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Entire Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html?hp&ex=1129521600&en=065c1755f37dffde&ei=5094&partner=homepage

The Miller Case: From a Name on a Pad to Jail, and Back

Published: October 16, 2005

In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: "Valerie Flame."

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

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

And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how "Valerie Flame" appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard it from him. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall," she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interviews show that the paper's leadership, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control.

"This car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk," Mr. Sulzberger said.

Once Ms. Miller was jailed, her lawyers were in open conflict about whether she should stay there. She had refused to reopen communications with Mr. Libby for a year, saying she did not want to pressure a source into waiving his confidentiality. But in the end, saying "I owed it to myself" after two months of jail, she had her lawyer reach out to Mr. Libby. This time, hearing directly from her source, she accepted his permission and was set free.
"We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for," Ms. Miller said in the interview Friday.

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

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

A Divisive Newsroom Figure

In the spring of 2003, Ms. Miller returned from covering the war in Iraq, where she had been embedded with an American military team searching unsuccessfully for evidence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Back in the States, another battle was brewing.

Ms. Miller had written a string of articles before the war - often based on the accounts of Bush administration officials and Iraqi defectors - strongly suggesting that Saddam Hussein (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/saddam_hussein/index.html?inline=nyt-per) was developing these weapons of mass destruction.

When no evidence of them was found, her reporting, along with that of some other journalists, came under fire. She was accused of writing articles that helped the Bush administration make its case for war.

"I told her there was unease, discomfort, unhappiness over some of the coverage," said Roger Cohen, who was the foreign editor at the time. "There was concern that she'd been convinced in an unwarranted way, a way that was not holding up, of the possible existence of W.M.D."

It was a blow to the reputation of Ms. Miller, an investigative reporter who has worked at The Times for three decades. Ms. Miller is known for her expertise in intelligence and security issues and her ability to cultivate relationships with influential sources in government. In 2002, she was part of a team of Times reporters that won a Pulitzer Prize for articles on Al Qaeda.

Inside the newsroom, she was a divisive figure. A few colleagues refused to work with her.

"Judy is a very intelligent, very pushy reporter," said Stephen Engelberg, who was Ms. Miller's editor at The Times for six years and is now a managing editor at The Oregonian in Portland. "Like a lot of investigative reporters, Judy benefits from having an editor who's very interested and involved with what she's doing."

In the year after Mr. Engelberg left the paper in 2002, though, Ms. Miller operated with a degree of autonomy rare at The Times.

Douglas Frantz, who succeeded Mr. Engelberg as the investigative editor, said that Ms. Miller once called herself "Miss Run Amok."

"I said, 'What does that mean?' " said Mr. Frantz, who was recently appointed managing editor at The Los Angeles Times. "And she said, 'I can do whatever I want.' "

Ms. Miller said she remembered the remark only vaguely but must have meant it as a joke, adding, "I have strong elbows, but I'm not a dope."

Ms. Miller said she was proud of her journalism career, including her work on Al Qaeda, biological warfare and Islamic militancy. But she acknowledged serious flaws in her articles on Iraqi weapons.

"W.M.D. - I got it totally wrong," she said. "The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them - we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong. I did the best job that I could."

In two interviews, Ms. 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.

On July 30, 2003, Mr. Keller became executive editor after his predecessor, Howell Raines, was dismissed after a fabrication scandal involving a young reporter named Jayson Blair.

Within a few weeks, in one of his first personnel moves, Mr. Keller told Ms. Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues. Even so, Mr. Keller said, "she kept kind of drifting on her own back into the national security realm."

Although criticism of Ms. Miller's Iraq coverage mounted, Mr. Keller waited until May 26, 2004, to publish an editors' note (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/26/international/middleeast/26FTE_NOTE.html) that criticized some of the paper's coverage of the run-up to the war.

The note said the paper's articles on unconventional weapons were credulous. It did not name any reporters and said the failures were institutional. Five of the six articles called into question were written or co-written by Ms. Miller.

'A Good-Faith Source'

On June 23, 2003, Ms. Miller visited Mr. Libby at the Old Executive Office Building in Washington. Mr. Libby was the vice president's top aide and had played an important role in shaping the argument for going to war in Iraq. He was "a good-faith source who was usually straight with me," Ms. Miller said in an interview.

Her assignment was to write an article about the failure to find unconventional weapons in Iraq. She said Mr. Libby wanted to talk about a diplomat's fact-finding trip in 2002 to the African nation of Niger (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/niger/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) to determine whether Iraq sought uranium there. The diplomat was Mr. Wilson, and his wife worked for the C.I.A.

Mr. Wilson had already become known among Washington insiders as a fierce Bush critic. He would go public the next month, accusing the White House in an opinion article in The Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/06WILS.html) of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

But Mr. Libby was already defending Vice President Dick Cheney (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/dick_cheney/index.html?inline=nyt-per), saying his boss knew nothing about Mr. Wilson or his findings. Ms. Miller said her notes leave open the possibility that Mr. Libby told her Mr. Wilson's wife might work at the agency.

On July 8, two days after Mr. Wilson's article appeared in The Times, the reporter and her source met again, for breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel, near the White House.

The notebook Ms. Miller used that day includes the reference to "Valerie Flame." But she said the name did not appear in the same portion of her notebook as the interview notes from Mr. Libby.

During the breakfast, Mr. Libby provided a detail about Ms. Wilson, saying she worked in a C.I.A. unit known as Winpac; the name stands for weapons intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control. Ms. Miller said she understood this to mean that Ms. Wilson was an analyst rather than an undercover operative.

Ms. Miller returned to the subject on July 12 in a phone call with Mr. Libby. Another variant on Valerie Wilson's name - "Victoria Wilson" - appears in the notes of that call. Ms. Miller had by then called other sources about Mr. Wilson's wife. In an interview, she would not discuss her sources.

Two days later, on July 14, Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist, wrote (http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/robertnovak/2003/07/14/160881.html) that Mr. Wilson's wife had suggested sending him to Niger, citing "two administration sources." He went on to say, without attributing the information, that Mr. Wilson's wife, "Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction."

Ms. Miller's article on the hunt for missing weapons was published on July 20, 2003. It acknowledged that the hunt could turn out to be fruitless but focused largely on the obstacles the searchers faced.

Neither that article nor any in the following months by Ms. Miller discussed Mr. Wilson or his wife.

It is not clear why. Ms. Miller said in an interview that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that an article be pursued. "I was told no," she said. She would not identify the editor.

Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation.

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."

Enter a Special Prosecutor

The Novak column prompted a criminal investigation into whether government officials had violated a 1982 law that makes it a crime in some circumstances to disclose the identity of an undercover agent. At the end of December 2003, the United States attorney in Chicago, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was appointed special prosecutor.

Around the same time, F.B.I. investigators working for Mr. Fitzgerald asked officials in the White House, including Mr. Libby, to sign waivers instructing reporters that they could disregard earlier promises of confidentiality and reveal who their sources were.

When Ms. Miller was subpoenaed in the investigation in August 2004 (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/2005_LEAKTIMELINE_GRAPHIC/040812_millersubpoena.pdf), The Times immediately retained Floyd Abrams, who had often represented the paper and is a noted First Amendment lawyer.

The Times said it believes that attempts by prosecutors to force reporters to reveal confidential information must be resisted. Otherwise, it argues, the public would be deprived of important information about the government and other powerful institutions.

The fact that Ms. Miller's judgment had been questioned in the past did not affect its stance. "The default position in a case like that is you support the reporter," Mr. Keller said.

It was in these early days that Mr. Keller and Mr. Sulzberger learned Mr. Libby's identity. Neither man asked Ms. Miller detailed questions about her conversations with him.

Both said they viewed the case as a matter of principle, which made the particulars less important. "I didn't interrogate her about the details of the interview," Mr. Keller said. "I didn't ask to see her notes. And I really didn't feel the need to do that."

Still, Mr. Keller said the case was not ideal: "I wish it had been a clear-cut whistle-blower case. I wish it had been a reporter who came with less public baggage."

Times lawyers warned company executives that they would have trouble persuading a judge to excuse Ms. Miller from testifying. The Supreme Court decided in 1972 that the First Amendment offers reporters no protection from grand jury subpoenas.

Ms. Miller authorized Mr. Abrams to talk to Mr. Libby's lawyer, Joseph A. Tate. The question was whether Mr. Libby really wanted her to testify. Mr. Abrams passed the details of his conversation with Mr. Tate along to Ms. Miller and to Times executives and lawyers, people involved in the internal discussion said.

People present at the meetings said that what they heard about the preliminary negotiations was troubling.
Mr. Abrams told Ms. Miller and the group that Mr. Tate had said she was free to testify. Mr. Abrams said Mr. Tate also passed along some information about Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony: that he had not told Ms. Miller the name or undercover status of Mr. Wilson's wife.

That raised a potential conflict for Ms. Miller. Did the references in her notes to "Valerie Flame" and "Victoria Wilson" suggest that she would have to contradict Mr. Libby's account of their conversations? Ms. Miller said in an interview that she concluded that Mr. Tate was sending her a message that Mr. Libby did not want her to testify.

According to Ms. Miller, this was what Mr. Abrams told her about his conversation with Mr. Tate: "He was pressing about what you would say. When I wouldn't give him an assurance that you would exonerate Libby, if you were to cooperate, he then immediately gave me this, 'Don't go there, or, we don't want you there.' "

Mr. Abrams said: "On more than one occasion, Mr. Tate asked me for a recitation of what Ms. Miller would say. I did not provide one."

In an e-mail message Friday, Mr. Tate called Ms. Miller's interpretation "outrageous."

"I never once suggested that she should not testify," Mr. Tate wrote. "It was just the opposite. I told Mr. Abrams that the waiver was voluntary."

He added: " 'Don't go there' or 'We don't want you there' is not something I said, would say, or ever implied or suggested."
Telling another witness about grand jury testimony is lawful as long as it is not an attempt to influence the other witness's testimony.

"Judy believed Libby was afraid of her testimony," Mr. Keller said, noting that he did not know the basis for the fear. "She thought Libby had reason to be afraid of her testimony."

Ms. Miller and the paper decided at that point not to pursue additional negotiations with Mr. Tate.

The two sides did not talk for a year.

Ms. Miller said in an interview that she was waiting for Mr. Libby to call her, but he never did. "I interpreted the silence as, 'Don't testify,' " Ms. Miller said.

She and her lawyers have also said it was inappropriate for them to hound a source for permission to testify.

Mr. Tate, for his part, said the silence of the Miller side was mystifying.

"You never told me," Mr. Tate wrote to Mr. Abrams recently, "that your client did not accept my representation of voluntariness or that she wanted to speak personally to my client." Mr. Abrams does not dispute that.

Talks between Ms. Miller's lawyer and the prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald, were at a dead end, too.

Not long after breaking off communications with Mr. Tate, Mr. Abrams spoke to Mr. Fitzgerald twice in September 2004. Mr. Abrams wanted to narrow the scope of the questions Ms. Miller would be asked if she testified before the grand jury.

Mr. Abrams said he wanted Mr. Fitzgerald to question Ms. Miller only on her conversations with Mr. Libby about Ms. Wilson. And he wanted a promise that Mr. Fitzgerald would not call her back for further questioning after she testified once.
Mr. Fitzgerald said no. His spokesman declined to comment for this article.

With negotiations at an impasse, Ms. Miller and The Times turned to the courts but were rebuffed. In October 2004, Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court in Washington held Ms. Miller in contempt for not testifying. She remained free while she pursued appeals.

A few weeks later on Capitol Hill, in November 2004, Ms. Miller bumped into Robert S. Bennett, the prominent Washington criminal lawyer who represented President Bill Clinton (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/bill_clinton/index.html?inline=nyt-per) during the Monica Lewinsky (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/monica_s_lewinsky/index.html?inline=nyt-per) scandal and who is known for his blunt style and deal-making skills.

Ms. Miller recalled Mr. Bennett saying while he signed on to her case: "I don't want to represent a principle. I want to represent Judy Miller."

After the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, Ms. Miller made a final plea to Judge Hogan to stay out of jail: "My motive here is straightforward. A promise of confidentiality once made must be respected, or the journalist will lose all credibility and the public will, in the end, suffer."

Judge Hogan ordered her jailed at Alexandria Detention Center in Northern Virginia until she agreed to testify or the grand jury's term expired on Oct. 28.

"She has the keys to release herself," the judge said. "She has a waiver she chooses not to recognize."

Rising Tensions at Newspaper

While the paper's leaders were rallying around Ms. Miller's cause in public, inside The Times tensions were growing.

Throughout this year, reporters at the paper spent weeks trying to determine the identity of Ms. Miller's source. All the while, Mr. Keller knew it, but declined to tell his own reporters.

Even after reporters learned it from outside sources, The Times did not publish Mr. Libby's name, though other news organizations already had. The Times did not tell its readers that Mr. Libby was Ms. Miller's source until Sept. 30, in an article about Ms. Miller's release from jail.

Mr. Keller said that before Ms. Miller went to jail, Mr. Sulzberger, the publisher, asked him to participate in meetings on legal strategy and public statements. Mr. Keller said he then turned over the supervision of the newspaper's coverage of the case to Ms. Abramson, though he said he did not entirely step aside.

"It was just too awkward," Mr. Keller said, "to have me coming from meetings where they were discussing the company's public posture, then overseeing stories that were trying to deal with the company's public posture."

Ms. Abramson called The Times's coverage of the case "constrained." She said that if Ms. Miller was willing to go to jail to protect her source, it would have been "unconscionable then to out her source in the pages of the paper."

Mr. Keller and Ms. Abramson said this created an almost impossible tension between covering the case and the principle they believed to be at the heart of it.

Some reporters said editors seemed reluctant to publish articles about other aspects of the case as well, like how it was being investigated by Mr. Fitzgerald. In July, Richard W. Stevenson and other reporters in the Washington bureau wrote an article about the role of Mr. Cheney's senior aides, including Mr. Libby, in the leak case. The article, which did not disclose that Mr. Libby was Ms. Miller's source, was not published.

