Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Judith Miller Is No John Peter Zenger

(Updated 11/10/05 1 AM)

Like the Hall and Oates song...

She's gone.

Retired, fired, least maybe The Times might learn a little bit from this whole sorry-ass affair. Judith Miller's reign at The Times should have ended over two years ago before she ever even met Scooter Libby in June of 2003 during the first stop on the slander Joseph Wilson Campaign.

Judy wanted to use space on The Times' Op-Ed page to answer some of her inhouse critics. Instead she's been relegated to the Letters to the Editor page, and her letter will appear on Thursday beneath the heading, "Judith Miller's Farewell." The Times' Katharine Q. Seelye gives us a preview:

She noted that even before going to jail, she had "become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war." She said she regretted "that I was not permitted to pursue answers" to questions about those intelligence failures.

Yeah...that's too bad.

Judy didn't get a chance to "pursue answers" because she was reassigned from WMD coverage shortly after returning from her "security clearanced" embedment in Iraq.

The world has been robbed. If only Judith Miller had been given a chance to - even though she once bragged that she was "proved fucking right" - rectify wrongs.

See ya at Fox, Judy. God...what a boner in The Times in Seelye's story:

Ms. Miller was released from jail Sept. 29 after being locked up longer than any reporter in American history for refusing to testify and reveal her sources in the leak case.

John Peter Zenger spent eight months in jail in the 18th century. If The Times isn't familiar with Zenger then...


As Jay Rosen and Raw Story put it: In her very last move, Judith Miller scooped The New York Times.

She posted her letter at her Website hours before The Times posted it (and The Times hooked her up with a link to

That's not very nice.

Here's Thomis Feyer, letters editor of The Times:

"A few important ground rules: Letters should be kept to about 150 words. (Not enough space? Well, the Gettysburg Address was only about 250 words.) They should be exclusive to The Times and respond to an article that appeared in the newspaper in the last week."

In her letter, Miller again rues the world's loss of a Judy Miller investigation into why she (and others) became corrupted by "faulty intelligence...that helped lead our country to war."

Even before I went to jail, I had become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war. Several articles I wrote or co-wrote were based on this faulty intelligence, and in May 2004, The Times concluded in an editors' note that its coverage should have reflected greater editorial and reportorial skepticism.

In a commencement speech I delivered at Barnard College in 2003, a year before that note was published, I asked whether the administration's prewar W.M.D. intelligence was merely wrong, or was it exaggerated or even falsified. I believed then, and still do, that the answer to bad information is more reporting. I regret that I was not permitted to pursue answers to the questions I raised at Barnard. Their lack of answers continues to erode confidence in both the press and the government.

Hmmmmmm. Let's take a look at the part of her May 20, 2003 Barnard College Commencement devoted to the "questions":

I think there are other questions, too, that the Bush administration will now have to answer: Will the weapons hunters find the weapons of mass destruction programs that were cited repeatedly as the major justification for the invasion? Could inspectors have uncovered the dual use equipment that was hidden – sometimes in plain sight – throughout the country without a war? Were the concerns about anthrax clouds over our cities exaggerations? Were they justified by what we knew then, as opposed to what we know now? Was the intelligence that produced them politically distorted? Were those who wanted to go to war deceiving themselves about Saddam’s capabilities? Was the war really necessary, not just for Iraq, but to protect American national security?

When I return permanently home to the U.S., I will be among those trying to find answers to these questions – questions I wondered about so often in the field. Now I may have impressions, but they are only that.


"Could inspectors have uncovered the dual use equipment that was hidden – sometimes in plain sight – throughout the country without a war?"

Yep. Judy's work on all of that will be missed.

It's too bad that Judy didn't think to ask Scooter Libby any of those questions when she met him a month later.


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