January 2, 1948 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Ohio State University
Barnard College of Columbia University
Judith Miller (born January 2, 1948) is an American journalist, formerly of the New York Times Washington bureau. Her coverage of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program both before and after the 2003 invasion generated much controversy. A number of stories she wrote while working for The New York Times later were deemed to be inaccurate or simply false by her employers, and she resigned.
Miller was later involved in disclosing Valerie Plame's identity as CIA personnel. When asked to name her sources, Miller invoked reporter's privilege and refused to reveal her sources in the CIA leak. Miller retired from her job at the New York Times in November 2005. Later she was a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. She is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. On December 29, 2010, numerous media outlets reported that she had signed on as a contributing writer to the conservative magazine Newsmax.
Early life and education 
Born in New York City to a Jewish father and an Irish Catholic mother, Judith Miller grew up in Miami and Los Angeles, where she graduated from Hollywood High School. Her father, Bill Miller, was the owner of a night club in New Jersey and later in Las Vegas. Her sister Susan has a degree in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her half-brother Jimmy Miller was a record producer during the late 1960s and early 1970s, working in support of the Rolling Stones, Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and Delaney and Bonnie, among others.
Judith Miller attended Ohio State University where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She graduated from Barnard College in 1969 and received a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 1971, while at Princeton, Miller traveled to Jerusalem to research a paper. She became fascinated with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and spent the rest of the summer traveling for the first time to Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. As a correspondent for The Progressive and National Public Radio, Miller turned her academic interest into a professional one, traveling to the region and cultivating a network of sources. In 1993, she married Jason Epstein, an editor and publisher.
New York Times career 
Anthrax hoax victim 
On October 12, 2001, Miller opened an anthrax hoax letter mailed to her New York Times office. The 2001 anthrax attacks had begun occurring in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, with anthrax-laced letters sent to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News and the New York Post, all in New York City, as well as the National Enquirer in Boca Raton, Florida. Two additional letters (with a higher grade of anthrax) were sent on October 9, 2001, to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy in Washington. Twenty-two people were infected; five died. In 2008, the government's investigation of these mailings focused on Bruce Ivins, who later committed suicide. The official view is that Ivins acted alone, though this conclusion remains a point of controversy.
Miller was the only major U.S. media reporter, and the New York Times the only major U.S. media organization, to be victimized by a fake anthrax letter in the fall of 2001. Miller had reported extensively on the subject of biological threats and had co-authored, with Stephen Engelberg and William Broad, a book on bio-terrorism, Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War which was published on October 2, 2001. Miller co-authored an article on Pentagon plans to develop a more potent version of weaponized anthrax, "U.S. Germ Warfare Research Pushes Treaty Limits", published in the New York Times on September 4, 2001, weeks before the first anthrax mailings. Miller also participated in a senior-level bio-terror attack simulation on Oklahoma City conducted on June 22 and June 23, 2001, called "Operation Dark Winter"; her role was media reporter/observer.
Islamic charities search leak 
Shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government was considering adding the Holy Land Foundation to a list of organizations with suspected links to terrorism and was planning to search the premises of the organization. The information about the impending raid was given to Miller by a confidential source. On December 3, 2001, Miller telephoned the Holy Land Foundation for comment, and the New York Times published an article in the late edition papers and on its website that day. The next day, the government searched HLF's offices. These occurrences led to a lawsuit brought by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, with prosecutors claiming that Miller and her colleague Philip Shenon had queried this Islamic charity, and another, in ways that made them aware of the planned searches.
New York Times career: 2002–2005 
At the New York Times, Miller wrote on security issues, particularly about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Many of these stories later turned out to be false. As Salon.com noted:
"She was hyping bullshit stories about Iraq's WMD capabilities as far back as 1998, and in the run-up to the war, her front-page scoops were cited by the Bush administration as evidence that Saddam needed to be taken out, right away... Lying exile grifter Ahmad Chalabi fed her the worst of the nonsense designed to push America into toppling Saddam Hussein (and giving Iraq to him), and she pushed that nonsense into the newspaper of record. She got everything wrong."