Mr. Stevenson said he was told by his editors that the article did not break enough new ground. "It was taken pretty clearly among us as a signal that we were cutting too close to the bone, that we were getting into an area that could complicate Judy's situation," he said.

In August, Douglas Jehl and David Johnston, two other Washington reporters, sent a memo to the Washington bureau chief, Mr. Taubman, listing ideas for coverage of the case. Mr. Taubman said Mr. Keller did not want them pursued because of the risk of provoking Mr. Fitzgerald or exposing Mr. Libby while Ms. Miller was in jail.

Mr. Taubman said he felt bad for his reporters, but he added that he and other senior editors felt that they had no choice. "No editor wants to be in the position of keeping information out of the newspaper," Mr. Taubman said.

Both Mr. Taubman and Ms. Abramson called the situation "excruciatingly difficult."

One result was that other news organizations broke developments in the case before The Times. Reporters found it especially frustrating when on the day that Ms. Miller left jail, The Times had an article prepared at 2 p.m. but delayed posting it on its Web site until after the news appeared on the Web site of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"We end up being late on our own story," Mr. Johnston said.

There were other awkward moments. On Oct. 7, shortly before Ms. Miller was to conduct a telephone interview with two Times reporters, George Freeman, a Times company lawyer, sent her a four-page memorandum (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/2005_LEAKTIMELINE_GRAPHIC/051004_freemanmemo.pdf).

Ms. Miller and her outside lawyer, Mr. Bennett, reacted furiously, calling it a "script" and nearly canceling the interview. Mr. Freeman said later that he had prepared and sent what he called a "narrative" of what happened to Ms. Miller. Mr. Freeman said it had been written long before the interview with Ms. Miller had even been contemplated.

"It was not meant to be a script," Mr. Freeman said.

The editorial page, which is run by Mr. Sulzberger and Gail Collins, the editorial page editor, championed Ms. Miller's cause. The Times published more than 15 editorials and called for Congress to pass a shield law that would make it harder for federal prosecutors to compel reporters to testify.

Mr. Sulzberger said he did not personally write the editorials, but regularly urged Ms. Collins to devote space to them. After Ms. Miller was jailed, an editorial acknowledged that "this is far from an ideal case," before saying, "If Ms. Miller testifies, it may be immeasurably harder in the future to persuade a frightened government employee to talk about malfeasance in high places."

Asked in the interview whether he had any regrets about the editorials, given the outcome of the case, Mr. Sulzberger said no.

"I felt strongly that, one, Judy deserved the support of the paper in this cause - and the editorial page is the right place for such support, not the news pages," Mr. Sulzberger said. "And secondly, that this issue of a federal shield law is really important to the nation."

Ms. Miller said the publisher's support was invaluable. "He galvanized the editors, the senior editorial staff," she said. "He metaphorically and literally put his arm around me."

More Thoughts of a Waiver

Inside her cell in the Alexandria Detention Center this summer, Ms. Miller was able to peer through a narrow concrete slit to get an obstructed view of a maple tree and a concrete highway barrier. She was losing weight and struggling to sleep on two thin mats on a concrete slab.

Although she told friends that she was feeling isolated and frustrated, Ms. Miller said she comforted herself with thousands of letters, the supportive editorials in The Times and frequent 30-minute visits from more than 100 friends and colleagues. Among them were Mr. Sulzberger; Tom Brokaw, the former anchor at NBC News; Richard A. Clarke, a former counterterrorism official; and John R. Bolton, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

Every day, she checked outdated copies of The Times for a news article about her case. Most days she was disappointed.
She said she began thinking about whether she should reach out to Mr. Libby for "a personal, voluntary waiver."

"The longer I was there, the more chance I had to think about it," Ms. Miller said.

On July 20, William Safire, the former longtime columnist at The Times, testified about a federal shield law on Capitol Hill. Ms. Miller read his testimony and found it "inspiring."

While she mulled over her options, Mr. Bennett was urging her to allow him to approach Mr. Tate, Mr. Libby's lawyer, to try to negotiate a deal that would get her out of jail. Mr. Bennett wanted to revive the question of the waivers that Mr. Libby and other administration officials signed the previous year authorizing reporters to disclose their confidential discussions.

The other reporters subpoenaed in the case said such waivers were coerced. They said administration officials signed them only because they feared retribution from the prosecutor or the White House. Reporters for at least three news organizations had then gone back to their sources and obtained additional assurances that convinced them the waivers were genuine.
But Ms. Miller said she had not gotten an assurance that she felt would allow her to testify. And she said she felt that if Mr. Libby had wanted her to testify, he would have contacted her directly.

While Mr. Bennett urged Ms. Miller to test the waters, some of her other lawyers were counseling caution. Mr. Freeman, The Times's company lawyer, and Mr. Abrams worried that if Ms. Miller sought and received permission to testify and was released from jail, people would say that she and the newspaper had simply caved in.

"I was afraid that people would draw the wrong conclusions," Mr. Freeman said.

Mr. Freeman advised Ms. Miller to remain in jail until Oct. 28, when the term of the grand jury would expire and the investigation would presumably end.

Mr. Bennett thought that was a bad strategy; he argued that Mr. Fitzgerald would "almost certainly" empanel a new grand jury, which might mean Ms. Miller would have to spend an additional 18 months behind bars.
Mr. Freeman said he thought Mr. Fitzgerald was bluffing. Mr. Abrams was less sure. But he said Judge Hogan might release Ms. Miller if Mr. Fitzgerald tried to take further action against her.

"At that point," Ms. Miller said, "I realized if and when he did that, objectively things would change, and at that point, I might really be locked in."

After much deliberation, Ms. Miller said, she finally told Mr. Bennett to call Mr. Libby's lawyer. After two months in jail, Ms. Miller said, "I owed it to myself to see whether or not Libby had had a change of heart, the special prosecutor had had a change of heart."

Mr. Bennett called Mr. Tate on Aug. 31. Mr. Tate told Mr. Bennett that Mr. Libby had given permission to Ms. Miller to testify a year earlier. "I called Tate and this guy could not have been clearer - 'Bob, my client has given a waiver,' " Mr. Bennett said.

Mr. Fitzgerald wrote to Mr. Tate (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/2005_LEAKTIMELINE_GRAPHIC/050912_fitzgerald-tate.pdf) on Sept. 12, saying he was concerned that Ms. Miller was still in jail because of a "misunderstanding" between her and Mr. Libby.

Three days later, Ms. Miller heard from Mr. Libby.

In a folksy, conversational two-page letter (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/2005_LEAKTIMELINE_GRAPHIC/050915_libby-miller.pdf) dated Sept. 15, Mr. Libby assured Ms. Miller that he had wanted her to testify about their conversations all along. "I believed a year ago, as now, that testimony by all will benefit all," he wrote. And he noted that "the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me."

When Ms. Miller testified before the grand jury, Mr. Fitzgerald asked her about the letter. She said she responded that it could be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby "to suggest that I, too, would say that we had not discussed Ms. Plame's identity." But she added that "my notes suggested that we had discussed her job."

Ms. Miller, though, wanted more than Mr. Libby's letter to feel free to testify. She told her lawyers that she still needed to hear from Mr. Libby in person. When that could not be arranged, she settled for a 10-minute jailhouse conference call on Sept. 19 with Mr. Libby, while two of her lawyers and one of Mr. Libby's listened in.

Ms. Miller said she was persuaded. "I mean, it's like the tone of the voice," she said. "When he talked to me about how unhappy he was that I was in jail, that he hadn't fully understood that I might have been going to jail just to protect him. He had thought there were other people whom I had been protecting. And there was kind of like an expression of genuine concern and sorrow."

Ms. Miller said she then "cross-examined" Mr. Libby. "When I pushed him hard, I said: 'Do you really want me to testify? Are you sure you really want me to testify?' He said something like: 'Absolutely. Believe it. I mean it.' "
At 1 p.m. on Sept. 26, Ms. Miller convened her lawyers in the jailhouse law library. All the lawyers agreed that Mr. Libby had released Ms. Miller from the pledge of confidentiality.

The next day, Mr. Bennett called Mr. Fitzgerald. He informed the prosecutor that Ms. Miller had a voluntary, personal waiver and asked Mr. Fitzgerald to restrict his questions to her conversations with Mr. Libby.

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

Claudia Payne, a Times editor and a close friend of Ms. Miller, said that once Ms. Miller realized that her jail term could be extended, "it changed things a great deal. She said, 'I don't want to spend my life in here.' "

Ms. Payne added, "Her paramount concern was how her actions would be viewed by her colleagues."

On Sept. 29, Ms. Miller was released from jail and whisked by Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown for a massage, a manicure, a martini and a steak dinner. The next morning, she testified before the grand jury for three hours. Afterward, Ms. Miller declared (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/30/national/30cnd-miller-text.html) that her ordeal was a victory for journalists and the public.

She testified before the grand jury for a second time on Wednesday about notes from her first meeting with Mr. Libby.
Last week, Mr. Sulzberger said it was impossible to know whether Ms. Miller could have struck a deal a year earlier, as at least four other journalists had done.

"Maybe a deal was possible earlier," Mr. Sulzberger said. "And maybe, in retrospect, looking back, you could say this was a moment you could have jumped on. If so, shame on us. I tend to think not."

A Puzzling Outcome

On Oct. 3, four days after Ms. Miller left jail, she returned to the headquarters of The New York Times on West 43rd Street.
Before entering the building, she called her friend Ms. Payne and asked her to come downstairs and escort her in. "She very felt frightened," Ms. Payne said. "She felt very vulnerable."

At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public. (Video From Miller's Speech (http://javascript<b></b>:pop_me_up2('http://www.nytimes.com/video/html/2005/10/03/national/20051004_MILLER_1_VIDEO.html','820_700','width=820 ,height=700,location=yes,scrollbars=no,toolbars=no ,resizable=yes')))

"You could see it in people's faces," Ms. Miller said later. "I'm a reporter. People were confused and perplexed, and I realized then that The Times and I hadn't done a very good job of making people understand what has been accomplished."
In the days since, The Times has been consumed by discussions about how the newspaper handled the case, how Times journalists covered the news of their own paper - and about Ms. Miller herself.

"Everyone admires our paper's willingness to stand behind us and our work, but most people I talk to have been troubled and puzzled by Judy's seeming ability to operate outside of conventional reportorial channels and managerial controls," said Todd S. Purdum, a Washington reporter for The Times. "Partly because of that, many people have worried about whether this was the proper fight to fight."

Diana B. Henriques, a business reporter, said she and others at the paper took "great pride and comfort" in how The Times stood by Ms. Miller. But she said the episode and speculation surrounding it "left a lot of people feeling confused and anxious" about Ms. Miller's role in the investigation.

On Tuesday, Ms. Miller is to receive a First Amendment award from the Society of Professional Journalists. She said she thought she would write a book about her experiences in the leak case, although she added that she did not yet have a book deal. She also plans on taking some time off but says she hopes to return to the newsroom.

She said she hopes to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country."

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's too early to judge it, and it's probably for other people to judge," said Mr. Keller, the executive editor. "I hope that people will remember that this institution stood behind a reporter, and the principle, when it wasn't easy to do that, or popular to do that."

Janny Scott contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 16th, 2005, 07:47 AM
After 'NY Times' Probe:
Keller Must Fire Miller,
and Apologize to Readers

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/pressingissues_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=10013066 99

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 both readers and "armchair critics."

By Greg Mitchell

(October 15, 2005) -- 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.

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

Let’s put aside for the moment Miller 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; 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 others ways.

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

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

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

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.

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 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.

Asked by Times reporters what she regretted about the paper’s handling of the entire Miller matter, Jill Abramson, now the managing editor, replied: “The entire thing.” Who is responsible? And how will they make amends?

October 16th, 2005, 08:46 AM
TimesSelective: Judy-Culpa Raises More Questions Than It Answers... [UPDATED] (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/timesselective-judyculp_b_8938.html)

Arianna Huffington


The first question raised by the Times’ Judy-Culpa (http://nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html?ei=5094&en=ae9961705f60a5d9&hp=&ex=1129435200&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all) and by Judy Miller’s own account (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16miller.html?pagewanted=print) is: Who told Judy about Valerie Plame (or “Flame” as the name appears in Judy’s notes)? According to these two pieces, the name was immaculately conceived. "As I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from," Miller writes.

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

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

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

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

Given the "gee-whiz, it all just sort of, like, happened, and I don't know when or why or where or who..." tone of her mea no culpa (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16miller.html?pagewanted=print) , maybe Judy is vying for a role on MTV’s "Laguna Beach."

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

Judy Miller: A Victory for Journalism?

The Times articles are inconclusive about a lot of issues, but they are devastatingly conclusive about Miller as a journalist -- including, the confirmation (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/howell-raines-redux_b_5822.html) that, within a few weeks of assuming the editorship of the Times, “in one of his first personnel moves, Mr. Keller told Ms. Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues," and including the Times’ long-delayed acknowledgement that 5 of the 6 articles in its WMD mea culpa "were written or co-written by Ms. Miller."

Here are some more problems about Miller as a journalist:

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

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

And here are some questions for Miller's editors:

Did Miller mislead them when she denied that she was one of the journalists to whom White House officials disclosed Plame's identity? Here's the quote from today's (http://nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html?ei=5094&en=ae9961705f60a5d9&hp=&ex=1129435200&partner=homepage&pagewanted=all) article:

"In the fall of 2003, after The Washington Post reported that "two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists," Philip Taubman, Ms. Abramson's successor as Washington bureau chief, asked Ms. Miller and other Times reporters whether they were among the six. Ms. Miller denied it." If she denied it falsely, is there any journalistic institution in the United States that would keep on a reporter who is dishonest to her editors?
Also, in her interview with the Times reporters, Miller says that she made a strong recommendation that a story be pursued on Joe Wilson, but that her editor rejected it. Problem is, Miller refuses to identify the editor. Jill Abramson, who was the Washington bureau chief at the time, says it was not her. So who was it? And why is Miller refusing to supply the name of the editor? It's not classified. It does not require a waiver. What journalistic rules is she abiding by?

