What follows surely ranks among the Top Ten All-Time performances by the New York Times‘s justly embattled reporter, Judith Miller.
Interviewed on the noxious FOX News Network the very day that the first interim report on Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” was released by the Iraq Survey Group (and for the final report, see Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, Charles Duelfer et al., Sept. 30, 2004), FOX News’s John Gibson was beside himself with dismay over the fact that the liberators of Iraq had yet to unearth Saddam’s Doomsday Bomb—which surely must be there, buried somewhere, after all.
But as Miller—who some twelve months earlier had even served as one of The Oprah Winfrey Show‘s guest “experts” on the subject of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” (along with the Brookings Institution’s Kenneth Pollack, who has since traded in the red cape he once wore over the threatening storm in Iraq for a yellow cape over those mysterious Persians to the east (Oct. 9, 2002))—counseled Gibson:
We have reported, and I’ve co-written some of those stories, that while they haven’t found evidence of actual weapons, they have found evidence, both of programs, of intent to restart programs, just as soon as the inspectors were out of the country….There are many damming things in David Kay’s interim report. And the administration is hoping that the public will focus on those things as opposed to the lack of actual weapons. But, remember, why did we go to war? We went to war because the American people were persuaded that what Saddam Hussein had posed a clear and imminent threat to the United states and its allies. And that’s the standard of proof ultimately for the administration.
Too bad that winning at Black Jack and Roulette requires no higher standards of proof than Miller was still willing to cut the regime in Washington, some 24 months ago, and more than half-a-year into its criminal and globally disastrous seizure of the sovereign state of Iraq.
On top of which, she blamed it all on the American people. On what committed propagandists such as Judith Miller and her prestigious employer and virtually all of the American media had persuaded their enemies back in the Homeland to believe about the “clear and imminent threat” that Baghdad posed “to the United States and its allies.” Unless the Americans invaded.
As Miller explained to Michael Massing in an interview for his important New York Review of Books analysis of Miller’s and her colleagues at the Times‘s pre-war complicity in advancing the regime’s case for invading Iraq (“Now They Tell Us,” Feb. 26, 2004):
[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.
To which Massing could muster only this limp reply: “Many journalists would disagree with this; instead, they would consider offering an independent evaluation of official claims one of their chief responsibilities.”
Let her fry, I say. One less conduit for official U.S. and Israeli government lies masquerading as “news,” the better.
Office of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Department of Justice (Homepage)
“A Devil Theory of Islam,” Edward W. Said, The Nation, August 12, 1996. (This is Said‘s review of Judith Miller’s despicable 1996 book, God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting from a Militant Middle East (Simon and Schuster).)
“The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal,” Don Van Natta Jr. et al., New York Times, October 16, 2005. (The Times‘s webpage devoted to Miller’s and its own travails.)
“My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room,” Judith Miller, New York Times, October 16, 2005
“Judy Miller’s War,” Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch, August 18, 2003
“Defending Miller’s Indefensible Choice,” Media Advisory, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, July 18, 2005
“Some Notes on Current Reporting About Judith Miller,” Sam Husseini, CounterPunch, October 15 – 16, 2005
“Judith Miller, the Fourth Estate and the Warfare State,” Norman Solomon, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, October 17, 2005
“Judy Miller’s Reporting: A Cancer on the New York Times?” Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post, October 17, 2005
“When Journalists Join the Cover-ups,” Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com, October 18, 2005
“SPJ Undercuts First Amendment With Miller Award,” Media Advisory, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, October 19, 2005
“A Crusade in Support of a Flawed Crusader,” Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2005 (as posted to the Working For Change website)
“Rise of the ‘Patriotic Journalist’,” Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com, October 20, 2005
“Waiting For The Valerie Plame Wilson Grand Jury,” John W. Dean, FindLaw.com, October 21, 2005
“Lies Judith Miller Told Us,” Joel Bleifuss, In These Times, October 21, 2005
“When Divas Collide: Maureen Dowd v. Judy Miller,” Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch, October 22/23, 2005
“An Open Letter to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald,” John W. Dean, FindLaw.com, November 18, 2005
“All the News That’s Fit to Buy,” Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch, December 10/11, 2005
“Military’s Information War Is Vast and Often Secretive,” Jeff Gerth, New York Times, December 11, 2005 (as posted to Truthout)
FYA (“For your archives”): A transcript of Judith Miller’s Hall-of-Shame-caliber performance a little over 24 months ago as a guest on the FOX News Network.
