Last weekend (was it only last weekend? it seems like months ago now), Judith Miller revealed in her NYT account of her grand jury testimony that when she was embedded with troops in Iraq in 2003 she had a special security clearance:
I told Mr. Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby might have thought I still had security clearance, given my special embedded status in Iraq. At the same time, I told the grand jury I thought that at our July 8 meeting 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.
That raised some eyebrows.
Now, Miller has decided to clarify that status and that raises even more questions:
But 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.
Wait a minute: didn’t she say in her own words, in her own NYT article that she told Fitzgerald she couldn’t discuss sensitive info with any of her editors?
One of Miller’s lawyers, Floyd Abrams says her special status was “unusual” and:
“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.
Judith Miller, propaganda tool of the neocons, given special security status by someone at a “significantly higher level”. What’s wrong with this picture?
Come with me now through the back to the past machine via Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post. Miller came under fire at the time for her behaviour while embedded in Iraq with the Mobile Exploration Team Alpha (MET-Alpha). Reportedly, she was quite the going concern:
New York Times reporter Judith Miller played a highly unusual role in an Army unit assigned to search for dangerous Iraqi weapons, according to U.S. military officials, prompting criticism that the unit was turned into what one official called a “rogue operation.”
More than a half-dozen military officers said that Miller acted as a middleman between the Army unit with which she was embedded and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, on one occasion accompanying Army officers to Chalabi’s headquarters, where they took custody of Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law. She also sat in on the initial debriefing of the son-in-law, these sources say.
In April, Miller wrote a letter objecting to an Army commander’s order to withdraw the unit, Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, from the field. She said this would be a “waste” of time and suggested that she would write about it unfavorably in the Times. After Miller took up the matter with a two-star general, the pullback order was dropped.
She was a disaster. “Miss Run Amok”, indeed.
So, was she given a double-super-duper-duper level of security for that job because someone in the Bush administration wanted her to do some of their dirty work?
Considering her connections with Chalabi and the neocons, one has to wonder what she was really doing there under the guise of reporting on the war like every other legitimate journalist. Was she working as a spy?