On September 7, 2002, Miller and fellow New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon reported the interception of metal tubes bound for Iraq. Her front-page story quoted unnamed "American officials" and "American intelligence experts" who said the tubes were intended to be used to enrich nuclear material, and cited unnamed "Bush administration officials" who claimed that in recent months, Iraq "stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb". Miller added that
"Mr. Hussein's dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq's push to improve and expand Baghdad's chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war."
Shortly after Miller's article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld all appeared on television and pointed to Miller's story as a contributory motive for going to war. Miller said of the controversy, "[M]y job isn't to assess the government's information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of the New York Times what the government thought about Iraq's arsenal." Maureen Dowd and others have criticized this position, believing that a crucial function of a journalist is independently to assess information, to question sources, and to analyze information before reporting it.
Miller later claimed, based on second-hand statements from the military unit she was embedded with, that WMDs had been found in Iraq. This again was widely repeated in the press. "Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun", Miller said on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "What they've found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we've called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions." This turned out to be false.
On May 26, 2004, a week after the U.S. government apparently severed ties with Ahmed Chalabi, a Times editorial acknowledged that some of that newspaper's coverage in the run-up to the war had relied too heavily on Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles bent on regime change. It also regretted that "information that was controversial [was] allowed to stand unchallenged". While the editorial rejected "blame on individual reporters", others noted that ten of the twelve flawed stories discussed had been written or co-written by Miller.
Miller reacted angrily to criticism of her pre-war reporting. In a May 27, 2004, article in Salon, published the day after the Times mea culpa, James C. Moore quoted her: "You know what ... I was proved fucking right. That's what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again.' But I was proved fucking right." This quotation was originally in relation to another Miller story, wherein she indicated that trailers found in Iraq had been proven to be mobile weapons labs. That too was later shown to be untrue. It was alleged later in Editor and Publisher that, while Miller's reporting "frequently does not meet published Times standards", she was not sanctioned and was given a freer rein than other reporters because she consistently delivered frequent front page scoops for the paper by cultivating top-ranking sources.
Two influential voices within the New York Times itself soon weighed in, attacking the accuracy of Miller's reporting and the liberties she took in the sourcing of her stories, which they claimed violated the paper's standards. On October 22, 2005, in an op-ed piece, Maureen Dowd wrote,
"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 [Executive Editor] Bill [Keller] 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... 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."
In the next day's issue, then–public editor, Byron Calame, wrote: "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… Many of those articles turned out to be inaccurate." He concluded by suggesting that her association with The Times be terminated: "[T]he problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter."
Two weeks after the appearance of these pieces Miller negotiated a private severance package with Times' publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. She contested both Calame's and Dowd's claims and gave no ground in defense of her work, but cited difficulty in performing her job effectively after having become an integral part of the stories she was sent to cover.
Failure to report source controversy 
In July 2005, Miller was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a leak naming Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA officer. Miller did not write about Plame, but was reportedly in possession of evidence relevant to the leak investigation. According to a subpoena, Miller met with an unnamed government official, later revealed to be I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, on July 8, 2003, two days after former ambassador Joseph Wilson (the husband of Plame) published an Op-Ed in the Times criticizing the Bush administration for "twisting" intelligence to justify war in Iraq. Plame's CIA identity was divulged publicly in a column by conservative political commentator Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.
On July 16, 2005, The Washington Post reported that Miller could face criminal contempt charges, which could have extended her jail time six months beyond the four months then anticipated. The Post also suggested that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was particularly interested in hearing Miller's version of her encounter with Libby. Filings by Fitzgerald reportedly alleged that Miller's defiance of the court constituted a crime. On September 29, 2005, after spending 85 days in jail, Miller was released following a telephone call with Libby. He had reconfirmed the release of confidentiality which he had given her a year earlier, and which she already knew about. Under oath, Miller was questioned by Fitzgerald before a federal grand jury the following day, September 30, 2005, but was not relieved of contempt charges until after testifying again on October 12, 2005. For her second grand jury appearance, Miller produced a notebook from a previously undisclosed meeting with Libby on June 23, 2003, several weeks before Wilson's New York Times editorial was published. According to Miller's notes from that earlier meeting, Libby disclosed that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA employee involved in her husband's trip to Niger. Miller's notebook from her July 8, 2003, meeting with Libby contains the name "Valerie Flame [sic]". This reference occurred six days before Novak published Plame's name and unmasked her as a CIA operative.