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

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

Is Anybody Clearer Now About Why Miller Went to Jail?

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

For months, Miller and the Times pooh-poohed waivers, their position most clearly presented by Bill Safire when he testified (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/wavering-on-waivers_b_8155.html) before Congress on July 20th: "I don't have to pussyfoot about this, because it's a matter of principle. I think waivers of confidentiality are a sham, a snare and a delusion."

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

On Meaningful Sources

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

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

In what way was Libby the only "one meaningful source," if he didn't leak Plame's identity to Miller? Whoever gave Miller Plame's name was a pretty damned meaningful source. Although evidently not meaningful enough for her to remember who it was.

October 19th, 2005, 11:28 PM
Judith Miller claimed she went to jail to protect the First Amendment and protect her confidential source in the Valerie Plame case. When questioned by the presecutor, she "couldn't recall" who gave her Plame's name. How was this a first amendment case if she couldn't remember the source she was allegedly protecting? It's more like she was protecting her own ass, but the press grows teeth at the darnedest times. The NY Times has lost its mantle. The paper of record? I don't think so.

Prez Iraq team fought to squelch war critics


WASHINGTON - It was called the White House Iraq Group and its job was to make the case that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and biochemical weapons. So determined was the ring of top officials to win its argument that it morphed into a virtual hit squad that took aim at critics who questioned its claims, sources told the Daily News.

One of those critics was ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who debunked a key claim in a speech by President Bush that Iraq sought nuclear materials in Africa. His punishment was the media outing of his wife, CIA spy Valerie Plame, an affair that became a "side show" for the White House Iraq Group, the sources said.

The Plame leak is now the subject of a criminal probe that has seen presidential political guru Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, hauled before a grand jury.

Both men were members of the group, also known as WHIG. From late 2002 through mid 2003, it was locked in a feud with officials inside the CIA and State Department over claims Saddam tried to buy "yellow cake" uranium in Niger to build nukes, a former Bush administration and intelligence sources told The News.

"There were a number of occasions when White House officials or Vice President [Cheney's] staffers, or others, wanted to push the envelope on things," an ex-intelligence official said. "The agency would say, 'We just don't have the intelligence to substantiate that.'" When Wilson was sent by his wife to Africa to research the claims, he showed the documents claiming Saddam tried to buy the uranium were forgeries.

"People in the Iraq group then got very frustrated. It was a side show," said a source familiar with WHIG.

Besides Rove and Libby, the group included senior White House aides Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James Wilkinson, Nicholas Calio, Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley. WHIG also was doing more than just public relations, said a second former intel officer.

"They were funneling information to [New York Times reporter] Judy Miller. Judy was a charter member," the source said.

Originally published on October 19, 2005

October 23rd, 2005, 09:23 AM
Woman of Mass Destruction

By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

Saturday 22 October 2005

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp.

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times' seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.

At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."

It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.

She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."

Judy's stories about WMD fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that former Senator Bob Graham dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists.

Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.

When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D issues. But he admitted in The Times' Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept "drifting" back. Why did nobody stop this drift?

Judy admitted in the story that she "got it totally wrong" about WMD "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography.

The Times' story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said in an e-mail note to the staff on Friday, Judy seemed to have "misled" the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.

She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a "former Hill staffer" because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't.

She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her.

It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby."

An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

October 23rd, 2005, 09:42 AM
The Miller Mess:
Lingering Issues Among the Answers

By BYRON CALAME (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/thepubliceditor/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
October 23, 2005
The Public Editor

THE good news is that the bad news didn't stop The New York Times from publishing a lengthy front-page article (http://nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html) last Sunday about the issues facing Judith Miller and the paper, or from pushing Ms. Miller to give readers a first-person account of her grand jury testimony.

The details laid out in the commendable 6,200-word article by a special team of reporters and editors led by the paper's deputy managing editor answered most of my fundamental questions (http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/thepubliceditor/publiceditorswebjournal/index.html).

At issue, of course, was Ms. Miller's refusal to divulge her confidential sources to the grand jury investigating who had leaked the identity of a C.I.A. undercover operative. But the article and Ms. Miller's account also uncovered new information that suggested the journalistic practices of Ms. Miller and Times editors were more flawed than I had feared.

The Times must now face up to three major concerns raised by the leak investigation: First, the tendency by top editors to move cautiously to correct problems about prewar coverage. Second, the journalistic shortcuts taken by Ms. Miller. And third, the deferential treatment of Ms. Miller by editors who failed to dig into problems before they became a mess.

To begin considering the handling of Ms. Miller and this whole episode, it is necessary to step back more than two years. Ms. Miller may still be best known for her role in a series of Times articles in 2002 and 2003 that strongly suggested Saddam Hussein (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/saddam_hussein/index.html?inline=nyt-per) already had or was acquiring an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Howell Raines was then the executive editor of The Times, and several articles about weapons of mass destruction were displayed prominently in the paper. Many of those articles turned out to be inaccurate.

By the spring of 2003, the newsroom was overwhelmed by the Jayson Blair fiasco, and Mr. Raines and the managing editor, Gerald Boyd, left the paper.

When Bill Keller became executive editor on July 30, 2003, he focused on dealing with the trauma of the Blair scandal. Nevertheless, with questions growing about weapons in Iraq, he told Ms. Miller she could no longer cover those issues. But it took until May 2004 - more than a year after the war started and about a year after it became clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - before The Times acknowledged in an editors' note that the coverage was flawed. Mr. Keller then directed her to stay away from all national security issues.

Mr. Keller acknowledged to me last week that his tendency to act slowly in response to criticisms about prewar coverage might have contributed to the dismay among readers and in the newsroom with the way The Times dealt with protecting Ms. Miller's confidential sources in the leak investigation.

"By waiting a year to own up to our mistakes," Mr. Keller wrote Wednesday in response to questions I had asked, "I allowed the anger inside and outside the paper to fester. Worse, I fear I fostered an impression that The Times put a higher premium on protecting its reporters than on coming clean with its readers. If I had lanced the W.M.D. boil earlier, I suspect our critics - at least the honest ones - might have been less inclined to suspect that, THIS time, the paper was putting the defense of the reporter above the duty to its readers."

Mr. Keller is right. The paper should have addressed the problems of the coverage sooner. It is the duty of the paper to be straight with its readers, and whatever the management reason was for not doing so, the readers didn't get a fair shake.

The most disturbing aspect of the Oct. 16 retrospective was its revelation of the journalistic shortcuts that Ms. Miller seems comfortable taking.

One ethical problem emerged when Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, asked Ms. Miller if she had pursued an article about Valerie Plame, the C.I.A. operative, or her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. Ms. Miller said in an interview for the retrospective that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that a story be pursued. "I was told no."

But Jill Abramson, now a managing editor and the Washington bureau chief in 2003, would have known about such a request. Ms. Abramson, to whom Ms. Miller reported, strongly asserted to me that Ms. Miller never asked to pursue an article about the operative.

Ms. Abramson said that she did not recall Ms. Miller ever mentioning the confidential conversations she had with I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, who appears to be in the middle of the leak investigation. When I asked her, Ms. Miller declined to identify the editor she dealt with.

If Ms. Abramson is to be believed, and I do believe her, this raises clear issues of trust and credibility. It also means that because Ms. Miller didn't let an editor know what she knew, Times readers were deprived of a potentially exclusive look into an apparent administration effort to undercut Mr. Wilson and other critics of the Iraq war.

The negotiation of an attribution for a conversation that Ms. Miller had with Mr. Libby is also bothersome. She mentioned in her first-person account last Sunday that, to get Mr. Libby to give her certain information about the Plame situation, she had agreed to identify him as "a former Hill staffer" rather than the usual "senior administration official." She went on: "I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill."

When I talked to Ms. Miller, she dismissed concern about her agreement. She intended to get the information confirmed elsewhere before using it, she said, and would never have allowed Mr. Libby to be identified in print that way.

ANOTHER troubling ethical issue that I haven't yet been able to nail down is whether Ms. Miller holds a government security clearance - something that could restrict her ability to share with editors the information she gathers. During the Iraq war, Ms. Miller said in her personal account, "The Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment 'embedded' with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons."

But a Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/20/national/20shield.html) Thursday reported that Ms. Miller had said what she had signed was a so-called nondisclosure form, with some modifications. She indicated that under the conditions set by the commander of the unit she accompanied in Iraq, she had been allowed to discuss her most secret reporting only with Mr. Raines and Mr. Boyd.

The Times needs to review Ms. Miller's journalistic practices as soon as possible, especially because she disputes some accounts of her conduct that have come to light since the leak investigation began. Since Ms. Miller did the Plame-leak reporting, the paper has made a significant effort to be as upfront as possible with readers about anonymous sources. An update of the rules for the granting of anonymity in The Times's ethics guidelines by Allan M. Siegal, the standards editor, may also be a good idea.

The apparent deference to Ms. Miller by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, and top editors of The Times, going back several years, needs to be addressed more openly, especially in view of the ethics issues that have come to light.

The freedom Ms. Miller was given to shape the legal strategy may have stemmed in part from the failure of top editors to dig into the case earlier in the battle.

Last Sunday's article raised this issue: "This car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk," Mr. Sulzberger said. When I asked him this week if the integrity of The Times and the First Amendment weren't also at risk, he stressed that his assertion had to be read in the proper context. He referred me to his comments in a separate interview with The Times, which weren't published: "There were other hands on the wheel as well. And obviously if we felt that the situation didn't warrant the kind of support we gave her, we would have interceded."

Mr. Sulzberger, inclined by instinct and Times tradition to protect any reporter's confidential sources, wasn't doing anything special in backing Ms. Miller on this journalistic principle. But in an interview for the retrospective last Sunday, Ms. Miller acknowledged Mr. Sulzberger's special support in this case. "He galvanized the editors, the senior editorial staff. ... He metaphorically and literally put his arm around me," she said.

Neither Mr. Keller nor the publisher had done much digging into Ms. Miller's contacts with any of her confidential sources about Ms. Plame before the subpoena arrived on Aug. 12, 2004. Neither had reviewed her notes, for instance. Mr. Keller also didn't look into whether Ms. Miller had proposed a story about the Plame leak to an editor.

"I wish that when I learned Judy Miller had been subpoenaed as a witness in the leak investigation, I had sat her down for a thorough debriefing, and followed up with some reporting of my own," he wrote to me, adding later, "If I had known the details of Judy's engagement with Libby, I'd have been more careful in how the paper articulated its defense."

What does the future hold for Ms. Miller? She told me Thursday that she hopes to return to the paper after taking some time off. Mr. Sulzberger offered this measured response: "She and I have acknowledged that there are new limits on what she can do next." It seems to me that whatever the limits put on her, the problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter.

The public editor serves as the readers' representative. His opinions and conclusions are his own. His column appears at least twice monthly in this section.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 24th, 2005, 10:10 AM
Judith Miller is a liar and disinformation agent of this administration. She ought to be summarily dismissed and indicted as part of the conspiracy to brint the U.S. into war with Iraq.

She has hidden behind the 1st Amendment and keeps screaming for a shield law, but she was no journalist. She was a bullhorn. She's no different than Jeff Gannon other than in the genital area.

October 24th, 2005, 10:37 AM

Yes, Miller is NOT a whistleblower, contrary to what some think. Wilson himself was a whistleblower. Miller is just trying to protect the Bush Administration. The New York Times is generally liberal-leaning in ideology, but they're hardly "liberal" in the clear-cut sense.

October 24th, 2005, 10:41 AM
There editorial page is progressive (some call it liberal). It's news reporting is selective in what it covers and what details it decides to reveal and pursue.

October 26th, 2005, 12:16 PM
Prosecutor's Progress Is Rare for Leak Inquiries

New YorkTimes
By DOUGLAS JEHL (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DOUGLAS JEHL&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DOUGLAS JEHL&inline=nyt-per)
October 26, 2005


WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 - Until now, the federal government has rarely proved more impotent than in trying to plug leaks. Most inquiries go nowhere, because the officials and journalists who are the only witnesses to any crime refuse to discuss it.

But in the case of Valerie Wilson, the outed C.I.A. officer, a prosecutor has succeeded in penetrating that sanctum. Unlike any of his predecessors, the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has delved deeply into conversations that government officials and reporters had every reason to believe would remain confidential.

It is not yet clear if Mr. Fitzgerald intends to bring charges that will cast the conversations themselves as criminal, as settings for the exchange of classified information. But even indictments containing less serious accusations against White House officials would bring with them the possibility that reporters would be called as witnesses.

Exchanges between reporters and government officials have always been a central part of how Washington really works. They have served as shortcuts, ways to trade information beyond the glare of television lights and outside of bureaucratic barriers. But Mr. Fitzgerald, who obtained federal subpoenas to compel reporters to testify in the case, is not the only one in Washington who is trying to train a new kind of spotlight on the transactions.

Both the Silberman-Robb commission, in its report this year on intelligence failures related to weapons proliferation, and the House Intelligence Committee, under Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/michigan/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), the Republican chairman, have called for redoubled efforts against leakers.

"The time has come for a comprehensive law that will make it easier for the government to prosecute wrongdoers and increase the penalties, which will hopefully act as a deterrent for people thinking about disclosing information," Mr. Hoekstra said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation in July.

In its report in March, the Silberman-Robb commission described as "understandable but unwarranted" what it called "the long-standing defeatism that has paralyzed action in trying to combat leaks." Notably, the commission suggested that greater pressure on reporters might have been the missing ingredient in past investigations.

"Many people with whom we spoke," the commission said in its report, "said that the best (if not only) way to identify leakers was through the reporters to whom classified information was leaked."

