Sidney Blumenthal writes a tantalizing sentence in this Guardian story which may help explain Judy Miller’s motive for meeting with Libby and considering an article that would besmirch Joe Wilson’s NYT column and his reputation:
The Times has subordinated its news coverage to her legal defence, withholding reporting on what she has told the grand jury, though it promises a full account. Will it include her colleagues’ recollections of how livid she was that the Times published Wilson’s article?
Before we start analyzing this, I have to say that Blumenthal’s tidbit is far too lightly sourced to weave these theories with any certainty, but as I said I think that what he writes is plausible and very well may be true.
We now know how aggressive and hard-charging Miller is as a reporter. We know about her take no prisoners approach to journalism and poor relations with her colleagues (while she was at the Washington bureau she tried to get several fired). She was heavily invested in the Iraq WMD story. Joe Wilson’s NYT column took a lot of the air out of the sails of the Bush Administration policy regarding WMD; and by extension Miller very well might’ve viewed Wilson as making a backdoor attack on her own views and reporting.
So when Scooter Libby holds out the prospect that he can give her dirt on Wilson that will besmirch the latter’s reputation and his supposed rationale for going to Niger, then Miller gets a good story (at least that’s what she might’ve thought at the time) AND sticks the shiv in Wilson. Nice work if you can get it, she says at the time.
If any of this is true, then the Times has a lot of soul-searching to do about Ms. Judy Miller. Again, if true, she engaged in a personal vendetta against Wilson and not a legitimate journalistic story. Does the Times want such a reporter on its payroll? In fact, if any of this is true I’d like nothing more than to see Judy Miller frog-marched out of the Times headquarters building (and I’d really like, as Joe Wilson so vividly said, to see Rove frog-marched out of the White House too).
Thanks to Arianna Huffington’s link to Blumenthal’s story at her blog.