-war figures that have appeared prominently on television and in other public venues. She has also worked closely and uncritically with Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, in developing her reports on Iraq. In a May 2003 e-mail message, Miller stated that Chalabi "has provided most of the front page exclusives on [alleged] Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to our paper."

Miller played an important role in promoting the presidential team's agenda on Iraq. Indeed, she wrote the first article, entitled «Threats and Responses : The Iraqis ; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts», on Saddam Hussein's WMD programme, mentioning "aluminium tubes" which could be used for nuclear weapons. That was on September 7, less than two weeks after Vice-President Dick Cheney delivered the first speech in which he presented Iraq as Washington's next target. It is therefore possible to think that she played a role in the public relations campaign that was led by the Bush administration on Iraq, directed by Andrew H. Card, Jr..

In June 2003, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz noted that "Miller played a highly unusual role in an Army unit assigned to search for dangerous Iraqi weapons, according to U.S. military officials, prompting criticism that the unit was turned into what one official called a 'rogue operation.' More than a half-dozen military officers said that Miller acted as a middleman between the Army unit with which she was embedded and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, on one occasion accompanying Army officers to Chalabi's headquarters, where they took custody of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law. She also sat in on the initial debriefing of the son-in-law, these sources say. Since interrogating Iraqis was not the mission of the unit, these officials said, it became a 'Judith Miller team,' in the words of one officer close to the situation." [10]

The links of Judith Miller with the Pentagon are not new. In 1986, she wrote numerous articles on Libya, thus contributing to a massive disinformation campaign on Khadafi which was coordinated by Admiral John Poindexter. Bob Woodward has written a major article in the Washington Post on this strategy.


Also see


  1. Katharine Q. Seelye, "Times and Reporter Reach Agreement on Her Departure," New York Times, November 9, 2005.
  2. Geoffrey Gray, "Judith Miller Finally Lands in the ‘Right’ Place," New York Magazine, September 6, 2007.
  3. "Judith Miller", Manhattan Institute, accessed October 2008.

External links




2007: Trial of Scooter Libby