That approach appears to have been the one followed by Mr. Fitzgerald in trying to unravel the mystery of how the identity of Ms. Wilson, an undercover C.I.A. officer, became public in July 2003, initially in a column by Robert D. Novak that identified her by her unmarried name, Valerie Plame. Ms. Wilson is the wife of Joseph Wilson IV, the retired ambassador who emerged in 2003 as a critic of the Bush administration after traveling to Africa in 2002 at the request of the C.I.A. to investigate claims that Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) was seeking to obtain uranium from Niger (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/niger/index.html?inline=nyt-geo).

It is not known whether Mr. Novak provided testimony to Mr. Fitzgerald or to the grand jury in the case. But over an 18-month period in 2004 and 2005, Mr. Fitzgerald has succeeded in obtaining testimony from five reporters about their conversations with senior White House officials, gleaning details about discussions over breakfast, on the telephone and in government offices. The reporters included Tim Russert of NBC News, Glenn Kessler and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, and, ultimately, Judith Miller of The New York Times, who testified earlier this month after spending 85 days in jail for refusing a court order that compelled her to answer questions from the grand jury.

The reporters' testimony, focusing on discussions with I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/dick_cheney/index.html?inline=nyt-per) chief of staff, and Karl Rove (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/karl_rove/index.html?inline=nyt-per), President Bush's top political adviser, appears to have provided Mr. Fitzgerald with a means to corroborate or challenge the accounts provided by the White House officials about the conversations. In the case of Mr. Libby, the journalists' accounts are likely to be central to any case brought by Mr. Fitzgerald, because they have failed to substantiate Mr. Libby's initial assertion that he learned about Ms. Wilson from reporters.

The approach differs from the one pursued by prosecutors in most previous leak investigations, including three prominent cases in recent years, in which inquiries have proceeded without cooperation from journalists involved.

One, a two-year investigation concluded in 2004, found that Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/alabama/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was almost certainly a source for news accounts that described classified Arabic-language messages intercepted by the National Security Agency just before the Sept. 11 attacks. Among the messages was one that said, "Tomorrow is zero hour," but the Justice Department decided not to bring charges, instead turning the matter over to the Senate ethics committee.

A second case, against Charles G. Bakaly III, a spokesman for Kenneth W. Starr (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/kenneth_w_starr/index.html?inline=nyt-per) during his investigation of President Bill Clinton (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/bill_clinton/index.html?inline=nyt-per), ended in acquittal in 2000. Mr. Bakaly was accused of being a source for an article in The New York Times that discussed whether President Clinton could be indicted while in office. Mr. Bakaly was charged with lying to investigators in their leak inquiry. At his trial, Mr. Bakaly said he had provided some information to The Times, but said that it had been public and that his responses during that leak investigation had been truthful.

In only one of the three cases, a 2003 episode involving the Drug Enforcement Agency, was anyone convicted of a crime. In that case, Jonathan Randel, a D.E.A. analyst, was sentenced to a year in prison for providing what the agency called sensitive information to The Times of London.

In the past, prosecutors appeared to have operated on the presumption that journalists would not testify in leak cases, and would invoke the First Amendment to try to protect their sources. But those protections apply only in states that provide journalists with specific legal protections to shield their sources, a protection that does not exist under federal law.

In ruling in favor of Mr. Fitzgerald this year, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that ordered Ms. Miller to testify in the case. The court cited the only previous ruling on the subject by the Supreme Court, a 1972 decision known as Branzburg, which has been interpreted by lower courts as meaning that reporters have almost no protection from grand jury subpoenas seeking their sources.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

November 29th, 2005, 10:50 PM
Tennessee high school newspaper seized

Monday, November 28, 2005

OAK RIDGE, Tennessee (AP) -- Copies of a high school's student newspaper were seized by administrators because the edition contained stories about birth control and tattoos, stirring a First Amendment debate.

Administrators at Oak Ridge High School went into teachers' classrooms, desks and mailboxes to retrieve all 1,800 copies of the newspaper Tuesday, said teacher Wanda Grooms, who advises the staff, and Brittany Thomas, the student editor.

The Oak Leaf's birth control article listed success rates for different methods and said contraceptives were available from doctors and the local health department. Superintendent Tom Bailey said the article needed to be edited so it would be acceptable for the entire school.

The edition also contained a photo of an unidentified student's tattoo, and the student had not told her parents about the tattoo, said Superintendent Tom Bailey.

"I have a problem with the idea of putting something in the paper that makes us a part of hiding something from the parents," he said.

The paper can be reprinted if the changes are made, he said.

"We have a responsibility to the public to do the right thing," he said. "We've got 14-year-olds that read the newspaper."

Thomas said she wasn't sure about making changes. "I'm not completely OK with reprinting the paper," she said.

First Amendment experts were critical of the seizure.

"This is a terrible lesson in civics," University of Tennessee journalism professor Dwight Teeter said. "This is an issue about the administration wanting to have control. Either the students are going to have a voice, or you're going to have a PR rag for the administration."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press (http://www.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html#AP).

December 1st, 2005, 11:53 AM
Student In Trouble For Posting Naked Dorm Photos

Issue Raises Legal Questions

November 30, 2005


PHILADELPHIA -- A junior at the University of Pennsylvania faces punishment from the school for posting photos he took of two naked students who could be seen through a dorm window, according to confidential memos obtained by a student newspaper.

The unnamed engineering student faces sexual harassment and other charges from the university for electronically publishing pictures of the couple on his Web site, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported Wednesday.


A photo of two students appearing to have sex in Hamilton College House
has been circulating. University officials have charged a student with
sexual harassment for posting one such photo on a personal Penn Web site.

The photographs taken earlier this fall were widely circulated via e-mail on campus and appeared on at least one other Internet site.

By featuring the pictures on his personal Web site hosted through the school's server, the photographer violated the school's code of student conduct, sexual harassment policy and policy on acceptable uses of electronic resources, the university said in the memos.

But a graduate student who is advising the photographer in the disciplinary process said the worst thing the student could be guilty of is poor taste.

"If somebody chooses to make a public spectacle of themselves, then they get what goes with that," Andrew Geier told the school newspaper.

Since the pair was visible in the window, Geier said, the photos were taken in public and are completely legal.

Geier did not immediately return a telephone message left by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

A professor at the prestigious university agreed with Geier.

"The student took a photograph of a public event. That is protected expression," said professor Alan Charles Kors.

Penn spokeswoman Lori Doyle said Wednesday that she could not discuss the case.

"The disciplinary process is supposed to be completely confidential," Doyle said. "We're hopeful that this matter can be resolved quickly and satisfactorily between all parties involved."

Penn will hold a hearing in this matter on Thursday.

Copyright 2005 by NBC10.com (webstaff@wcau.com)

December 1st, 2005, 01:13 PM
On the school newspaper:

1st amendment does not apply to a school sponsored publication. Never has, never will.

On the nekked pix:

They left the windows open. The only thing this kid should be charged with is posting indecent photos IF they were indeed indecent.

My 4¢

December 1st, 2005, 08:49 PM
Look who's back...

Blogged by Brad (TheBradBlog@cville.com) on 12/1/2005 @ 12:45pm PT...


Former Gay Hooker, White House Correspondent 'Jeff Gannon' Supports Ann Coulter's Posting of Critic's Personal Phone Number on Website

Claims, Without Proof, His Own Personal Info Was Posted Online by Critics

Bill O'Reilly, Who Complained About Others Posting 'Private' Info Online To Have Coulter as Guest on Tonight's 'O'Reilly Factor'...

Former homosexual male prostitute cum disgraced former White House correspondent, James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert has decided to ring in in support of Ann Coulter's recent posting of private information of...

Former homosexual male prostitute cum disgraced former White House correspondent, James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert has decided to ring in (http://www.jeffgannon.com/archives/general/index.html#a000370) in support of Ann Coulter's recent posting of private information (http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002088.htm) of a BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger (http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002069.htm) on her website.


It's been three days since Coulter posted a personal email address and phone number of author and actress Lydia Cornell on the front page of her website.
The petulant act by the Republican talking head was in apparent retaliation for an article written for BRAD BLOG (http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002069.htm) by Cornell which described her experience in trying to track down a copy of a fundraiser address Coulter had given recently for the Alachua Florida Republican Party in which she called for the repression of free speech by Democrats.

Cornell has received myriad threatening emails and crank callers in the three days since Coulter posted her private information online. She has asked Coulter to remove it and Coulter has so far refused.

In support of Coulter's invasion of Cornell's privacy, Guckert/Gannon, a shill who had worked in the White House for GOPNews.com (http://www.gopnews.com/) until his secret background as a prostitute was exposed, attempted to defend the Rightwing polemicist yesterday on his website by claiming:
Funny, these same folks didn't have any problems publishing my phone number, home address, Social Security number and medical records online...

Gannon/Guckert presented no evidence to back up his assertion. His reported presence at the White House more than two dozen times when no press briefings were scheduled -- as described in Secret Service documents obtained by RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/exclusives/byrne/secret_service_gannon_424.htm) -- has never been explained. Gannon/Guckert had no previous journalistic experience before being granted access as journalist to the White House....

(more at link: http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002103.htm )

December 2nd, 2005, 09:05 AM
Jeff who?

December 6th, 2005, 09:06 PM
Screw Jeff ... Let's get back to the real journalists:

'Vanity Fair' Offers Fresh Details on Judith Miller Saga

By E&P Staff
December 06, 2005


In a lengthy feature piece on this autumn's Judith Miller saga forthcoming in the January issue of Vanity Fair (on newstands Dec. 13), writer Seth Mnookin covers much familiar ground but also reveals new details and complaints from the reporter's colleagues at The New York Times. Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. also gets a good working-over from unnamed in-house critics.

One of the fresh scoops in the piece, which is titled, "Unreliable Sources," concerns Sulzberger barring Times reporters from talking to Russell Lewis, the former president and CEO of The New York Times Co., when they were working on their extensive report on Miller going to jail and then testifying before the Plame grand jury.

Mnookin relates that according to sources, when the reporters pressed Sulzberger on why he did that, he replied with a laugh and a quip: "Because I don't know what the f---he's going to tell you." (Earlier this year Lewis co-authored with Sulzberger a Times Op-Ed piece championing Miller's cause.)

Mnookin describes step-by-step how the reporters, including Don Van Natta and Janny Scott, were picked to write that October piece and how Miller often failed to cooperate fully with them. She allegedly refused to talk to Scott because she had not bothered to write to her in jail.

Von Natta talks about Miller putting him off even as she had time to talk with Lou Dobbs and Barbara Walters. "That was pretty amazing to me," he tells Mnookin, author of "Hard News," the recent book about the Jayson Blair/Howell Raines blowout. "I'm a colleague of hers, I'm trying to get an interview, and she doesn't have time for that, but she has time for Barbara Walters."

Von Natta came to believe that what Miller was saying at the time was so "preposterous" she must be "saving it all for a book.”

The Vanity Fair article reveals that the Times team actually finished a draft of that piece exactly a week before it appeared. Adam Liptak, one of the team members, recalls printing it out at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning and reading it in the cab home, before deciding, "This thing sucks and I don't want my name on it. ... There was no logical reason why she couldn't tell us her testimony." So it went through another week of drafting, with Miller finally convinced, partly on the advice of her Times friend David Barstow, to reveal her grand jury testimony.

Elsewhere, Mnookin pulls no punches in stating that over the years Miller "had built a reputation for sleeping with her sources," had dated one of Sulzberger's best friends, Steve Ratner, "and had even, for a time, shared a vacation home with Sulzberger," whatever that means.

He hits Sulzberger hard with quotes from various unnamed Times people, who say things like, "Post-Howell, Arthur and Judy were both looking at resurrecting their reputations. And Arthur was so oblivious he didn't care about the repercussions."

Mnookin says Miller and Sulzberger refused to speak with him for this piece. He also does not quote Executive Editor Bill Keller directly.

December 17th, 2005, 07:59 AM
Columnist Resigns His Post, Admitting Lobbyist Paid Him

By ANNE E. KORNBLUT (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ANNE E. KORNBLUT&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ANNE E. KORNBLUT&inline=nyt-per) and PHILIP SHENON (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=PHILIP SHENON&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=PHILIP SHENON&inline=nyt-per)
New York Times
December 17, 2005


WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - A senior scholar at the Cato Institute, the respected libertarian research organization, has resigned after revelations that he took payments from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for writing columns favorable to his clients.

The scholar, Doug Bandow, who wrote a column for the Copley News Service in addition to serving as a Cato fellow, acknowledged to executives at the organization that he had taken money from Mr. Abramoff after he was confronted about the payments by a reporter from BusinessWeek Online.

"He acknowledges he made a lapse in judgment," said Jamie Dettmer, director of communications at Cato. "There's a lot of sadness here."
Copley suspended Mr. Bandow's column.

Efforts to reach Mr. Bandow through the Cato Institute and at home were unsuccessful.

The revelation caps a year of disclosures about partisan payments to seemingly independent writers, including Armstrong Williams, the conservative columnist and television host, who received payments from the federal Education Department at a time when he was promoting the Bush administration's education policies in his columns. The administration has been under mounting pressure to become more transparent in its communications after accounts that it paid for and printed articles in Iraqi periodicals as part of its overseas propaganda effort.

Mr. Bandow did not take government money, but the source of his payments - around $2,000 an article - is no less controversial. His sometime sponsor, Mr. Abramoff, is at the center of a far-reaching criminal corruption investigation involving several members of Congress, with prosecutors examining whether he sought to bribe lawmakers in exchange for legislative help.

A second scholar, Peter Ferrara, of the Institute for Policy Innovation, acknowledged in the same BusinessWeek Online piece that he had also taken money from Mr. Abramoff in exchange for writing certain opinion articles. But Mr. Ferrara did not apologize for doing so. "I do that all the time," Mr. Ferrara was quoted as saying. He did not reply to an e-mail message seeking comment on Friday.

At Cato and similar institutions, adjunct scholars are not always prohibited from accepting outside consulting roles. But at Cato, said Mr. Dettmer, and at the American Enterprise Institute, said a spokeswoman there, rules require scholars to make public all their affiliations, and there is an expectation that scholars will not embarrass the institution.