Miller's grand jury account was the basis for her last article in The Times. Miller testified as a witness on January 30, 2007, at the trial of Scooter Libby, which began in January 2007 and ended with Libby's conviction on four of five counts on March 6, 2007. Libby's sentence was subsequently commuted by President George W. Bush.
The New York Times published Miller's first-person account, "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room", on October 16, 2005. After the First Amendment claim, she was widely derided for saying that she could not remember who gave her the name "Valerie Plame" but that she was sure it didn't come from Libby. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer testified, for example, that he was told Plame's name and CIA identity by Libby at lunch on July 7, 2003, one day before Libby's breakfast meeting with Miller.
After The New York Times 
Since leaving the New York Times, Miller has continued her work as a writer in Manhattan and has contributed several op-ed pieces to The Wall Street Journal. On May 16, 2006 she summarized her investigations on U.S. foreign policy regarding Libya's dismantling of its weapons programs in an essay spanning two days.
On May 17, 2006, NavySEALs.com and MediaChannel.org published an exclusive interview with Miller in which she detailed how the attack on the Cole led her to investigate Al Qaeda and, in July 2001, to her receiving information from a top-level White House source concerning top-secret NSA signals intelligence (SIGINT) about an impending Al Quaeda attack, possibly against the continental United States. Two months later, on September 11, Miller and her editor at the Times, Stephen Engelberg, both regretted not writing that story.
On September 7, 2007, she was hired as an adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a neo-conservative free-market think tank. Her duties will include being a contributing editor for the organization's publication, City Journal. On October 20, 2008, Fox News announced that it had hired Miller. As part of her Fox News duties, she often appears as a panelist on their media analysis show Fox News Watch.
Contempt of court 
On October 1, 2004, federal Judge Thomas F. Hogan found Miller in contempt of court for refusing to appear before a federal grand jury, which was investigating who had leaked to reporters the fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. Miller did not write an article about the subject at the time of the leak, but others did, notably Robert Novak, spurring the investigation. Judge Hogan sentenced her to 18 months in jail, but stayed the sentence while her appeal proceeded. On February 15, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously upheld Judge Hogan's ruling. On June 17, 2005, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case. On July 6, 2005, Judge Hogan ordered Miller to serve her sentence at "a suitable jail within the metropolitan area of the District of Columbia". She was taken to Alexandria City Jail on July 7, 2005.
In a separate case, Federal Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled on February 24, 2005, that Miller was not required to reveal who in the government leaked word of an impending raid to her. Patrick Fitzgerald, the same prosecutor who had had Miller jailed in the Plame case, argued that Miller's calls to groups suspected of funding terrorists had tipped them off to the raid and allowed them time to destroy evidence. Fitzgerald wanted Miller's phone records to confirm the time of the tip and determine who had leaked the information to Miller in the first place. Judge Sweet held that because Fitzgerald could not demonstrate in advance that the phone records would provide the information he sought the prosecutor's needs were outweighed by a 'reporter's privilege' to keep sources confidential. On August 1, 2006, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Sweet's decision, holding 2–1 that federal prosecutors could inspect the telephone records of Miller and Philip Shenon. Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr. wrote: "No grand jury can make an informed decision to pursue the investigation further, much less to indict or not indict, without the reporters' evidence".
Prior to her jailing for civil contempt, Miller's lawyers argued that it was pointless to imprison her because she would never talk or reveal confidential sources. Under such circumstances, argued her lawyers, jail term would be "merely punitive" and would serve no purpose. Arguing that Miller should be confined to her home and could forego Internet access and cellphone use, Miller's lawyers suggested that "impairing her unrestricted ability to do her job as an investigative journalist ... would present the strictest form of coercion to her". Failing that, Miller's lawyers asked that she be sent to a women's facility in Danbury, Connecticut, nearer to "Ms. Miller's 76-year-old husband", retired book publisher Jason Epstein, who lives in New York City, and whose state of health was the subject of a confidential medical report filed by Miller's attorneys. Upon being jailed, the Times reported on July 7, 2005, that Miller had purchased a cockapoo puppy to keep her husband company during her absence.