Fox News Network
SHOW: THE BIG STORY WITH JOHN GIBSON (17:42)
October 3, 2003 Friday
Transcript # 100305cb.263
HEADLINE: Interview with “The New York Times’” Judith Miller
GUESTS: Judith Miller
BYLINE: John Gibson
GIBSON: As we have been reporting, the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is taking longer than hoped for and part of the blame may lie with the Iraqi survey group. There are charges that the group is inefficient or worse. Earlier, I spoke to “New York Times” reporter Judith Miller and asked her are the weapons inspectors doing the right thing?
JUDITH MILLER, “NEW YORK TIMES”: That was today’s big question. Well, I think finally, John, they are doing exactly the right thing. Perhaps they’re not doing enough over there, but they’re not doing it fast enough, but as David Kay said today in a telephone conversation with several reporters it’s a big country where there is lots of places to hide. People are still shooting at them. It’s extremely difficult to work there. There is not exactly a telephone directory where they can look up the names of general so-and-so who used to work in the chemical weapons program. They have to scour the country, hostile parts of the country, looking for the individuals to interrogate. So, he says that’s why it’s taking so long.
GIBSON: Right. But without attacking David Kay and I don’t mean to do that, they seem to be very slow off the mark. They’re spending all this time putting their buildings in and their air conditioning and getting their computers set up, and they appear to be actually not going out to look, but waiting for information to then go out and follow up on.
MILLER: Well, I think there has been some of that because a lot of the experts themselves are contractors. They are private, sometimes civilian individuals, who say, look, I’m not paid to go out and get myself shot. The XTF, the Exploitation Task Force, which I was embedded, had a very different attitude and they kind of went everywhere. But these are different folks and the conditions are different, and it took them a while to set up. Really it took them over a month to kind of get the infrastructure that they felt comfortable with in place before they actually started to do some serious weapons hunting, according to my sources.
GIBSON: Now on David Kay’s report that we now have seen or we’ve seen parts of, do you think that they’re making any progress? Are they finding the things that the United States government was counting on finding?
MILLER: Well, look, I think clearly the administration is disappointed that David Kay came back with a no smoking gun yet. And, of course, administration officials are emphasizing the “yet.” But I think what senators who heard David Kay, what they are saying is, my gosh, maybe this stuff really isn’t there. So, they’re now asking a whole set of different questions, like if there weren’t weapons of mass destruction there, how could our intelligence have been so wrong? Or did the administration cherry pick or distort intelligence? I remember watching Senator Pat Roberts come out of that hearing yesterday. He is the Kansas Republican who’s supposed to represent the administration. And he said to them, I am not pleased by what I heard and that’s what he said to us, too. So, clearly, you know, the administration has a public relations problem here.
GIBSON: Right. But Dr. Kay did say, and I’m reading the quote now, we’ve discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the U.N. during the inspections that began in late 2002, in the run-up to the war. Why is that statement being characterized as “We haven’t found anything?”
MILLER: well, it is not — I don’t think it has been characterized that way, certainly not in the “New York Times.” We have reported, and I’ve co-written some of those stories, that while they haven’t found evidence of actual weapons, they have found evidence, both of programs, of intent to restart programs, just as soon as the inspectors were out of the country. And they’ve found active purchasing and things that should have been disclosed to the inspectors and weren’t disclosed and repeated violations of the resolutions that Iraq signed. So, yes, you’re absolutely right.