"Our scholarship is not for sale," Mr. Dettmer said.

Glenda Winders, the vice president and editor of the Copley News Service, said in a statement that the company was immediately suspending Mr. Bandow's column pending further review.

Mr. Abramoff, who built a powerful lobbying business largely through his affluent Indian tribe clients in the late 1990's, paid Mr. Bandow during those years to advance the causes of such clients as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

In one column in 2001, Mr. Bandow extolled the free-market system that had allowed the Marianas to thrive, saying that fighting terrorism was no excuse for "economic meddling" - the same position that Mr. Abramoff was being paid to advance.

The federal government "should respect the commonwealth's independent policies, which have allowed the islands to rise above the poverty evident elsewhere throughout Micronesia," Mr. Bandow wrote.

In an earlier column, in 1997, Mr. Bandow defended the gambling enterprise of the Choctaws. "There's certainly no evidence that Indian gambling operations harm the local community," he wrote.

Mr. Abramoff, whose work has already been the subject of Senate hearings, is suspected of misleading the tribes about the way he used tens of millions of dollars in payments. He has been indicted in a separate case in Florida, where he is scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 9 on charges of defrauding a lender as he tried to buy a fleet of gambling boats.

Although Mr. Abramoff has not yet been charged in connection with any lobbying case, his money is considered so tainted that on Friday, for a second time this week, a member of the Senate who had received large political contributions from Mr. Abramoff's clients and partners announced that he was returning the money.

The latest announcement came from Senator Conrad Burns, Republican of Montana, who is up for re-election next year and who said he would return about $150,000 in contributions from Mr. Abramoff, his clients and his associates. Earlier in the week, Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said he was returning $66,000 in contributions from Mr. Abramoff's partners and Indian tribe clients.

"The contributions given to my political committees by Jack Abramoff and his clients, while legally and fully disclosed, have served to undermine the public's confidence in its government," Mr. Burns said in a statement. "From what I've read about Jack Abramoff and the charges which are pending or about to be brought against him, he massively deceived and betrayed his clients."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

TLOZ Link5
December 17th, 2005, 02:15 PM
The New York Times
December 18, 2005
In Speech, Bush Says He Ordered Domestic Spying

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 - President Bush acknowledged on Saturday that he had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct an electronic eavesdropping program in the United States without first obtaining warrants, and said he would continue the highly classified program because it was "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists."

In his weekly radio address from the White House, which, in an unusual step, he delivered live, Mr. Bush also lashed out at senators - both Democrats and Republicans - who voted on Friday to block the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, which expanded the president's power to conduct surveillance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The revelation that Mr. Bush had secretly instructed the security agency to intercept the communications of Americans and suspected terrorists inside the United States, without first obtaining warrants from a secret court that oversees intelligence matters, was cited by several senators as a reason for their vote.

"In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment," Mr. Bush said from behind a lectern in the Roosevelt Room, next to the Oval Office.

He said the Senate's action "endangers the lives of our citizens," and added that "the terrorist threat to our country will not expire in two weeks," a reference to the approaching deadline of Dec. 31, when critical provisions of the current law will end.

Mr. Bush's public confirmation Saturday morning of the existence of one of the country's most secret intelligence programs, which had been known to only a select number of his aides, was a rare moment in the presidency. But he linked it with a forceful assertion of his own authority to act without court approval, making it clear that he planned to resist any effort to infringe on his powers.

As recently as Friday, when he was interviewed by Jim Lehrer of PBS, Mr. Bush refused to confirm the report that day in The New York Times that in 2002 he authorized the domestic spying operation by the security agency, which is usually barred from intercepting domestic communications.

But as the clamor over the revelation rose and Vice President Dick Cheney went to Capitol Hill to counter charges that the program was an illegal assumption of presidential powers, even in a time of war, Mr. Bush and his senior aides decided that it was futile to dismiss the report as "speculation," the word he used in his interview.

In his radio address, Mr. Bush sharply criticized the leak of the information, saying that it had been "improperly provided to news organizations." As a result of the report, he said, "our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country."

But Mr. Bush did not address the main question directed at him by some members of Congress on Friday: why he felt it necessary to circumvent the system established under current law, which allows the president to seek emergency warrants, in secret, from the court that oversees intelligence operations. His critics said that under that law, the administration could have obtained the same information.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Friday that "there is no doubt this is inappropriate" and that he would conduct hearings to determine why Mr. Bush took the action.

The president said on Saturday that he acted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks because the United States had failed to detect communications that might have tipped them off to the plot. He said that two of the hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, "communicated while they were in the United States to other members of Al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late."

As a result, "I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations," Mr. Bush said. "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."

Mr. Bush said that every 45 days the program was reviewed, based on "a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland." That review involves the attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, and Mr. Bush's counsel, Harriet E. Miers, whom Mr. Bush unsuccessfully tried to nominate to the Supreme Court this year.

"I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from Al Qaeda and related groups," the president said. He said Congressional leaders had been repeatedly briefed on the program, and that intelligence officials "receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization."

The Patriot Act vote in the Senate, coming a day after Mr. Bush was forced to accept an amendment sponsored by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, that places limits on interrogation techniques that can be used by Central Intelligence Agency officers and other non-military personnel, was a setback to the president's assertion of broad powers. In both cases, he lost a number of Republicans along with almost all Democrats.

"This reflects a complete transformation of the debate in America over torture," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. "After the attacks, no politician was heard expressing any questions about the executive branch's treatment of captured terrorists." That has now "changed fundamentally," Mr. Malinowski said, a view that even some of Mr. Bush's aides and former aides echoed.

Mr. Bush's unusual radio address is part of a broader effort this weekend to regain the initiative, after weeks in which the political ground has shifted under his feet. On Sunday evening he has scheduled a live television address from the Oval Office to celebrate the success of the elections in Iraq, and to declare that they are evidence that he made the right decision to depose Saddam Hussein.

The last time Mr. Bush delivered such an address, in the formal setting that he usually tries to avoid, was in March 2003, when he informed the world that he had ordered the Iraq invasion.

As part of the planned address, Mr. Bush appears ready to at least hint at reductions in the troop levels in Iraq, which he has said in a series of four recent speeches on Iraq strategy could be the ultimate result if Iraqi security forces are able to begin to perform more security operations currently conducted by American forces.

Currently, there are roughly 160,000 American troops in Iraq, a number that was intended to keep order for Friday's parliamentary elections, which were conducted with little violence and an unexpectedly heavy turnout of Sunnis, the ethnic minority that ruled the country under Mr. Hussein's reign. The American troop level was already scheduled to decline to 138,000 - what the military calls its "baseline" level of troops - after the election.

But on Friday, as the debate in Washington swirled over the president's order to the N.S.A., Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, hinted that further reductions may be on the way. "We're doing our assessment, and I make some recommendations in the coming weeks about whether I think it's prudent to go below the baseline," Gen. Casey told reporters in Baghdad.

In Washington, officials said that could enable Mr. Bush to point to deeper cuts in coming months, assuming that the new government forms and the insurgency is held in check. The Army, for example, has prepared plans to hold back one brigade that was scheduled to enter Iraq and to assign some soldiers from another brigade to train Iraqis and guard utilities and other public infrastructure, Pentagon civilian and military officials say. Under these plans, a Germany-based brigade of the First Armored Division, now in Kuwait, would remain there as a quick-reaction force; all or part of the brigade also could be sent home from Kuwait should the security in Iraq situation settle down in the weeks after the vote, officials said. An Army brigade is 3,000 to 5,000 troops, but can have additional supporting units attached to it.

A brigade of the First Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kan., would be sent to Iraq in smaller units, and not all at once, under the proposals. Some soldiers from the brigade could be sent to Iraq to help train Iraqi security forces, while others might be sent to Iraq subsequently to guard utilities, infrastructure and other important locations as required next year, Pentagon civilian and military officials said.

It is unclear how far Mr. Bush may be prepared to go in his Oval Office speech to committing to troop reductions; in his four recent speeches on Iraq he said repeatedly that troop levels would decline only as Iraqi and American forces accomplished several objectives: Breaking the back of the insurgency, protecting the new government, and making sure that terror groups cannot use Iraq as a launching pad for new attacks.

©The New York Times Company 2005


Democracy lives to see another day.

December 17th, 2005, 06:15 PM
A giant in journalism has passed ...

Jack Anderson, Investigative Journalist Who Angered the Powerful, Dies at 83

By DOUGLAS MARTIN (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DOUGLAS MARTIN&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DOUGLAS MARTIN&inline=nyt-per)
New York Times
December 18, 2005


Jack Anderson, whose investigative column once appeared in more than 1,000 newspapers with 40 million readers, won a Pulitzer Prize and prompted J. Edgar Hoover to call him "lower than the regurgitated filth of vultures," died Saturday. He was 83.

The cause was Parkinson's disease, Mr. Anderson's daughter Laurie Anderson-Bruch told The Associated Press.

Mr. Anderson was a flamboyant bridge between the muckrakers of the early decades of the 20th century and the battalions of investigative reporters unleashed by news organizations following Watergate. He relished being called "the Paul Revere of journalism" for his knack for uncovering major stories first almost as much as he enjoyed being at the top of Nixon's enemies list.

His journalistic reach extended to radio, television and magazines, and his scoops were legion. They included the United States' tilt away from India toward Pakistan during Bangladesh's war for independence, which won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1972.

Another was his linking of the settlement of an antitrust suit against ITT by the Justice Department to a $400,000 pledge to underwrite the 1972 Republican convention. Still another was revealing the Reagan administration's efforts to illegally sell arms to Iran and funnel the proceeds to anti-Communist forces in Central America.

In what was the nation's most widely read, longest-running political column, Mr. Anderson broke stories that included the Central Intelligence Agency's enlisting of the Mafia to kill Castro, the savings and loan scandal, Senator Thomas J. Dodd's loose ethics, and the mystery surrounding Howard Hughes's death.

He liked to say that he and his staff of eager investigators daily did what Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did just once when they dug out the truth of the Watergate scandal.

But his bombastic, self-congratulating style, abbreviated exegeses and a blistering moral outrage fueled both by his Mormon upbringing and unabashed theatrical flair caused some to question his gravity.

When he made a mistake on a big story, it could reverberate mightily. In 1972, he had to apologize to Senator Thomas Eagleton for reporting on the radio about drunk-driving arrests Mr. Anderson could not later authenticate.
Mr. Eagleton had to withdraw as Democratic Party nominee for vice president in the face of disclosures he had received psychiatric treatment.

Mr. Anderson's decidedly roguish techniques included eavesdropping, spiriting off classified documents, rifling through garbage (Mr. Hoover's, in particular) and sometimes blatant threats - methods he defended as justified in his lifetime campaign to keep government honest. His illegal printing of verbatim transcripts of the secret Watergate grand jury thwarted Nixon's efforts to stonewall the scandal by hiding behind grand jury secrecy.

Not only was Mr. Anderson on Nixon's notorious list, but G. Gordon Liddy, a Watergate burglar, plotted his murder.

Mr. Anderson marked a departure from traditional Washington columnists like Walter Lippmann who reported on politics as insiders with high-level contacts. His approach also veered sharply from that of Drew Pearson, who began the "Merry-Go-Round" column in 1932.

Mr. Pearson basked in his own celebrity, confiding with the powerful and playing them for large scoops. Mr. Anderson, by contrast, kept his distance from politicians. He would rather to a movie than a state dinner, which was fortunate because he was never invited to any.

He quietly cultivated dissatisfied and idealistic lower-level government workers, persuading them that the public's right to information trumped their bosses' personal interests. His stock and trade was the sensitive documents he persuaded sources to leak.

Mr. Anderson's prominence gradually faded, as the sort of investigative journalism he pioneered became more standard fare. As this competition for stories stiffened, Mr. Anderson was also spreading himself thinner and thinner as his television and radio enterprises demanded nearly constant news.

The number of papers subscribing to "Washington Merry-Go-Round" finally dwindled to around 150. In 2002, Slate, the online magazine, noted that nobody had picked up Mr. Anderson's story that Senator John McCain (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/john_mccain/index.html?inline=nyt-per) was poised to switch parties. Mickey Kaus, the Slate writer, wrote that this demonstrated "how unseriously Jack Anderson is taken these days."

What many of his readers did not realize was that Mr. Anderson himself added up to a fascinating story. He was a close personal friend of Senator Joseph McCarthy before becoming one of his most fervent and earliest pursuers. He invited Adolph Eichmann's son to live in his home to learn about his upbringing.

When Mr. Hoover sent F.B.I. agents to stake out his house, Mr. Anderson sent several of his nine children out to take their picture. For good measure, they let the air out of the agents' tires.

Jackson Northman Anderson was born in Long Beach, Calif., on Oct. 19, 1922. When Jack was 2, his family moved to Utah, the stronghold of the Mormon church.

At 12, Jack began editing the Boy Scout page of The Deseret News, a church-owned newspaper. He soon progressed to a $7-a-week job with a small local paper, The Murray Eagle, where he bicycled to cover fires and traffic accidents.

At 18 he landed a reporting job at The Salt Lake City Tribune. After briefly attending the University of Utah, he was a Mormon missionary for two years. He then joined the Merchant Marine.

He soon convinced the Deseret News to hire him as a foreign correspondent in China. His draft board caught up with him in 1945, and he was inducted into the Army in Chunking. He first served in the Quartermaster Corps and then wrote for Stars and Stripes, where more experienced journalists suggested he try to get a job with Mr. Pearson.

Mr. Pearson hired Mr. Anderson in 1947. The columnist agreed to pay him $50 a week and give him Sundays off so he could attend church.

Mr. Pearson gave his new hire no byline. Mr. Anderson initially liked the anonymity because it diminished his visibility as he prowled for scandal.

Mr. Anderson wrote that in 1954 he learned that Mr. Pearson had promised the column to another employee after his own retirement. In anger, Mr. Anderson got a job as Washington bureau chief of Parade magazine.