On September 17, 2005, the Washington Post reported that Miller had received a "parade of prominent government and media officials" during her first 11 weeks in prison, including visits by former U.S. Republican Senator Bob Dole, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and John R. Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. After her release on September 29, 2005, Miller agreed to disclose to the grand jury the identity of her source, Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.
On Tuesday, January 30, 2007, Miller took the stand as a witness for the prosecution against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. Miller discussed three conversations she had had with Libby in June and July 2003, including the meeting on June 23, 2003. In her first appearance before the grand jury, Miller said she could not remember. According to the New York Times, when asked if Libby discussed Valerie Plame, Miller responded in the affirmative, "adding that Libby had said Wilson worked at the agency’s (C.I.A.) division that dealt with limiting the proliferation of unconventional weapons". The trial resulted in guilty verdicts against Libby.
Media commentary 
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It has been speculated that Miller worked with the Bush Administration in the attempt to discredit former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who openly questioned the intelligence used to justify the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Columnist Margaret Kimberly wrote that Miller "isn't protecting a whistle blower. She is protecting someone who retaliated against a whistle blower". Predicting in an August 8, 2005, interview with radio host Don Imus that other employees of the New York Times would soon be subpoenaed by Fitzgerald, James Carville speculated that it was "going to be very interesting to see whether [Miller's] problem is a first amendment [one] — i.e., "I want to protect a source", or a fifth amendment [one] — "I was out spreading this stuff, too"".
In the days since Miller's release from prison and her waiver from a promise of confidentiality from her source, many have criticized Miller and the New York Times for not publishing her role in the Plame-Wilson leak, not even to explain why the full story cannot now be revealed. The lawyer for Scooter Libby told the media that Miller was advised over a year ago that she could testify about her conversations with Libby.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Judith Miller|
Books by Miller 
- One, by One, by One: Facing the Holocaust, Simon & Schuster (1990) ISBN 0-671-64472-6.
- Saddam Hussein & the Crisis in the Gulf (with Laurie Mylroie) Random House USA Inc (1990) ISBN 0-09-989860-8.
- God Has Ninety Nine Names: Reporting from a Militant Middle East, Simon & Schuster (1997) ISBN 0-684-83228-3.
- Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War (with William Broad and Stephen Engelberg) Simon & Schuster (2001) ISBN 0-684-87158-0.
See also 
- "The Source of the Trouble", New York Magazine, May 21, 2005.
- Franklin Foer. The Source of the Trouble. New York Magazine, May 21, 2005.
- "If all of this reads like a pretext to rail once more about New York Times reporter Judith Miller's many defective reports about WMD and the Times' reluctance to address them, you know this column too well." - Jack Shafer. The Right To Be Wrong. Slate, 2004.
- Pareene, Alex (2010-12-30) "Judith Miller: From the Times to the nuts", Salon.com.
- "A few months after the aluminum tubes story, a former CIA analyst explained to me how simple it had been to manipulate [Judith Miller] and her newspaper. "The White House had a perfect deal with Miller," he said. "Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the information they need to support their political objectives, and he is supplying the same material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something and then she goes to the White House, which has already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she gets it corroborated. She also got the Pentagon to confirm things for her, which made sense, since they were working so closely with Chalabi. Too bad Judy didn't spend a little more time talking to those of us who had information that contradicted almost everything Chalabi said." Long after the fact, Miller conceded in her interview with me that she was wrong about the tubes, but not that she had made a mistake." - James Moore How Chalabi and the White House held the front page. The Guardian, May 29, 2004.
- "Membership Roster". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Hagey, Keach (2010-12-29). "Judith Miller joins Newsmax". Politico. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Gilbert Scott Markle Jimmy Miller
- "The 2002 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Explanatory Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Office of Public Affairs, Department of Justice (2010-02-19). "Justice Department and FBI Announce Formal Conclusion of Investigation into 2001 Anthrax Attacks". Retrieved 2010-07-02.
- Miller, Judith "U.S. Germ Warfare Research Pushes Treaty Limits", New York Times, September 4, 2001.
