Wednesday, October 19, 2005

ASSIGNMENT: Links to the Judy Miller story for Thursday discussion


Browse as much of this as you have time for. Come to class on Thursday prepared with a few thoughts about whether this case matters to the future of journalism. Will it hurt the credibility of the New York Times? Of journalism generally?

-- bill

Miller testified today before Congress:
QUOTES from today's testimony:
Abrams (famous First Amendment lawyer) testimony on federal shield law (PDF):
Conservative blog site's reaction to planned testimony:

Earlier stories:
Or keep checking this link at Boston.COM, where a later story will show up eventually:


For an excellent capsule summary of the story, here is a link to the MP3 audio from Democracy Now on Monday in which Time Magazine journalist Michael Isakof and Editor & Publisher Magazine Editor Greg
Miller. Download and then play the MP3 with this link:
Once it starts playing, skip to 22 minutes into the show to get to the Judith Miller stuff.


An interactive "Plame leak" timeline map is HERE.
Here is the first few paragraphs of today's New York Times main story on the situation:

HEADLINE: No Final Report Seen in Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak

The New York Times
Published: October 19, 2005

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday. The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is not expected to take any action in the case this week, government officials said. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald, Randall Samborn, declined to comment. A final report had long been considered an option for Mr. Fitzgerald if he decided not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, although Justice Department officials have been dubious about his legal authority to issue such a report. By signaling that he had no plans to issue the grand jury's findings in such detail, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to narrow his options either to indictments or closing his investigation with no public disclosure of his findings, a choice that would set off a political firestorm. With the term of the grand jury expiring Oct. 28, lawyers in the case said they assumed Mr. Fitzgerald was in the final stages of his inquiry. The focus of Mr. Fitzgerald's inquiry has remained fixed on two senior White House aides, Karl Rove, who is President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., who is Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Both had conversations with reporters about a C.I.A. officer whose name was later publicly disclosed.

What do you think?


At the Society of Professional Journalists' annual convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday, New York Times reporter Judith Miller urged support for a federal shield law so other journalists don't face jail time as she did
for protecting the identity of a confidential source. Miller, who will testify on behalf of the proposed shield law today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, gave a preview of her testimony Tuesday to about 400 journalists. Miller, 57, received the organization's First Amendment Award for her highly-publicized fight to withhold the identity of a confidential source she spoke with two years ago about the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.


from Editor & Publisher:

Las Vegas is Miller's hometown. Her father, Bill Miller, has sometimes been credited with developing the "lounge" scene in Vegas, booked many of the top celebrities of his day, and was entertainment director at several casinos.

Said Dave Carlson, SPJ's president: "It is important to point out that we are not trying to recognize everything a person has done. The First Amendment Award is to recognize someone doing an extraordinary thing to
further the First Amendment. I don't have any way of knowing what all of her motives were, but we do know that she spent 85 days in jail and that act drew great attention to the First Amendment."


Here is the link to the big story in Sunday's New York Times which reported the newspaper's investigation of Miller's behavior:
(if you are prompted to log in, use the ID mentioned in class)

And here Miller recounts her own testimony:

And here is the main AP story summarizing the New York Times' Sunday piece:,0,6703240.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

And here is an E&P story on how the New York Times newsroom is reacting to
the major Sunday workup:

Here E&P's Greg Miller calls for Judith Miller's resignation:
(this link contains links to several other backgrounders by E&P).
But the New York Observer writes that Miller will return to The Times after a leave of absence:

Independent investigative journalist Sydney H. Schanberg has written an analysis of the Miller case in The Village Voice. It's a good read at:,schanberg,68955,6.html

Here are some thoughful blog posts:

Retired CBS producer discusses granting of security clearance to Miller:
Pro-Palestinian commentator Ahmed Amr:
Ariana Huffington:
Freemarket News Network blogger:

AND FINALLY, here is an editorial in today's Washington Post:

Rush to Judgment
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; Page A20

THERE'S A RUSH to judgment in the Valerie Plame affair that's a bit surprising. One person already convicted by many of her peers is Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who went to jail for 85 days to protect a source and then agreed to testify. Ms. Miller is no poster child for the First Amendment.

The circumstances of her case, as Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote in an e-mail to his staff, "lack the comfort of moral clarity." Questions remain as to why she went to jail rather than accept a waiver from her source that he did not object to her testifying about their conversations -- and why, if that principle was inviolable, she later accepted a waiver to get out of jail.

Nonetheless, it's astonishing to see many in the journalism establishment, and in the media trade press, turn on Ms. Miller not just for questions surrounding the waiver but also for refusing now to identify all of her sources, turn over all of her notes and otherwise lay bare her reporting. Normally these commentators are among the first to defend journalists who seek to protect a confidential source. Reporters often rely on unnamed sources to expose corruption and incompetence in government. Neither Ms. Miller nor the other reporters in this case (including two at The Post) faced an easy choice in deciding the circumstances under which they could testify, but their struggle with the dilemma, and her decision to go to jail, merit some sympathy and respect. That Ms. Miller is receiving so little stems in part from disapproval over her too-credulous reporting leading up to the Iraq war and in part, in some cases, from animus toward the Bush administration. But the next time a journalist faces off with a prosecutor, these same commentators may regret the certainty with which they condemned Ms. Miller.

This affair began with a trip to Niger undertaken by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, which he said disproved one of the Bush administration's contentions about Saddam Hussein and nuclear weapons. Columnist Robert D. Novak reported that Mr. Wilson had been chosen in part because Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA; Mr. Wilson then charged that administration officials had deliberately blown his wife's undercover status to punish him for his truth-telling.

If so, they should be punished. Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald may have evidence that they did; there is a still a great deal that is not publicly known. But so far, in the accounts given by reporters about their conversations with administration officials, no such crime has been described. What has been depicted is an administration effort to refute the allegations of a critic (some of which did in fact prove to be untrue) and to undermine his credibility, including by suggesting that nepotism rather than qualifications led to his selection. If such conversations are deemed a crime, journalism and the public will be the losers.

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