The denouement was that Mr. Pearson promised Mr. Anderson he would eventually be his partner as well as inherit the column. In 1965, Mr. Pearson, who died four years later, finally made good on making him a full partner. Pay, however, remained another matter.

"Why, just before he died he was paying me $14,000 or $15,000, and here I was a partner in the biggest column in America," Mr. Anderson said in an interview with The New York Post in 1972.

From the Truman to George W. Bush (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/george_w_bush/index.html?inline=nyt-per) presidencies, Mr. Anderson gave his own stamp to Washington journalism, beginning with using language he thought a Kansas City milkman would understand.

One employee, Les Whitten, told Washingtonian magazine in 1997 how Mr. Anderson showed scant favoritism toward friends. Mr. Whitten recalled his boss glancing at a draft of a critical column he had written about Senator Wallace Bennett of Utah, a friend of Mr. Anderson's.

"He took one look, sighed, shook his head and said, 'Poor Wally,' " Mr. Whitten said. "And that's the last I heard from him about it."

Mr. Anderson met Olivia Farley in church, and they were married in 1949. She survives him, as do their nine children, The A.P. reported.

Mr. Anderson once suggested in an autobiography that his big family might have saved his life. When Mr. Liddy and other Nixon tricksters were kicking around ways to kill him, one came up with poisoning the aspirin in his medicine cabinet, according to The Washington Post in 1975.

"I had a wife and nine children, and nobody wanted to risk the chance one of them might get a headache," Mr. Anderson wrote.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

January 5th, 2006, 01:09 PM
NBC changes official transcript of Andrea Mitchell interview, deletes reference to Bush possibly wiretapping CNN's Christane Amanpour (http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/nbc-changes-official-transcript-of.html)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/nbc-changes-official-transcript-of.html (http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/nbc-changes-official-transcript-of.html)

Well this is getting interesting. NBC just delete two paragraphs from its Andrea Mitchell interview, the paragraphs that talked about whether Bush was wiretapping ace CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour (kudos to Atrios for spotting this).

Here's what the NBC "official" transcript used to say (I copied this text from NBC's own page only 2 hours ago):
Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?

Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

Mitchell: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?

Risen: No, no I hadn't heard that.
Here's what it says now (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10697484/page/4/print/1/displaymode/1098/):
Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?

Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

Mitchell: You are very, very tough on the CIA and the administration in general in both the war on terror and the run up to the war and the war itself &#194;? the post-war operation. Let's talk about the war on terror. Why do you think they missed so many signals and what do you think caused the CIA to have this sort of break down as you describe it?

Risen: I think that, you know, to me, the greater break down was really on Iraq. It's very difficult to have known ahead of time about these 19 hijackers. They were, you know, probably lucky that they got through and they did something that no one really assumed anybody would ever do. And I think that made 9/11 a lot like Pearl Harbor. That even when you see all the clues in front of you that it's very difficult to put it together.
Since when is NBC in the business of deleting entire paragraphs from their official transcripts? What's going on here?

More on why this matters here (http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/what-it-means-to-john-kerry-wesley.html).

April 6th, 2006, 09:43 AM
Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed

A multimedia report on television newsrooms' use of material provided by PR firms on behalf of paying clients

Diane Farsetta and Daniel Price
Center for Media and Democracy
April 6, 2006


This report includes:

Video footage (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/findings/vnrs) of the 36 video news releases documented in this report, plus footage showing how actual TV newscasts incorporated them and/or a related satellite media tours.
A map (http://www.prwatch.org/map/TV_Stations) showing the locations of the 77 television stations throughout the United States that aired this fake news.
A spreadsheet (http://www.prwatch.org/pdfs/FakeNewsStnsByState.pdf) listing the 77 television stations that aired this fake news, by state.In Brief

Over a ten-month period, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) documented television newsrooms' use of 36 video news releases (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=video_news_releases) (VNRs) — a small sample of the thousands produced each year. CMD identified 77 television stations, from those in the largest to the smallest markets, that aired these VNRs or related satellite media tours (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Satellite_Media_Tours) (SMTs) in 98 separate instances, without disclosure to viewers. Collectively, these 77 stations reach more than half of the U.S. population. The VNRs and SMTs whose broadcast CMD documented were produced by three broadcast PR firms for 49 different clients, including General Motors, Intel, Pfizer and Capital One.

In each case, these 77 television stations actively disguised the sponsored content to make it appear to be their own reporting. In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients' messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety.

Report highlights include:
KOKH-25 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=KOKH-25,_FOX_(TV_Station)) in Oklahoma City, OK, a FOX (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fox_News) station owned by Sinclair (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Sinclair_Broadcast_Group), aired six of the VNRs tracked by CMD, making it this report's top repeat offender. Consistently, KOKH-25 failed to provide any disclosure to news audiences. The station also aired five of the six VNRs in their entirety, and kept the publicist's original narration each time.

In three instances, TV stations not only aired entire VNRs without disclosure, but had local anchors and reporters read directly from the script prepared by the broadcast PR firm. KTVI-2 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=KTVI-2,_FOX_(TV_Station)) in St. Louis, MO, had their anchor introduce, and their reporter re-voice, a VNR (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr3) produced for Masterfoods and 1-800 Flowers, following the script nearly verbatim. WBFS-33 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WBFS-33,_UPN_(TV_Station)) in Miami, FL, did the same with a VNR (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr36) produced for the "professional services firm" Towers Perrin. And Ohio News Network (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Ohio_News_Network_(TV_Station)) did likewise with a VNR (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr23) produced for Siemens.

WSJV-28 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WSJV-28,_FOX_(TV_Station)) in South Bend, IN, introduced a VNR (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr35) produced for General Motors as being from "FOX's Andrew Schmertz," implying that Schmertz was a reporter for the local station or the FOX network. In reality, he is a publicist (http://www.google.com/search?q=andrew+schmertz+site:medialink.com) at the largest U.S. broadcast PR firm, Medialink Worldwide (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Medialink_Worldwide). Another Medialink publicist (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=kate+brookes+site%3Amedialink.com&btnG=Search), Kate Brookes, was presented as an on-air reporter by four TV stations airing a VNR (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr16) produced for Siemens.

Two stations whose previous use of government VNRs was documented by the New York Times, WCIA-3 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WCIA-3,_CBS_(TV_Station)) in Champaign, IL, and WHBQ-13 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WHBQ-13,_FOX_(TV_Station)) in Memphis, TN, also aired (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr16) VNRs (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr1) tracked by CMD. The March 2005 Times article reported that WHBQ's vice president for news "could not explain how his station came to broadcast" a State Department VNR, while WCIA's news director said that Agriculture Department VNRs "meet our journalistic standards."


Although the number of media formats and outlets has exploded in recent years, television remains the dominant news source in the United States. More than three-quarters of U.S. adults rely on local TV news, and more than 70 percent turn to network TV or cable news on a daily or near-daily basis, according to a January 2006 Harris Poll (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=644). The quality and integrity of television reporting thus significantly impacts the public's ability to evaluate everything from consumer products to medical services to government policies.

To reach this audience — and to add a veneer of credibility to clients' messages — the public relations industry uses video news releases (VNRs). VNRs are pre-packaged "news" segments and additional footage created by broadcast PR firms, or by publicists within corporations or government agencies. VNRs are designed to be seamlessly integrated into newscasts, and are freely provided to TV stations.

Although the accompanying information sent to TV stations identifies the clients behind the VNRs, nothing in the material for broadcast does. Without strong disclosure requirements and the attention and action of TV station personnel, viewers cannot know when the news segment they're watching was bought and paid for by the very subjects of that "report."

In recent years, the U.S. Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, journalism professors, reporters and members of the general public have expressed concern about VNRs. In response, public relations executives and broadcaster groups have vigorously defended the status quo, claiming there is no problem with current practices. In June 2005, the president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Radio-Television_News_Directors_Association) (RTNDA), Barbara Cochran (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Barbara_Cochran), told a reporter that VNRs were "kind of like the Loch Ness Monster (http://washingtontimes.com/business/20050628-094856-8762r.htm). Everyone talks about it, but not many people have actually seen it."

To inform this debate, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) conducted a ten-month study of selected VNRs and their use by television stations, tracking 36 VNRs issued by three broadcast PR firms. Key findings include:

VNR use is widespread. CMD found 69 TV stations that aired at least one VNR from June 2005 to March 2006—a significant number, given that CMD was only able to track a small percentage of the VNRs streaming into newsrooms during that time. Collectively, these 69 stations broadcast to 52.7 percent of the U.S. population, according to Nielsen Media (http://www.nielsenmedia.com/DMAs.html) figures. Syndicated (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr4) and network-distributed (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr1) segments sometimes included VNRs, further broadening their reach.

VNRs are aired in TV markets of all sizes. TV stations often use VNRs to limit the costs associated with producing, filming and editing their own reports. However, VNR usage is not limited to small-town stations with shoestring budgets. Nearly two-thirds of the VNRs that CMD tracked were aired by stations in a Top 50 Nielsen market area, such as Detroit, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. Thirteen VNRs were broadcast in the ten largest markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.

TV stations don't disclose VNRs to viewers. Of the 87 VNR broadcasts that CMD documented, not once did the TV station disclose the client(s) behind the VNR to the news audience. Only one station, WHSV-3 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WHSV-3,_ABC_(TV_Station)) in Harrisonburg, VA, provided partial disclosure (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr28), identifying the broadcast PR firm that created the VNR, but not the client, Daimler Chrysler. WHSV-3 aired soundbites from a Chrysler representative and directed viewers to websites associated with Chrysler, without disclosing the company's role in the "report."

TV stations disguise VNRs as their own reporting. In every VNR broadcast that CMD documented, the TV station altered the VNR's appearance. Newsrooms added station-branded graphics and overlays, to make VNRs indistinguishable from reports that genuinely originated from their station. A station reporter or anchor re-voiced the VNR in more than 60 percent of the VNR broadcasts, sometimes repeating the publicist's original narration word (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr3)-for (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr23)-word (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr36).

TV stations don't supplement VNR footage or verify VNR claims. While TV stations often edit VNRs for length, in only seven of the 87 VNR broadcasts documented by CMD did stations add any independently-gathered footage or information to the segment. In all other cases, the entire aired "report" was derived from a VNR and its accompanying script. In 31 of the 87 VNR broadcasts, the entire aired "report" was the entire pre-packaged VNR. Three stations (WCPO-9 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WCPO-9,_ABC_(TV_Station)) in Cincinnati, OH; WSYR-9 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WSYR-9,_ABC_(TV_Station)) in Syracuse, NY; and WYTV-33 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WYTV-33,_ABC_(TV_Station)) in Youngstown, OH) removed safety warnings (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr10) from a VNR touting a newly-approved prescription skin cream. WSYR-9 also aired a VNR heralding (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr7) a "major health breakthrough" for arthritis sufferers—a supplement that a widely-reported government study had found to be little better than a placebo.

The vast majority of VNRs are produced for corporate clients. Of the hundreds of VNRs that CMD reviewed for potential tracking, only a few came from government agencies or non-profit organizations. Corporations have consistently been the dominant purveyors of VNRs, though the increased scrutiny of government-funded VNRs in recent years may have decreased their use by TV newsrooms. Of the VNRs that CMD tracked, 47 of the 49 clients behind them were corporations (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/findings/corporations) that stood to benefit financially from the favorable "news" coverage.

Satellite media tours may accompany VNRs. Broadcast PR firms sometimes produce both VNRs and satellite media tours (SMTs) for clients. SMTs are actual interviews with TV stations, but their focus and scope are determined by the clients. In effect, SMTs are live recitations of VNR scripts. CMD identified 10 different TV stations that aired SMTs for 17 different clients with related VNRs. In only one instance was there partial disclosure (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/vnr14) to viewers. An anchor at WLTX-19 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=WLTX-19,_CBS_(TV_Station)) in Columbia, SC, said after the segment, "This interview ... was provided by vendors at the consumer trade show," but did not name the four corporate clients behind the SMT.

In sum, television newscasts—the most popular news source in the United States—frequently air VNRs without disclosure to viewers, without conducting their own reporting, and even without fact checking the claims made in the VNRs. VNRs are overwhelmingly produced for corporations (http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews/findings/corporations), as part of larger public relations campaigns to sell products, burnish their image, or promote policies or actions beneficial to the corporation.

April 7th, 2006, 09:48 AM
Sex Blogger 1st Amendment Case Moving Forward

By Matt O'Conner
xbiz news
April 6, 2006


WASHINGTON — A U.S. District Court has shot down a defendant’s motion to dismiss an invasion of privacy lawsuit from a former co-worker concerning details of their sex life she posted on her blog.

The case could have far-reaching 1st Amendment implications for bloggers.

The defendant, Jennifer Cutler, worked in the office of Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and operated the blog Washingtonienne, where she kept a running anonymous diary of her dalliances with a half dozen politicians and staffers, including attorney Robert Steinbuch.

Among the details of the affair Cutler revealed on the blog were that Steinbuch, who she referred to as RS, “likes spanking (both giving and receiving)” and had trouble maintaining an erection.

Steinbuch charges in his lawsuit that the use of his initials and description of his job made him “clearly identifiable” within Washington circles.

According to the suit, Cutler’s comments subjected Steinbuch to “humiliation and anguish beyond that which any reasonable person should be expected to bear in a decent, civilized society.”

The filing goes on to say, “It is one thing to be manipulated and used by a lover; it is another thing to be exposed to the world.”

Cutler’s lawyers had tried to get the case dismissed, arguing that Cutler had a right to publish her comments under the 1st Amendment and that Steinbuch had waited too long to file his suit.

While the court denied the motion, it said that Steinbuch should have take action against Cutler within a year of the postings. Since many of the comments were posted more than a year before Steinbuch filed suit, they will not be allowed as evidence.