- New York Times v. Gonzales, 459 F.3d 160 (2006).
- A brief analysis of the decisions in New York Times v. Gonzales and Miller v. Unitesd States/Cooper v. United States is at: Ongoing confidential sources cases, accessed October 31, 2009.
- Gordon, Michael R., and Miller, Judith "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts, New York Times, September 8, 2002.
- Michael Massing: "Now They Tell Us: the American press and Iraq", New York Review of Books, February 26, 2004.
- Miller, Judith "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert", New York Times, April 21, 2003.
- Moore, James "That Awful Power: How Judy Miller Screwed Us All", Huffington Post, August 1, 2005.
- the New York Times > International: The Times and Iraq: A Sample of the Coverage
- Umansky, Eric "Miller Genuine Wrath", Slate, May 26, 2004.
- Woodward, Bob. State of Denial. New York: Simon and Schuster, p. 210.
- William E. Jackson, Jr. "Miller's Star Fades (Slightly) at NY Times". Editor and Publisher, October 2, 2003.
- Dowd, Maureen. "Woman of Mass Destruction", New York Times, October 22, 2005.
- Calame, Byron. "The Miller Mess: Lingering Issues Among the Answers", The New York Times, October 23, 2005.
- "Reporter at center of CIA leak retires". CNN.com. November 10, 2005. Retrieved 2006-06-26.
- Kurtz, Howard; Leonnig, Carol D. "Criminal Contempt Could Lengthen Reporter's Jail Stay", Washington Post, July 16, 2005, p. A06.
- "US CIA case reporter will testify", BBC News, September 30, 2005.
- Don Van Natta Jr., Adam Liptak, Clifford J. Levy "The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal", New York Times, October 16, 2005.
- "Reporter's Account Hurts Libby Defense", Washington Post, January 30, 2007.
- Miller, Judith (October 16, 2005). "My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Ari Fleischer testimony at Live Blogging, Firedoglake.com, January 29, 2007.
- Judith Miller, "How Gadhafi Lost His Groove: The complex surrender of Libya's WMD", The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2006, Archived at Judith Miller's website; "Gadhafi's Leap of Faith". The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2006, Archived at Judith Miller's website.
- Rory O'Connor and William Scott Malone, "The 9/11 Story That Got Away", AlterNet, May 17, 2006.
- "Judith Miller Joins Fox News", Huffington Post, October 20, 2008.
- "US reporter jailed in CIA trial", BBC News, July 6, 2005.
- "New York Times Reporter Jailed for Keeping Source Secret", New York Times, July 6, 2005.
- "U.S. Wins Access to Reporter Phone Records"
- Carol D. Leonnig, "Reporters Ask Judge for Home Detention", The Washington Post, July 2, 2005, p. A02.
- "A Reporter Jailed: Woman in the News; A Difficult Moment, Long Anticipated", New York Times.
- Leonnig, Carol D. (September 17, 2005). "Jailed Reporter Is Distanced From News, Not Elite Visitors". Washington Post. pp. Page A01. Retrieved 2006-06-26.
- "Reporter Who Was Jailed Testifies in Libby Case", New York Times, January 31, 2007.
- "Judy Miller the wrong poster child for federal shield law", Huffington Post.
- "James Carville: Special Counsel Fitzgerald to Subpoena Top Timesman", August 8, 2005.
- Miller's Big Secret, Washington Post, September 30, 2005.
- Power Line: Behind the Headlines[dead link]
- Judith Miller's web site, with full archive, blog and mailing list
- Judith Miller articles for City Journal
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Booknotes interview with MIller on One, By One, By One, June 17, 1990.
- Judith Miller on Charlie Rose
- Judith Miller at the Internet Movie Database
- Judith Miller collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Works by or about Judith Miller in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Defending Judith Miller, New York Sun, June 1, 2004.
- Defending Judith Miller II, New York Sun, September 30, 2004.
- Video interview/discussion with Miller and Jacqueline Shire on Bloggingheads.tv, June 19, 2007.
- Were The Students Journalists Or Advocates?, article by Judith Miller on an attack on the media shield law November 13, 2009.