Washington In the latest fallout from the CIA leak investigation, reporter Judith Miller and The New York Times are engaging in a very public fight about her seeming lack of candor in the case.
In a memo to the staff, executive editor Bill Keller says Miller "seems to have misled" the newspaper's Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, who said Miller told him in the fall of 2003 that she was not one of the recipients of a leak about the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.
According to a Times story on Oct. 16, Miller told Taubman two years ago that the subject of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson and Wilson's wife, Plame, had come up in casual conversation with government officials, but that Miller said "she had not been at the receiving end of a concerted effort, a deliberate organized effort to put out information."
In recent weeks, Miller testified to the grand jury in the leak probe that she had discussed Wilson and his wife in three conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in June and July of 2003.
Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. She was freed Sept. 29 when she finally agreed to testify.
Responding to Keller's criticism, Miller told the newspaper, "I was unaware that there was a deliberate, concerted disinformation campaign to discredit Wilson and that if there had been, I did not think I was a target of it."
Op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd weighed in with further criticism in Saturday's Times. "Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, (Miller) was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers," Dowd wrote.