As for the 1st Amendment implications, those will have to be worked out in court, where Steinbuch’s lawyer, Jonathan Rosen, plans to argue that the gross invasion of privacy and extreme mental anguish his client suffered outweigh Cutler’s right to free speech.

The case has adult industry ties.

Cutler’s sex diary first gained national attention last summer after it was featured on Washington gossip blog Wonkette, a member of the Gawker Media Group, which also owns popular porn blog Fleshbot.

After the Washingtonienne controversy broke, Cutler and Wonkette editor Ana Marie Cox were seen hitting the D.C. party circuit together, and photos of the two dancing and posing suggestively made their way onto the Internet.

Rumors also flew that Cutler had previously worked as a $400-an-hour escort. Late last year, Cutler posed nude for Playboy magazine for an undisclosed amount rumored to exceed $100,000. She also signed a book deal thought to have netted her an advance of around $300,000.

Cox, meanwhile, made a cottage industry of the scandal by making the late-night talking-head circuit. In one interview with Fox’s Tony Snow, she called Cutler “sick” and said she hoped Cutler would use whatever money she had made to seek psychiatric help.

Copyright © 1996-2006 Adnet Media

June 29th, 2006, 12:07 PM
I can just see Rove in some back room, running polls on the unpopularity of the Press and issuing the order:

"Go after the Times" ...

Bush Seeks to Use Media Leaks to His Advantage

Attack on Newspapers Continues as Some Democrats Accuse White House of Trying to Divert Attention

Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/28/AR2006062802180_pf.html)
By Charles Babington and Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 29, 2006

President Bush rallied Republicans with another attack on the media last night, in remarks that highlighted efforts at the White House and on Capitol Hill to gain momentum from recent disclosures about classified programs to fight terrorism.

Senior administration officials say the president was outraged by articles in the New York Times and other newspapers about a surveillance program in which the U.S. government has tapped international banking records for information about terrorist financing. But his comments at a Republican fundraiser in a St. Louis suburb yesterday, combined with new moves by GOP congressional leaders, showed how both are working to fan public anger and reap gains from the controversy during a midterm election year in which polls show they are running against stiff headwinds.

Democrats, for their part, denounced Republicans for trying to divert attention from issues such as the Iraq war and high gasoline prices, and some terrorism experts said the White House is exaggerating the damage.

Republican House leaders introduced a resolution yesterday condemning leakers and calling on the media and others to safeguard classified programs.

For the second time this week -- at an event on behalf of Sen. James M. Talent (R-Mo.) -- Bush attacked newspapers for disclosures he said make it harder for his administration to thwart terrorists.

"This program has been a vital tool in the war on terror," the president said, receiving a standing ovation. "There can be no excuse for anyone entrusted with vital intelligence to leak it and no excuse for any newspaper to print it."
Hours before Bush spoke, Democrats denounced what they saw as a White House-inspired campaign.

"This is all so people don't realize what else is going on," especially in Iraq, said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who is heading his party's efforts to regain control of the House in the November elections. "This is disingenuous of both the White House and House Republicans."

The White House dismissed such claims. "This is not press-bashing. This is a clear disagreement about a decision to reveal a classified program," White House counselor Dan Bartlett said in an e-mail exchange. "Are we supposed to just sit back and take it?"

Last week, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times reported that the banking surveillance program used a new interpretation of the Treasury Department's administrative authority to bypass traditional banking privacy protections, sweeping up large numbers of international money transfers in a bid to identify terrorist funding operations. The Washington Post quickly matched the reports, which were posted on Web sites Thursday night.

There is growing debate about whether the disclosures aided terrorists or added to the government's burden. Victor Comras, a retired diplomat and consultant on terrorism financing, said he finds it "doubtful" that the disclosure had much impact because many terrorists have taken steps in recent years to mask their transactions, aware they might be under surveillance.

"I can understand why people are upset when any classified information is leaked, but I wouldn't call this a major damage to our national security or to the war on terror," Comras said in an interview. "A terrorist would have to be pretty dumb not to know that this was happening."

Administration officials disputed such claims, saying there is a big difference between a terrorist thinking the government may be watching him and knowing exactly what the government is doing to monitor financial flows. In a letter to the New York Times posted on the Treasury Department's Web site, outgoing Secretary John W. Snow wrote, "In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails."

The House GOP resolution, scheduled for a vote today, takes aim at the media and at government workers who may have shared classified information. Republicans said the resolution will allow their members to register support for Bush's anti-terrorism efforts and the anger that many feel toward news organizations. They said it also is designed to force House Democrats to stand with the media or Bush's criticism of it -- a choice many would prefer to avoid.

The House action came a day after several GOP senators criticized the media -- the New York Times, in particular -- and suggested that reporters and editors should be prosecuted for disclosing classified information. Members of both parties agreed that the uproar would help the administration, at least temporarily, frame the national debate on terms that resonate favorably with its conservative electoral base.

The House resolution does not mention any news organization by name, a decision that resulted from closed-door GOP discussions in which some urged colleagues not to overdo media-bashing. It defends the legality and effectiveness of the financial transactions-monitoring program. It states that the House "expects the cooperation of all news media organizations in protecting the lives of Americans and the capability of the government to identify, disrupt, and capture terrorists by not disclosing classified intelligence programs such as the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program."

A House Democratic staff member said the phrase appears to infringe on the First Amendment's protection of a free press. Democrats were drafting an alternative resolution last night but privately conceded that Republicans probably would not allow a vote on it.

The GOP resolution, sponsored by Rep. Michael G. Oxley (Ohio), also states that "the disclosure of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program has unnecessarily complicated efforts by the United States Government to prosecute the war on terror and may have placed the lives of Americans in danger both at home and in many regions of the world." It "condemns the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by those persons responsible and expresses concern that the disclosure may endanger the lives of American citizens."

Staff writer Peter Baker in Clayton, Mo., contributed to this report.

&#169; 2006 The Washington Post Company

June 29th, 2006, 01:06 PM
LOOK! Over there!

An enemy of the state!!!!



June 30th, 2006, 12:12 PM
Gotta wonder if this article in today's NYTimes isn't a bit of "pay back" to the Bush Gang...

It could have been titled "How the Other 0.0000001 Per Cent Live" :

Weekends With the President's Men

Linda Spillers for The New York Times
There is a lens in the birdhouse at the driveway of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's
home at St. Michaels, Md.

NY TIMES (http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/06/30/travel/escapes/30michaels.html)
June 30, 2006

JUST an hour and a half from Washington, across the 4.3-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge, or less than 30 minutes in a government-issue Chinook helicopter, is the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the primly groomed waterside village of St. Michaels.

St. Michaels has begun to lure V.I.P.'s who, some boosters would have it, could propel it into the gilded realm of the Hamptons and Nantucket. But that will take a while. There's little for the young — just a few bars and no beaches or nightclubs — and these new householders are too circumspect and perhaps too old to be showcasing their excesses, baubles and abs.

One is Vice President Dick Cheney, 65, who paid $2.67 million last September for a house that resembles a wide, squat Mount Vernon. Another is his old friend Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, 73, who in 2003 paid $1.5 million for a brick Georgian that was last a bed-and-breakfast. Among other recognizable owners in the area are Tony Snow, President Bush's new press secretary; Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's presidential campaign manager in 2004; Nicholas Brady, President George H. W. Bush's treasury secretary; and John S. D. Eisenhower, a writer and historian and the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

St. Michaels, population 1,200 within the city limits and perhaps a thousand more in the same ZIP code, sits on the wrist of a peninsula that bends deep into Chesapeake Bay. With two broad clawlike fingers, spotted and wrinkled by coves and creeks that reach beyond the town and down to Tilghman Island and Nelson Point, it is a place of waterfront sunsets and white sails, of oysters and crabs, of birding, fishing and hunting, and of affluent retirees, tourists and weekenders. Most, like the Cheneys and Rumsfelds, are past 50.

With many less luminous who have made their marks in business, medicine, law, government and the military, St. Michaels is too proud and indifferent for celebrity gawking. "They're just people living in town," said the Hawaiian shirted bartender at the Carpenter Street Saloon, who thought giving his name would be indiscreet. "They're not the first important people living in town, and they're not the last. They're just here."

The town is beginning to contend, however, with 21st-century perils to its composure. After eight years of resistance, construction will soon start on a development that will bring around 250 new homes and swell the year-round population by about 50 percent. In summer, traffic is choking and decivilizing Talbot Street, the only road through town. Housing developments are crowding Tilghman Island, once almost exclusively home to fishermen — or watermen, as they're called.

The New York Times

One morning in May, Francis Zeglen put on a khaki windbreaker and his wife, Georgia, a turquoise sweater for a shopping stroll along Talbot. They were in a crosswalk when a light-brown pickup knocked them down.

Urged not to move, they were lying there blinking, Mr. Zeglen, 76, on his back, Mrs. Zeglen, 78, on her side. The Rev. Mark Nestlehutt, a tall young sailor and the rector of Christ Episcopal Church, hurried over, not solely on a spiritual mission. He is also chairman of the town's Advisory Committee for Traffic Planning and Pedestrian Friendly Streets — which, in a place with a speed limit of 25 miles an hour and few hot-blooded young drivers, they usually are.

The Zeglens were treated at a hospital in nearby Easton, he for a broken left arm, she for immobilizing bruises, and drove home to Philadelphia the next day. "I turned and looked," Mr. Zeglen said when he gave his own account of the accident, "and he just kept coming." The driver of the pickup was charged with failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. It had been a more eventful morning than most, the first pedestrian accident in 23 years — at least the first that the town manager, Cheril S. Thomas, could recall.

In St. Michaels, you also don't see much of the one-upping of Joneses or architectural bullying found in showier coastal resorts. The old farm families and the wealthy weekenders like the Rumsfelds and Cheneys look out over acres of lawn rolling down to the sea grass and their own private docks. But the homes are hidden down two-lane roads with cunning yellow signs on utility poles that say, menacingly and untruthfully, "No Outlet," and then down driveways shrouded by trees and lined with thick and impenetrable hedgerows.

The houses have names. Mr. Rumsfeld's is Mount Misery and is just across Rolles Creek from a house called Mount Pleasant. On four acres, with four bathrooms, five bedrooms and five fireplaces, built in 1804, the Rumsfeld house is just barely visible at the end of a gravel drive.

Thomas M. Crouch, a broker at the Coldwell Banker office in town, says one legend attributes the name to the original owner, said to have been a sad and doleful Englishman. His merrier brother then built a house, and to put him on, Mr. Crouch supposes, named it Mount Pleasant.

But there is some historical gravity to the name, too. By 1833, Mount Misery's owner was Edward Covey, a farmer notorious for breaking unruly slaves for other farmers. One who wouldn't be broken was Frederick Douglass, then 16 and later the abolitionist orator. Covey assaulted him, so Douglass beat him up and escaped. Today, where the drive begins, Mount Misery seems a congenial place, with a white mailbox with newspaper delivery sleeves attached, a big American flag fluttering from a post by a split-rail fence and a tall, one-hole birdhouse of the sort made for bluebirds — although the lens in the hole suggests another function.

Less than two miles from the Rumsfelds', past Southwind, where the late James A. Michener wrote much of his epic novel "Chesapeake," Church Neck Road dead-ends at private Fuller Road on the left. About a quarter-mile up, past grazing cattle and sheep and four other homes, is Vice President Cheney's nine-acre place, Ballintober.

The house, built in 1930, is rambling and white. It has a five-car garage, a pool, stately formal gardens, a laundry chute and large, glass-walled waterside rooms for entertaining. Coldwell Banker's real estate listing called it an "individually designed dwelling." It is also unapproachable. "The last time I went up Fuller Road," Katie Edmonds, an agent at Meredith Real Estate, said, "S.U.V.'s came out of the woods at me."

Neighbors also complain about federal security agents' shutting down Church Neck Road to let the Cheneys pass in their speeding brigades of shiny black S.U.V.'s. But they don't complain much, because the newcomers are thought to be good for property values. If the Cheneys and Rumsfelds are willing to buy here, after all, who wouldn't be?

St. Michaels was traditionally a center of farming, boat building, crabbing and tonging for oysters. For 100 years, it has also attracted older, upper-crust retirees from Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia who buy waterfront sites and, more recently, century-old houses downtown.

The second-home owners cannot vote in local elections, but their needs, whimsies and appetites set the tone of the town. Approaching St. Michaels, Route 33 — the only way in or out — passes a lumberyard's lawn full of rocking chairs. In the town itself, where 33 becomes Talbot Street, a flag hanging from one store declares, "Quilters welcome." There are at least 20 bed-and-breakfasts downtown or nearby, no neon signs, no stoplights and, except for the plants and waist-high pink ceramic flamingos that the Acme supermarket features in front, no obstructions blocking sidewalks.

Except for the Acme, shops on Talbot cater to people with money to burn: the Calico Gallery, St. Michaels Candy Company, the Cultured Pearl, the Scented Garden, Rings & Things, Gourmet-by-the-Bay (an upscale food shop and caterer that has made Thanksgiving pies for the Rumsfelds), Justine's ice cream parlor, Flying Fred's Gifts for Pets. Bistro St. Michaels and 208 Talbot are expensive restaurants.

Only Big Al's — an emphatically lowbrow seafood and souvenir shop where Joyce Rumsfeld, the secretary's wife, comes in for bushels of cooked blue crabs — breaks with the Laura Ashley look of St. Michaels. Two small picnic tables sit out front, and the proprietor, Al Poore, offers sandwiches of crab cake for $5.95, soft crab for $6.95, oysters for $5.95 and fish for $4.95. Mr. Poore, who is 71 and about 6 foot 4 with a thicket of tousled gray hair, sinks like a ball in a catcher's mitt into the cavernous black leather easy chair in his memento-strewn office at the rear of the store. He opened it in 1968. "When I came here," he said, "there was one place where you could stay overnight. Now we've got one on every corner."

Merchants say they're wary of intruding on the privacy of the Cheneys and Rumsfelds, but they do it anyway. "I'm a businessman," said Mr. Poore, a registered Democrat who voted twice for George W. Bush. "I probably mention them to customers five or six times a week. They bring a lot of prestige."