There are many damming things in David Kay’s interim report. And the administration is hoping that the public will focus on those things as opposed to the lack of actual weapons. But, remember, why did we go to war? We went to war because the American people were persuaded that what Saddam Hussein had posed a clear and imminent threat to the United states and its allies. And that’s the standard of proof ultimately for the administration. Did they have reason to believe that was so? Did the intelligence before the war show that was so? And these are difficult questions and those are the questions that David Kay is now grappling with.
GIBSON: Judith, before I let you go, David Kay is counting on spending another $600 million, has already spent $300 million. Where is all that money going?
MILLER: I know that we as reporters will continue pressing to find out because I think that is information that the public has a right to know. I can tell you, John, when I was there, I know the budget for the XTF was $300 million. And it is really hard to imagine how my little group spent $300 million because we certainly didn’t eat that much food or burn that much fuel.
GIBSON: Judith Miller of the “New York Times.” Judith, thank you very much.
MILLER: Thank you.
GIBSON: And still ahead on THE BIG STORY, our California candidate of the day, one who’s showing some real numbers, Tom McClintock, the state senator will explain why he is staying in the race and why so many fellow Republicans want him out.
Postscript (December 13): For some material on the inexorably linked cases that continue to pile up due to U.S. Government assaults on States-based Palestine solidarity organizations and Islamic charities, on the one hand, and the integral role played over the years by the New York Times‘s now-former star reporter, Judith Miller, in the execution of her Government’s policies towards the Middle East, on the other, see:
“N.Y. Times reporter names in court filing,” Annie Sweeney, Chicago Sun-Times, December 13, 2005
“Israeli files sought in terrorism case,” Michael Higgins, Chicago Tribune, December 13, 2005
“Attorneys challenge Miller’s credibility,” Chris Hack, Daily Southtown, December 13, 2005
The Associated Press
December 12, 2005, Monday, BC cycle
HEADLINE: Attorneys in terrorism case want to know more about interrogation witnessed by Times reporter
BYLINE: By MIKE ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer
Attorneys defending a man charged with laundering millions of dollars for terrorist activities said Monday they want more information about a journalist’s claim she watched Israeli authorities interrogate their client.
Attorneys for Muhammad Salah are seeking documents related to a February 1993 interrogation allegedly witnessed by former New York Times writer Judith Miller because prosecutors want to use statements Salah made in Israel as evidence at his trial.
Salah’s attorneys insist he was tortured and that his statements to Israeli authorities should be barred from evidence in American courts.
Prosecutors have filed court papers suggesting that the statements were voluntary and included a footnote referring to a reporter’s “own observations” of the interrogation. The footnote did not name Miller.
Salah, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in suburban Bridgeview, is charged with taking part in a 15-year racketeering conspiracy to provide money and weapons to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
He pleaded guilty to similar charges in Israel and spent more than four years in prison.
Salah attorney Michael E. Deutsch said in court papers that Miller reported in her book “God Has Ninety-Nine Names” that she was present at Salah’s interrogation.
Deutsch contends that what Miller allegedly saw was not a real interrogation but a staged event designed to impress her.
“Ms. Miller viewed a staged conversation which took place in Arabic – a language she admittedly does not speak – for less than an hour, 18 days after Mr. Salah’s arrest,” Salah’s attorneys said in court papers.
They said Miller never mentioned watching the interrogation in her Times article, which was published six days later. “Rather, she attributed what she reported to informed Israeli sources and documents and only revealed her alleged observation years later to promote her book.”
Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to comment Monday, as did New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis.
Miller recently retired from the Times after a controversy concerning her role in the CIA leak investigation. Her attorney, Robert Bennett, was not available, his office in Washington said. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify about a source before a grand jury investigating the leak.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who heads the Chicago office, is also the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case.
Miller wrote many of the prewar reports in the Times indicating Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The newspaper later acknowledged publicly that many of those stories were likely wrong.
