Friday, October 21, 2005

Bill Keller Memo & Miller's Security Access

Bill Keller Memo

Crooks & Liars has posted a memo to NY Times staff from Bill Keller.

In it he says "So it was a year before we got around to really dealing with the [WMD coverage] controversy. At that point, we published a long editors' note acknowledging the prewar journalistic lapses, and -- to my mind, at least as important - - we intensified aggressive reporting aimed at exposing the way bad or manipulated intelligence had fed the drive to war."

He also wrote "I wish that when I learned Judy Miller had been subpoenaed as a witness in the leak investigation, I had sat her down for a thorough debriefing, and followed up with some reporting of my own."

What he didn't specifically express regret for was not sitting Miller down for a thorough debriefing over the WMD coverage, and some reporting of his own over her WMD stories, contacts, sources, and supposed security clearance.

Judith Miller's Security Access

Meanwhile, the Associated Press and the Washington Post released an article titled "Miller Clarifies Security Clearance Issue." In it is written "Miller told the paper for a story published Thursday that her 'clearance' was akin to the routine nondisclosure form for all reporters 'embedded' with military units, which she signed when she was deployed with the 75th Exploitation Task Force. The unit's job was to find weapons of mass destruction.

"Miller said she also agreed to additional ground rules permitting her to discuss some secret information only with two of the paper's top editors."

Yet in her "personal account" of her grand jury testimony, she said "I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq."

I guess she could mean that she wanted to discuss sensitive information with low-level editors (how many editors are there at the Times?) but, again, Miller's story just seems somewhere between incomplete and misleading.

The article also said "One of her attorneys, Floyd Abrams, told The Associated Press that while Miller's security status didn't rise to the level of having official clearance, it was still unusual.
'Although the form she signed was similar to that signed by other journalists, her selection to be exposed to highly classified information was approved at a significantly higher level than is generally done, and this was because she was routinely exposed to secret information,' he said."

I would not call that "clarifying" information. It still leaves the same questions remaining. Who, at the significantly higher level, approved her "unusual" clearance, how "unusual" was it, and why?


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