Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bleier: Letter re Dowd: Fire Judy Miller: Dieugenio, more

Note: See below for Maureen Dowd's column.

Letter to the Editor
Saturday, October 22, 2005

To the Editor:

Re:Maureen Dowd, "Woman of Mass Destruction," op-ed, 10.22.05

Thanks to Maureen Dowd for breaking the Omerta code at the NYT and calling for the belated firing of Judy Miller so that she can not longer to continue to destroy the reputation of the NYT and the cause of world peace.

It’s very difficult to fault Dowd’s fine column. Yet a quibbler might wonder why Dowd left out Miller’s critical admission that two days before Novak’s article exposing Valerie Plame in the Washington Post, Miller “might have called others about Mr. Wilson’s wife.”

As Mark Whitney has pointed out (Miller’s Confession” this suggests that Miller might have been the only “reporter” who received Plame’s name from Libby and that she might have been the White House’s key agent, enabling what might appear to be criminal conspiracy to make public the name of a CIA agent for purposes of revenge and intimidation on the Iraq WMD story.

If intimidation and silence on the truth about Iraq’s WMDs was Miller’s and the White House’s purpose, it seems to have worked, since there was little or no accurate reporting on the subject in the run up to the March 2003 invasion. As a result, most people, even left wing British MP George Galloway, by his own admission, among millions of others, believed White House and Downing Street propaganda.


Ronald Bleier



The New York Times
October 22, 2005
Op-Ed Columnist
Woman of Mass Destruction
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 - have never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times's 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 W.M.D. 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 Senator Bob Graham, now retired, 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 acknowledged in The Times's 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 W.M.D. "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography.

The Times's story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said yesterday in an e-mail note to the staff, 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 refused 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.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

See also Alex Cockburn's hilarious article on "When Divas Collide" at

This LA Times article gives an important insight into Libby as the driving force behind why the Bush WH went on its anti-Wilson vendetta.,0,7741636.story

Bush Critic Became Target of Libby, Former Aides Say
Cheney's chief of staff reportedly sought an aggressive campaign against Wilson.
By Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger
Times Staff Writers

October 21, 2005

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was so angry about the public statements of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a Bush administration critic married to an undercover CIA officer, that he monitored all of Wilson's television appearances and urged the White House to mount an aggressive public campaign against him, former aides say.

Those efforts by the chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, began shortly after Wilson went public with his criticisms in 2003. But they continued into last year — well after the Justice Department began an investigation in September 2003, into whether administration officials had illegally disclosed the CIA operative's identity, say former White House aides.


Here are the first few paragraphs (and a link) to an important article in From the Wilderness, suggesting that Judith Miller, acting as a White House operative, played a key role in a possible criminal conspiracy.


part 2 of 2

Jim DiEugenio

Special to From the Wilderness

© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications,

August 9, 2005 1500 PST (FTW): In the first part of this article I outlined the “working background” to the investigation of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. Ostensibly hired to investigate the exposure of CIA undercover officer Valerie Plame, Fitzgerald has uncovered the apparatus used to manufacture the false pretenses for the American invasion of Iraq by the PNAC/neocon cabal in control of the White House. This constitutes an investigator’s relevant and working background. I will now outline who I believe are the prime figures in his investigation, the suspects he has cases against, some of the evidence, and some of the charges he may be able to draw up.

Let’s begin with Robert Novak, the man who started it all with a column he wrote in July of 2003 exposing Plame. Many have asked: Why did Fitzgerald charge reporters Matt Cooper and Judith Miller, but not charge Novak? I believe Novak has been talking. Which does not mean he will walk. The rightwing reporter has three problems. First he has told different stories about his conversations with “two senior administration officials” and two CIA sources, one official one unofficial. Second, he must reveal his second administration source other than Rove. Third, and probably the most serious: Was Novak part of a planned leaking that incorporated a cover story for both the reporter(s) involved and the administration officials? In other words, did someone get in contact with Novak first, tell him to call Rove, tell him what to ask, and alert him what Rove would say in reply, thereby resulting in a story which would reveal precisely what the perpetrators wanted?

There is some evidence for this scenario. First, Rove and Novak have been friends for years, at least since 1992 when Rove was fired during the campaign of Bush Sr. At that time he leaked a story smearing Robert Mossbacher, a financial backer of Bush, to his pal Novak. They then both tried to lie their way out of it. Also, the reported reply by Rove to Novak is interesting. Novak says he got the information about Plame from another source first. He then repeated it to Rove who said, “Oh, you heard that too.” This response suggests that Novak was attempting to provide Rove with a built-in legal defense. For if this actually occurred then Rove did not provide the information exposing Plame to Novak; he merely confirmed it. Thus, at trial Rove would have some form of a technical defense. The problem here for Novak is that if this is what he did, and Fitzgerald can pierce it, this would open him up to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

This brings us to another journalist, the one who is already in jail. The case of Judith Miller is more fascinating than Novak’s. And, as I will try to explain here, it is probably even more important to Fitzgerald. To fully understand that potential importance, we must digress a bit to fill in some history about the celebrated and controversial New York Times reporter. And we must go back even farther than the Bush family wars against Iraq.



See also FAIR's most recent summary article on Judy Miller ( which helps define Sulzberger's role in smoothing Miller's way past NYT editors (as does the Public Editor's column in the 10.23.05, NYT. Byron Calame reminds us that 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.") Interestingly, the FAIR article mentions the Miller quote above admitting she may have spread the word to other journalists about Valerie Plame, but FAIR doesn't follow up on Miller's possible criminal liability in the case and her central role as a Bush administration operative making the case for the Iraq war.

Byron Calame has also called for Judy Miller to be fired.

Note also that Judy Miller's connections to right wing Israeli lobby think tanks and her possible connections to Israeli intelligence are not covered in any of these articles. --RB