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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Miller Hides Under Abrams' Skirt

Interesting tidbit from Lorne Manly's assessment of Judith Miller in today's New York Times: While it's (understandably and unsurprisingly) an overwhelmingly positive profile, Manly does flick rather weakly and defensively at the criticism Miller earned for her categorically false and Editor's Note-generating reporting on WMD prior to and during the invasion of Iraq. "Ms. Miller's polarizing personality, however, may also have led some to make her a symbol of the press's faulty reporting on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." What's interesting is the reason Miller gave Manly, in an interview, for declining to answer questions about that reporting: "On the advice of counsel, Ms. Miller said she would not talk about her reporting on Iraq's unconventional weapons."

Huh? What can the Plame investigation possibly have to do with Miller's pre-war reporting? Unless the investigation goes further and deeper than has been previously reported, somehow stretching back to all of Miller's false scoops before the war, or there's some unreported civil or criminal proceeding against Miller or the Times related to that reporting, why would the advice of counsel have anything to do with it?

She's obviously free* not to answer any questions--and it's not like she'd get an astringent assessment in the Times anyway--but it seems slimy and disingenuous of her to hide behind her lawyer when it comes to questions about her WMD reporting. It's the kind of unprincipled evasive tactic that tends to piss reporters off.

* Well, I guess "free" isn't quite the right word, but you know what I mean.