December 13, 2005
Attorneys challenge Miller’s credibility
Defense attorneys for alleged Hamas operative Mohammed Salah are preparing an assault on the credibility of former New York Times reporter Judith Miller on the chance she might be called as a government witness at a crucial hearing in the case.
In court papers filed Monday, lawyers for the Bridgeview resident also said they’re entitled to any documents about Miller’s observation of a 1993 interrogation of Salah in a West Bank military prison — especially in light of recent criticism of the embattled scribe’s past work.
The court filings come as defense attorneys and prosecutors gear up for a two-week hearing scheduled for March to decide if a series of incriminating statements allegedly made by Salah to the Israeli interrogators can be used against him in an American courtroom. Salah made the purported confessions before pleading guilty in 1993 in an Israeli military court and spending four years in prison there.
Salah, who returned to Bridgeview after the Israeli prison stint and became the only U.S. citizen to be officially designated an international terrorist by the federal government, was indicted last year on charges he served as a high-ranking operative of the militant Palestinian group Hamas, delivered locally raised money to militants overseas and recruited a would-be terrorist here. He’s currently free on bond.
In a recently filed affidavit about the confessions, which are key to the government’s case, Salah claimed he made the statements only after a months-long campaign of torture by Israeli agents and Palestinian collaborators working for them. He said he was kept handcuffed to a tiny chair, stuffed in a refrigerated closet, stripped naked, threatened with rape and forced to sit on an upside-down bowl with a pointy bottom that caused permanent intestinal damage.
In court papers of their own, prosecutors last month essentially called Salah a liar and said that over the years he’s greatly embellished his tales of torture at the hands of the Israelis. The government noted a news reporter had witnessed an interrogation session at Ramallah and didn’t mention any harsh tactics in a later newspaper story.
According to Defense attorney Michael E. Deutsch, Miller was invited to observe the interrogation session personally by then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The session that Miller saw — derided in Monday’s court papers as a “carefully staged charade interrogation” — lasted less than an hour, was conducted in Arabic, and came more than two weeks after Salah’s arrest by Israeli soldiers.
Miller initially recounted through Israeli officials information gleaned from the interrogation for a Times story, but later wrote of watching it first-hand in her book, “God has 99 Names: Reporting from a Militant Middle-East.” Deutsch said he wouldn’t be surprised to see a government attempt to have Miller called to the witness stand because she’s one of the few people outside the Israeli military justice system who could testify about Salah’s alleged confessions there.
“We don’t think she’ll have any credible evidence to offer — and that’s beyond all the issues of her background,” Deutsch said. “Clearly, she was used by the Israeli government to try and justify this torture.
“And how was it that this was the only reporter who got this special access?”
Deutsch said he’s already asked Miller’s lawyers for any materials she may have kept from the Ramallah visit, and they’ve refused to turn it over. Now he’s asking for any documentation either the United States or Israeli governments may have on the matter.
“Given the suspect circumstances under which Ms. Miller was allowed to observe Mr. Salah, and given her history of being ‘too close to her sources’, defendant is entitled to broad disclosure of the facts and circumstances surrounding Ms. Miller’s role in Mr. Salah’s interrogation,” Deutsch wrote in the request.
Miller is a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize who has reported extensively on terrorism, including alleged links between Islamic militants and institutions and individuals in the south suburbs. She spent 85 days in jail this summer after refusing to reveal a secret source involved in the CIA leak investigation that ultimately led to the indictment of vice president’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.
Miller left the Times last month amid grumbling about the way she handled herself during the leak investigation. She also has been the target of heavy criticism for her influential pre-war reporting about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, where no such weapons have since been found.
Miller did not respond to an e-mail message sent through her Web site Monday afternoon. Prosecutors have not indicated whether she will be called to testify, and the case will be mired of court filings and arguments for months before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve.
The special prosecutor assigned to the CIA leak investigation is U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the top federal prosecutor in Chicago who’s overseeing the Salah case. Before the leak case, Fitzgerald also had grappled with the Times over obtaining phone records in an effort to determine who tipped off Miller to an impending raid by federal agents of a south suburban Muslim charity.
