The Judy chronicles

are up at

I’d say the lead is buried:

She also plans on taking some time off but says she hopes to return to the newsroom.

Place your bets on whether she ever returns for another bylines after this one.

Update on this angle: Raw Story reports that Miller is taking a leave.

“Judy is going to take some time off until we decide what she is doing next,” Times’ spokesperson Catherine Mathis told RAW STORY Saturday afternoon.

RAW STORY spoke with Miller by telephone at the New York Times newsroom in Washington Friday evening. She said that she had not previously been questioned about her plans going forward, and deferred extended comment to her publicist.

Reporters who have flacks? I think matter just met antimatter.

: The other lead from the Times chronicle: Miller wrote down “Valerie Flame” in her notebook but insists she doesn’t remember where or who that came from.

It’s a straightforward piece that speaks frankly. Again, I’ll wait for others who have followed this more closely than I have to give me the better analysis.

The summary of the juicy bits — the nutgrafs, as we say:

Interviews show that the paper’s leadership, in taking what they considered to be a principled stand, ultimately left the major decisions in the case up to Ms. Miller, an intrepid reporter whom editors found hard to control.

“This car had her hand on the wheel because she was the one at risk,” Mr. Sulzberger said.

Once Ms. Miller was jailed, her lawyers were in open conflict about whether she should stay there. She had refused to reopen communications with Mr. Libby for a year, saying she did not want to pressure a source into waiving his confidentiality. But in the end, saying “I owed it to myself” after two months of jail, she had her lawyer reach out to Mr. Libby. This time, hearing directly from her source, she accepted his permission and was set free.

“We have everything to be proud of and nothing to apologize for,” Ms. Miller said in the interview Friday.

Neither The Times nor its cause has emerged unbruised. Three courts, including the Supreme Court, declined to back Ms. Miller. Critics said The Times was protecting not a whistle-blower but an administration campaign intended to squelch dissent. The Times’s coverage of itself was under assault: While the editorial page had crusaded on Ms. Miller’s behalf, the news department had more than once been scooped on the paper’s own story, even including the news of Ms. Miller’s release from jail.

Asked what she regretted about The Times’s handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: “The entire thing.”

The story leaves open questions about why Miller would not contact her source, Scooter Libby, to get his blessing for her testimony … and then, after dragging the paper into jail with her, she did. The story also has her admitting that her WMD coverage was wrong, but hiding behind sources she does not name.

The theme I’ve heard echoing out of the newsroom — a theme covered by Jay Rosen — is that Miller had the paper wrapped around her q-a-z- finger:

Inside the newsroom, she was a divisive figure. A few colleagues refused to work with her.

“Judy is a very intelligent, very pushy reporter,” said Stephen Engelberg, who was Ms. Miller’s editor at The Times for six years and is now a managing editor at The Oregonian in Portland. …

In the year after Mr. Engelberg left the paper in 2002, though, Ms. Miller operated with a degree of autonomy rare at The Times.

Douglas Frantz, who succeeded Mr. Engelberg as investigative editor, recalled that Ms. Miller once called herself “Miss Run Amok.”

“I said, ‘What does that mean?’ ” said Mr. Frantz, who was recently appointed managing editor at The Los Angeles Times. “And she said, ‘I can do whatever I want.’ ”

Ms. Miller said she remembered the remark only vaguely but must have meant it as a joke, adding, “I have strong elbows, but I’m not a dope.”

Miller remains clueless about reaction to the tempest around her. Upon her return to The Times:

At a gathering in the newsroom, she made a speech claiming victories for press freedom. Her colleagues responded with restrained applause, seemingly as mystified by the outcome of her case as the public.

“You could see it in people’s faces,” Ms. Miller said later. “I’m a reporter. People were confused and perplexed, and I realized then that The Times and I hadn’t done a very good job of making people understand what has been accomplished.”

She blames her sources for getting WMDs wrong, Libby for going to jail, and her editors — who stood by her at cost to them — for her unheroic welcome. In a phrase: what a case she is.

: REACTION: PowerlineBlog on Miller’s story: “…a low-comedy conclusion to a low-comedy investigation.” Jay Rosen is on the case; expect that wine when it’s time. Blog posts are pouring in.

Kos reaction here.

: Keller’s statement to the paper.

: And for those who don’t know, here’s a link to my full disclosure. I consult for a division of The Times Company.