Paul Gardner, the front office manager at the $250-to-$700-a-night Inn at Perry Cabin, a plush waterside resort at the far end of town, said, "We've had Rumsfeld in for dinner." Once last year, the Cheney Chinook landed near the inn's laundry and maintenance facility. "We're very pleased to have them in the area," he said.

Some people view the new neighbors less cordially. On Railroad Avenue, which the Cheneys and Rumsfelds use to reach Church Neck, Cassandra Harrison, a mother of two who waits tables and cleans houses, was resting on the stoop of her one-story white ranch house.

She is grateful that the air space above the Cheneys' house is blocked. "It's a no-fly zone, and that's good," she said. "But I'm not happy. I don't think society's liking them so much." Ms. Harrison, 23, voted for the first time in 2004, she said, "just because I did not want him. I don't think that they tell us the truth."

But that is a minority view in Talbot County, which went 61 percent for Mr. Bush in 2000 and 58 percent in 2004. Support for the war in Iraq is waning here as it is most everywhere else. But the great majority of Mr. Nestlehutt's 790 parishioners, he said, are "tolerant," live-and-let-live urban Republicans, not hard-core social conservatives. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld, he said, seem to fit right in.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

July 2nd, 2006, 07:48 PM
Secrecy, Security, the President and the Press

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/opinion/02pub-ed.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)
By BYRON CALAME (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/thepubliceditor/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
The Public Editor
July 2, 2006

THE Bush administration's unusually harsh attacks on The New York Times for exposing a secret banking-data surveillance program have turned a glaring spotlight on the paper's decision to publish the article.

President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Republican legislators have singled out The Times in recent days for disclosing the counterterrorism program, even though The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal published articles the same day. Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky called on the attorney general to investigate The New York Times for treason.

The flood of reader e-mails reacting to the June 23 article has left hundreds of messages in various newsroom in-boxes at The Times. Roughly 1,000 e-mails have come to me, about 85 percent of them critical of the decision to publish the story and a large fraction venomous. It was time to take a close look at the handling of the article in search of answers.

My close look convinced me that Bill Keller, the executive editor, was correct in deciding that Times readers deserved to read about the banking-data surveillance program. And the growing indications that this and other financial monitoring operations were hardly a secret to the terrorist world minimizes the possibility that the article made America less safe.

The banking-data surveillance program, set up in 2001, is run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department. It provided access to records of transactions routed through a Belgian consortium by banks and financial institutions around the world. More than 11 million transactions involving about $6 trillion are routed daily through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift.

So what were the most solid reasons to publish the story?

There was a significant question as to how secret the program was after five years. "Hundreds, if not thousands, of people know about this," Mr. Keller said he was told by an official who talked to him on condition of anonymity. The 25 bankers from numerous nations on the Swift board of directors, and their predecessors going back to 2001, knew about the arrangement. So did some consortium executives and staff members — a group that probably expanded during this period. Starting in 2003, Swift representatives had to be stationed alongside any government intelligence official searching the data.

Further support for the conclusion that the Swift program hasn't remained totally hidden from terrorists, or anyone else, emerged last week. A former State Department official who has served on a United Nations counterterrorism group pointed to a 2002 United Nations report noting that the United States was monitoring international financial transactions. Swift and similar organizations were mentioned in the publicly available report, although there were no details. "The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions," the report noted.

The Times's June 23 article "awoke the general public" to the Swift program and "in that sense, it was truly new news," Victor Comras, the former State Department official, wrote on The Counterterrorism Blog (http://counterterrorismblog.org/2006/06/reports_of_us_monitoring_of_sw.php) last week. "But," he added, "the information was fairly well known by terrorism financing experts back in 2002."

The administration has sometimes invited press attention to its effort to track terrorist financing. In September 2003, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and a team of his aides took reporters from The Times and other papers on a six-day tour on a military aircraft "to show off the department's efforts," Mr. Keller and Dean Baquet, the editor of The Los Angeles Times, noted in a joint Op-Ed commentary that appeared yesterday. The aides "discussed many sensitive details of their monitoring efforts, hoping they would appear in print and demonstrate the administration's relentlessness against the terrorist threat," according to the two editors.

Another reason Times editors were right to proceed with the 3,550-word Swift story was the skimpy Congressional oversight of the program. Secrecy is vital for intelligence and national security programs, but so is oversight by the courts or elected legislators. The Swift program, however, doesn't seem to have any specific Congressional approval or formal authorization. The Treasury Department has not provided a list of who in Congress was informed, or when, The Times has reported.

Eric Lichtblau, one of the two reporters who wrote the Swift story, told me the administration briefed a limited number of Congressional leaders — apparently from both parties, but not the full intelligence or banking committees — toward the beginning of the program. It wasn't until the Treasury Department learned that The Times was working on the story, Mr. Lichtblau said, that the administration apparently briefed all members of the intelligence committees. Whether there are official standards established for the Swift program or not, the weak Congressional oversight over the past five years deserved public scrutiny.

Temporary emergency measures cloaked in government secrecy can too easily become permanent shortcuts. That's why oversight is important. It is also a reason to publish the article. The reservations expressed by some of the 20 current and former government officials and industry executives who were disturbed enough to talk to The Times were based on this concern: "What they viewed as an urgent, temporary measure had become permanent nearly five years later without specific Congressional approval or formal authorization," in the words of the article.

The most fundamental reason for publishing the article, of course, was the obligation of a free press to monitor government and other powerful institutions in our society. "Our default position — our job — is to publish information if we are convinced it is fair and accurate," Mr. Keller wrote in a letter to readers posted online last weekend, "and our biggest failures have generally been when we failed to dig deep enough or to report fully enough."
He added:

"The question we start with as journalists is not 'why publish?' but 'why would we withhold information of significance?' We have sometimes done so, holding stories or editing out details that could serve those hostile to the U.S. But we need a compelling reason to do so."

What about the administration's reasons for demanding that The Times not publish?

Mr. Keller said the "central argument" senior officials gave against publishing the Swift article was that international bankers would stop cooperating. In his weekend letter, he cited two reasons that argument didn't stop him from publishing the story: First, the consortium provides data to comply with administrative subpoenas issued by the Treasury Department — a legal obligation. "Second, if, as the administration says, the program is legal, highly effective, and well protected against invasion of privacy, the bankers should have little trouble defending it." So far, Swift hasn't publicly indicated any intention to stop cooperating.

For me, the most substantial argument against running the story was the acknowledgment that the Swift program was letter-of-the-law legal, had helped catch some terrorists and had a clean record on privacy abuse. But full-bore oversight would have had to be part of that picture to make a convincing case that the program deserved to continue in secrecy, with its access to Swift's mother lode of financial data.

Often obscured in the past week's hot rhetoric over The Times's decision to publish the Swift article were the occasions when the paper's editors have chosen to hold or modify a story when warned by government officials that lives or national security might be endangered. "Few people are aware when we decide to hold an article," noted Mr. Keller and Mr. Baquet in their joint commentary. Apart from The Times's decision to hold the December story about the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping for more than a year, it turns out the paper has decided not to publish stories that "might have jeopardized efforts to protect vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear material," according to the joint commentary. The Times has also held stories about "highly sensitive counterterrorism initiatives that are still in operation," the Op-Ed piece noted.

"There is no magic formula, no neat metric for either the public's interest or the dangers of publishing sensitive information," the two editors concluded. "We make our best judgment."

The best judgment of these two editors served their readers well in the case of the Swift story. In the face of intense administration pressure in a country that's unusually polarized politically, they correctly decided to make sure their readers were informed about the banking-data surveillance.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

July 2nd, 2006, 08:03 PM
Feinstein: I Wasn’t Briefed On Bank Records Program Until Administration Knew NYT Was Publishing

thinkprogress (http://thinkprogress.org/2006/07/02/feinstein-briefed/)
July 2, 2006

During the last week, President Bush and other members of the administration have lashed out at the New York Times for printing a story about a government program that monitors bank records. Bush has insisted that Congress was briefed appropriately on the program (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/06/20060626-2.html):

Q Sir, several news organizations have reported about a program that allows the administration to look into the bank records of certain suspected terrorists…if neither the courts, nor the legislature is allowed to know about these programs, how can you feel confident the checks and balances system works?

THE PRESIDENT: Congress was briefed…And the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America. What we were doing was the right thing. Congress was aware of it…

Today on ABC, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that she wasn’t briefed until after it was clear the New York Times was publishing the story. Watch it (http://images1.americanprogress.org/il80web20037/ThinkProgress/2006/feinstein.320.240.mov):

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/feinstein.jpg (http://images1.americanprogress.org/il80web20037/ThinkProgress/2006/feinstein.320.240.mov)

The administration is required under law to brief the entire intelligence committee (http://thinkprogress.org/2006/01/19/crs-report/) on all intelligence programs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House said they briefed the Congress on this matter and there is no law called into question. Do you believe that a law is called into question and that this program might have been illegal?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I’m on the Intelligence Committee. I can tell you when I was briefed and when the committee was briefed — and that was when it became apparent that the New York Times had the story and was going to run it. And that’s when and why they came to us and briefed us.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you knew nothing about it before the New York Times was asking questions?

FEINSTEIN: That’s correct.

© 2005-2006 Center for American Progress Action Fund (http://americanprogressaction.org/)

August 7th, 2006, 02:20 PM
UPDATE: Reuters Dismisses Photog Over Doctored Pictures

Editor & Publisher (http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002950988)
By E&P Staff
Published: August 06, 2006 5:30 PM ET updated Monday

NEW YORK Reuters admitted Sunday that it had published a doctored photograph of Beirut after an Israel strike on Saturday morning, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported. It said that it has fired Adnan Hajj, the Lebanese photographer who submitted the image.

On Monday, it added further charges, saying he had manipulated at least one other photo -- and that all of his recent pictures had been deleted from the news agency's data base.

Reuters also said today it had put in place a tighter editing procedure for images of the Middle East conflict to ensure that no photograph from the region would be transmitted to subscribers without review by the most senior editor on the Reuters Global Pictures Desk, according to a Reuters spokeswoman.

“There is no graver breach of Reuters standards for our photographers than the deliberate manipulation of an image," said Tom Szlukovenyi, Reuters Global Picture Editor, in a statement. "Reuters has zero tolerance for any doctoring of pictures and constantly reminds its photographers, both staff and freelance, of this strict and unalterable policy."

He added that the fact that Hajj had altered two of his photographs meant none of his work for Reuters could be trusted either by the news service or its users.

It all started with just one contested image, brought to light by bloggers: In the original picture, thin smoke can be seen rising over Beirut after a recent Israeli air strike; in the published photograph, thick, black smoke billows. "The photographer has denied deliberately attempting to manipulate the image, saying that he was trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under," said Moira Whittle, the head of public relations for Reuters, on Sunday.

"This represents a serious breach of Reuters' standards and we shall not be accepting or using pictures taken by him," Whittle said in a statement issued in London.

Hajj worked for Reuters as a non-staff freelance, or contributing photographer, from 1993 until 2003 and again since April 2005.

On Sunday, Reuters removed the retouched shot and replaced it with the original. The next day, it reported finding the other altered image.

Its Monday statement, after describing the flap over the first image, reads: "An immediate enquiry began into Hajj’s other work. It found on Monday that a second photograph, of an Israeli F-16 fighter over Nabatiyeh, southern Lebanon and dated Aug 2, had been doctored to increase the number of flares dropped by the plane from one to three." (see below)

© 2006 VNU eMedia Inc. All rights reserved.

Reuters Doctoring Beirut Photos (Updated)

JAWA Report (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/184203.php)
August 06, 2006

Critical Update II: Definitive proof that another Adnan Hajj photo is doctored (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/184206.php). And by definitive, I mean "coffin meet nail" definitive.

Critical Update: Reuters admits photo doctored, suspends another employee for death threat (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/184205.php).

Scroll down for other updates.

The photo below is attributed to Adnan Hajj, of the Reuters news agency. The photo alleges to show smoke covering the Beirut sky. The problem with the photo is that it is that it has been doctored to make it appear that an Israeli missile strike did much more damage than it actually did.

Adnan Hajj also took the photos of dead children at Qana. Allegations have arisen that the Qana photos were part of a staged event (http://www.jacksnewswatch.com/category/jacks-comment/) put on by Hezbollah operatives.

There is no doubt that the photo below is doctored. And not very well. It uses a common Photoshop technique called cloning, where one part of a picture is copied and replicated onto another part of the photo. The billowing smoke and several buildings in the photo are clones of other parts of the photo.

Note the duplicated "photo-shopped" image in the RED box



little green footballs (http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21956_Reuters_Doctoring_Photos_from_Beirut&only)

The possible original for this faked photo has been discovered. And it was taken on July 26, 2006, credited to the Associated Press, by Ben Curtis: Yahoo! News Photo (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/060726/481/cd59bb2bdbbe4a1db41833df05ba7975). (Hat tip: LGF readers.)


Notice the lower right area of this photo, and compare to lower left of the doctored photo. Notice how all the buildings line up perfectly, including the oddly shaped building on the horizon. I’m putting together another overlay to make it painfully obvious.


Another manipulated Reuters image from Hajj ...

Reuters/Adnan Hajj
An Israeli F-16 warplane fires missiles
during an air strike on Nabatiyeh in
southern Lebanon, August 2, 2006.


Jawa Report in the News (Rusty's Trophy)

August 07, 2006


August 7th, 2006, 02:29 PM
Why do they have to go to so much trouble?

Look at the smoke pattern, the fact that it looks like it was replicated in little puffs. This guy does not know how to Photoshop-Fu at all!!!!!

No scaling!
No inversion!


I like his excuse though, that he was just "trying to remove dust marks and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under". You know, it is a biatch when it is too dark to see anything on your laptop and you end up copying buildings around and making huge smears of smoke appear where there were "dust marks".

BTW, how do you get a "dust mark" on a digital photo?