Saturday :: Oct 15, 2005

Miller's Mea Culpa And Convenient Memory Lapses To Protect Cheney

by Steve

Following up on Eriposte's post below, the long-awaited “Come to Jesus” account by Judy Kneepads of her role in Plamegate and in deceiving the American public over Iraqi WMDs have now hit Sunday’s Times. Aside from the not-hard-to-see-coming news that Miller will be going on an indefinite leave of absence (read: “I’m going to write my book, and then you suckas at the Times can worry about your own reputations”), Miller admits that she was wrong about the WMDs. Raw Story also has the news that Miller will actually be resigning from the Times at some point, and that she will leave behind a newsroom that won’t mind seeing the door hit her in the ass on her way out.

But when you read the story that appears in tomorrow’s paper, you see some items that are noteworthy:

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."
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.
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.

No, you dipshit, your entire paper and reputation was at risk, and if you are too blind or too much of an enabling moron to see that, then you have no business running a business, let alone one of the major papers in the world. So now we know that Miller is still hiding her second source from Ftizgerald, and both the paper’s Executive Editor and its publisher were willing to let a single reporter take the paper’s legacy and reputation into the toilet without knowing what for.

And have the news professionals in the newsroom taken this debacle kindly? No.

Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."
Inside the newsroom, she was a divisive figure. A few colleagues refused to work with her.
"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."
"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 investigative editor, recalled 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.' "

Miller now does a mea culpa over her WMD stories:

"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."

Tell that to the Gold Star mothers, you weasily bitch. You did more than rely upon sources; you became part of the propaganda, and a simple “my sources were wrong” ain’t going to cut it.

If you are to believe these accounts, however, Miller didn’t know who Plame was prior to these discussions with White House officials, since there is a paper trail that indicates Miller got Plame’s name wrong several times. This may be why Fitzgerald has told her she is no longer a target, and why the White House is doing all the sweating now.

But then there is evidence that Miller is lying even in what she is telling her own paper now, which explains why she is leaving the Times and would explain why the paper is now seemingly ending its relationship with her.

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 a story 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.

It is also clear from reading this account that Miller is now at odds with Scooter Libby on whether or not he wanted her to testify. According to Miller now, she believe that Libby was sending her a message not to testify.

So read the accounts for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. You can argue from reading this that Miller is still trying to protect the White House and herself, and thinks she will walk away just fine, leaving behind a news institution that let one reporter destroy its credibility. Yet her account of what Fitzgerald asked her in several grand jury appearances, as well as her inability to remember the second source where she got the name "Valerie Flame" (a made-up after-the-fact concocted reference if ever I heard one) are at best implausible, coming from someone who is supposedly intelligent and can recite complex scientific facts about WMDs.

She's still lying and protecting someone else, hoping to get away with it while her soon-to-be former employer watches its reputation go down the toilet.

Steve :: 4:04 PM :: Comments (26) :: TrackBack (6) :: Digg It!