Ten years after leaving The New York Times in the wake of discredited reporting, journalist Judith Miller is seeking to “retire” the “false narrative” that the Bush administration fabricated intelligence about Iraq’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”
“There was no shortage of mistakes about Iraq, and I made my share of them,” Miller wrote inan op/ed
for the Wall Street Journal published on Friday. “The newsworthy claims of some of my prewar WMD stories were wrong. But so is the enduring, pernicious accusation that the Bush administration fabricated WMD intelligence to take the country to war.”
“Before the 2003 invasion, President Bush and other senior officials cited the intelligence community’s incorrect conclusions about Saddam’s WMD capabilities and, on occasion, went beyond them,” she continued. “But relying on the mistakes of others and errors of judgment are not the same as lying.”
In 2002 and 2003, Miller wrote a series of exclusive articles suggesting that Saddam Hussein had or was acquiring WMDs, based largely on now-discredited information provided by the Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi. Those reports, which played a part in building the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, were later deemed inaccurate by the Times. (Miller did not mention Chalabi in Friday’s editorial.) Miller joined Fox News as a contributor in 2008.
In the Journal editorial, Miller also rejected the assertion that information she published in the Times about the Iraq weapons program came from the Bush administration.
“No senior official spoon-fed me a line about WMD. That would have been so much easier than uncovering classified information that officials can be jailed for disclosing,” she wrote. “My sources were the same counterterrorism, arms-control and Middle East analysts on whom I had relied for my stories about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s growing threat to America—a series published eight months before 9/11 for which the Times staff, including me, won a Pulitzer.”
“Another enduring misconception is that intelligence analysts were ‘pressured’ into altering their estimates to suit the policy makers’ push to war,” Miller continued. “Although a few former officials complained about such pressure, several thorough, bipartisan inquiries found no evidence of it.”
Miller’s editorial is timed to the launch of her new book, “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey,” which will be published on April 7.