Judy's Vanity

The bloggers were without editing, without a way for people to understand what was good, what was well reported–to distinguish between the straight and the slanderous. Things would get instantly picked up, magnified, and volumized. . . . I was appalled, not by the blogs–that would be like getting appalled at the Industrial Revolution–but by my colleagues, who believed what they read on the blogs.

So says Judy Miller, a reporter famous for her ability to elude the editor’s pen, or even the editor’s authority. A reporter also famous for magnifying (and probably volumizing, whatever that means) discredited nuggets of intelligence on the front page of the nation’s leading newspaper. So she says in a Vanity Fair article that paints a rosy picture of the events surrounding Judy’s own involvement in the Plame Affair.

There are already several good accounts of this article. Arianna delivers her rebuttal here. E&P’s Greg Mitchell provides a good overview here. Larisa joins the fun here. And I know Jane is working on it, because she kindly shared her copy with me, stay tuned for it on the new FDL site. I’m actually going to take two stabs at the article. Today, I’ll review the kind portrayal Judy’s good friend Marie Brenner painted of Judy’s involvement, which obscures all the remaining questions. And sometime in the next few days, I’ll look at the purpose such obscureness serve–a very sloppy claim that the Plame case is all just an attack on journalism.

  1. pollyusa says:

    Great Post EW, love the â€I did not remember the meeting until I saw the notes,†she told me, â€Can you imagine that?â€

    I think you’ve probably seen these, but I’ll throw them in anyway.

    A couple of additional references to Judy’s forgotten sources.

    In an interview with the BBC, Judy Miller admitted that others told her about Valerie Plame. Recording can be found here.

    BBC INTERVIEWER: Who was it who told you that Valerie Plame was a spy?

    JUDY MILLER: I don’t remember who supplied the name. I remember and I testified before a Grand Jury to who it was that told me that Valerie Plame worked at the agency in the WMD area and that individual was Lewis Libby.. Scooter Libby.

    BBC INTERVIEWER: Was there anybody else who named Valerie Plame to you as a CIA agent?

    JUDY MILLER: Yes, other people did, but I – my notes – these interviews were two years old. I never wrote a story about it. It wasn’t – I didn’t consider it very important information at the time and my notes have no indication of who those other people were – and I really couldn’t remember.

    BBC INTERVIEWER: But if it was Karl Rove, for example, you’d remember.

    JUDY MILLER: I’m not going to talk about who my other sources were or were not.

    The BBC article about the interview is here.

    The interview was broadcast on BBC on Novemeber 30, 2005, the source information is in the 2nd Miller segment. The interview included questions about Miller’s reporting on WDM as well.

    Murray Waas also indicated that Miller had other Bush Administration sources [note the pural] in his National Journal article on 10/11/05.

    Miller had spent 85 days in jail for contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury about her conversations with Libby and other Bush administration officials regarding Plame.
    Waas 10/11/05

    Miller would not ask her sources to waive their anonymity. She said intelligence officials might feel coerced into admitting they had talked to a reporter.

    And this CNN headline from 10/12/05, it was changed shortly after it went up. The story associated with the headline never mentioned a second source. It could have been an error.

    We all know she has other sources, but it would be very interesting if you actually testified about another one.

    New York Times reporter disclosed conversation with second source

  2. oldtree says:

    this from a virtual pillar of truth and justice
    hard to understand why she still villifies the people that are smart enough to see the difference between truth and lies. Is it that journalists are taught to speak down to the public?

  3. Anonymous says:


    Don’t know if you’ve got a copy of VF. But the pictures are amazing. Woodward, with no books, looking like a Degas portrait. Pincus, surrounded by chaos and books stacked high. Judy, looking like a diva, next to her desk with anally arranged books, the spines all facing the camera.
    I’ll take pincus of the three any day.

  4. Jon says:


    I’m curious what you make of the assertion by Vanity Fair that Ben Bradlee revealed Bob Woodward’s source in the Plame Affair as being Richard Armitage. Norah O’Donnell reported on Keith Olbermann’s Tuesday (March 14, 2006) show, concerning the Ben Bradlee supposed leak, that Dick Armitage is an old friend of Bob Woodward‘s and that he had been the source for other material that Bob Woodward has written in the past.

    I am also curious why Armitage would be a source for Novak on Plame. Was Armitage a known source for Bob Novak regarding similiar issues in the past?


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