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    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 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 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 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 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 of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

    But Mr. Libby was already defending Vice President Dick Cheney, 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 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, 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 during the Monica Lewinsky 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.

    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 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 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 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)

    "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 2005The New York Times Company
    Last edited by lofter1; December 1st, 2005 at 11:55 AM.

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    After 'NY Times' Probe:
    Keller Must Fire Miller,
    and Apologize to Readers

    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?

  3. #3
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    TimesSelective: Judy-Culpa Raises More Questions Than It Answers... [UPDATED]

    Arianna Huffington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Judy Miller: A Victory for Journalism?

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

    Here are some more problems about Miller as a journalist:

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

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

    And here are some questions for Miller's editors:

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

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

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

    Is Anybody Clearer Now About Why Miller Went to Jail?

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

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

    Contrary to this stance, it becomes obvious from both Times pieces that Miller was not standing on any lofty principle when she went to jail. As soon as criminal contempt charges or the empanelment of a new grand jury became real possibilities, she chose to do what she could have done before going to jail: reach out to Libby to get a verbal confirmation from him. Even Sulzberger, Judy's staunchest supporter, can no longer utter a ringing endorsement of her: "Maybe a deal was possible 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.

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    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
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; October 19th, 2005 at 11:33 PM.

  5. #5
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    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.

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    The Miller Mess:
    Lingering Issues Among the Answers

    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 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.

    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 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 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 2005The New York Times Company

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    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.

  8. #8



    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.

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    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.
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; October 24th, 2005 at 10:46 AM.

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    Prosecutor's Progress Is Rare for Leak Inquiries

    New YorkTimes
    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, 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 was seeking to obtain uranium from Niger.

    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 chief of staff, and Karl Rove, 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 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 during his investigation of President Bill Clinton, 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.

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    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.

  12. #12
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    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

  13. #13
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    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¢

  14. #14
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Look who's back...

    Blogged by Brad 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 in support of Ann Coulter's recent posting of private information of a BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger 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 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 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 -- has never been explained. Gannon/Guckert had no previous journalistic experience before being granted access as journalist to the White House....

    (more at link: )

  15. #15
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    Jeff who?

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