December 13, 2005
N.Y. Times reporter named in court filing
An alleged fund-raiser for Hamas who claims a confession he gave the Israeli government was coerced during 1993 interrogations that were observed by Judith Miller named the former New York Times reporter in court filings Monday, questioning her credibility and professionalism.
Attorneys for Muhammed Salah, of Bridgeview, said two weeks ago they wrote a letter to Miller — also recently embroiled in the White House leak investigation involving CIA operative Valerie Plame — asking for information about the interrogation.
Miller has refused to cooperate, said Salah’s attorney, Michael E. Deutsch.
Salah, along with Abdelhaleem Ashqar, of Alexandria, Va., are charged here with laundering millions of dollars in a 15-year conspiracy to fund Hamas. Hamas has taken credit for dozens of attacks abroad, including suicide bombings. Both have pleaded not guilty.
‘Swirl of controversy’
Salah’s attorneys are trying to have his confession suppressed because of the alleged torture at the hands of Israeli authorities. In a written response, the U.S. government refers to a news reporter’s “own observations” of an “interrogation session.”
Deutsch responded by raising questions about Miller, whose reporting on the lead-up to the Iraq war — including whether Saddam Hussein was amassing weapons of mass destruction — has been widely criticized.
“Curiously, the government does not reveal the name of that news reporter,” Salah’s filing reads. “She is the infamous Judith Miller, who recently left her position at the New York Times amidst a swirl of controversy and claims of highly unprofessional and politically motivated conduct.”
Miller retired from the Times after spending 85 days in prison this year for refusing to testify in a U.S. government investigation into the leak of the identity of Plame.
Monday’s court filing goes on to mention Miller’s extraordinary clearance and access to the interrogations, which was arranged by the Israeli prime minister, according to court documents. Salah has asked for the government to provide written documents about what she witnessed.
“Given the suspect circumstances under which Ms. Miller was allowed to observe Mr. Salah, and given her history of being ‘too close to her sources,’ defendant is entitled to broad disclosure of the facts and circumstances surrounding Ms. Miller’s role in Mr. Salah’s interrogation,” the filing reads.
Deutsch added on Monday: “We’re asking for the [U.S.] government to get the documents from Israel which document how this reporter was given special access, allegedly, to our client. We wonder whether or not she was working with the Israeli government at that time. Why was she given this special leave to go in there?”
Miller’s attorney could not be reached for comment Monday, and a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald refused to comment.
December 13, 2005
Israeli files sought in terrorism case
Lawyers for a Bridgeview man accused of funneling money to Mideast terrorists said Monday that their client needs Israeli police documents to defend himself, but that prosecutors and the Israeli government have refused to provide them.
Lawyers for Muhammad Salah say the documents would bolster their claim that Salah made incriminating statements to Israeli interrogators only after being threatened and tortured for almost three months in 1993.
Salah’s lawyers are seeking documents on Israel’s interrogation policy at the time, which they say condoned some of the tactics Salah alleges. They also want the names of police officers involved in the case and any reports they wrote.
“The government cannot be allowed to pick and choose the documents that they seek from Israel, ” Salah’s lawyer, Michael Deutsch, wrote in court papers filed Monday.
Producing only Salah’s alleged confession allows prosecutors to “launder the misdeeds of foreign agents in an American courtroom,” Deutsch wrote.
An indictment last year charged Salah and two other Palestinians with participating in a 15-year conspiracy to finance Hamas, alleging that they laundered millions of dollars, including money that went to buy weapons. Hamas is a militant Islamic group in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Salah’s lawyers are battling U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald’s office over whether Salah’s 1993 statement can be used against him. Prosecutors say Salah gave the statement voluntarily.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve is set to consider the issue at a hearing in March.
Salah’s lawyers also want information on an incident in which they say former New York Times reporter Judith Miller observed Salah being questioned on Feb. 11, 1993.