: Compare and contrast: This from

Judy Miller 2004:

“You know what,” she offered angrily. “I was proved fucking right. That’s what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, ‘There she goes again.’ But I was proved fucking right.”

Judy Miller 2005:

“W.M.D. – I got it totally wrong,” she said. “The analysts, the experts and the journalists who covered them – we were all wrong. If your sources are wrong, you are wrong.

: Frederick Ide compares and contrasts two more quotes:

“……at this point in time I do not recall just who said that….” John Dean–Watergate

“…I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall…..” Judy Miller–Traitorgate

: Arianna’s reaction is up:

The first question raised by the Times’ Judy-Culpa and by Judy Miller’s own account is: Who told Judy about Valerie Plame (or “Flame” as the name appears in Judy’s notes)? According to these two pieces, the name was immaculately conceived. “As I told Mr. Fitzgerald, I simply could not recall where that came from,” Miller writes.

: The Left Coaster:

So now we know that Miller is still hiding her second source from Ftizgerald, and both the paper’s Executive Editor and its publisher were willing to let a single reporter take the paper’s legacy and reputation into the toilet without knowing what for.

: In the having-no-shame department:

Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter recently released from jail after serving 85 days for protecting a confidential source, presented an award Saturday to perhaps the most famous confidential source – the man who was known as “Deep Throat.”

The award presented by the California First Amendment Coalition was accepted by the grandson of former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt because the 92-year-old could not make the trip to the conference at California State University, Fullerton.

: Raw Story with more newsroom atmospherics:

Conversations with nearly a dozen Times reporters revealed a scarred landscape of discontent. Few reporters were willing to go on the record, but none who spoke with RAW STORY said they supported Miller. Many voiced worries that the paper’s editor, Bill Keller, was sacrificing his own integrity to protect her.

“I think they’re looking at him in wonderment, and hoping he can figure a way out of this,” one veteran reporter said. “Because he’s in a real bind.”

“Part of the fear is that there’s a sense that he might not know very much, but he’s been forced by circumstance, and possibly by the publisher, to become a cheerleader rather than the newsman.”

“I think that pains him greatly,” the reporter added. “He is a news guy, he’s one of the best, and to be in a circumstance where he’s trapped, and he’s carrying somebody else’s water, and he can’t let the newspaper do what it does best–which is run with a story–has to be agonizing for him.”

: Rosen’s initial reactions are up:

First of all, I give credit to the Times for running the story a few days after they felt the legal clearences were had, for giving readers a look inside the organization, for airing uncomfortable facts–including internal tensions–and for explaining what happened as well as they felt they could. This was a very difficult piece of journalism to do.

: Here’s Howard Kurtz’ story: very straightforward summary of The Times. I await the followups.

: Frank Rich writes about Plame but — o, irony — I can’t get into TimesSelect.

: Uniongrrl whews:

I just want to personally thank my friends who saved me from making a fool of myself by unconditionally supporting Judith Miller when she went to jail “to protect her First Amendment rights.” I mean, I almost bought the T-shirt!

: IN THE MORNING: Joe Gandelman has another good roundup.

: ROSEN’S ESSENCE: Jay boils it down to eight succinct graphs (make no jokes about his long posts; all those led to this):

Maybe the biggest mistake the New York Times made was to turn decision-making for the newspaper over to Judith Miller and her “case.” This happened via the magic medium of a First Amendment struggle, the thing that makes the newspaper business more than just a business to the people prominent in it….

It never seems to have registered with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.–Miller’s biggest supporter and the publisher of the newspaper–that he was fighting for the right to keep things secret, not for the right to publish what had improperly been kept from us. By taking on Miller’s secret-keeping (uncritically) the Times took on more and more responsibilities not to speak, not to publish, not to report. All this is deadly for a newspaper, and the staff knew it. By the end the readers knew it and they were crying out. Even the armchair critics knew a thing or two.

So did Bill Keller, so did Jill Abramson. But there was nothing they could do. By the time they realized what Miller’s secrets had done to their journalism, Judith Miller–by staging a First Amendment showdown she escaped from–had effectively hijacked the newspaper. Her principles were in the saddle, and rid the Times to disaster, while people of the Times watched….

Read the rest.

I agree with Jay that one of the oddest angles of this story is Miller having secret clearance. So she knew secrets she could not share with her editors or certainly her readers. She thought she was in the business of secrets.