Were it not for the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, one would think that it was 2003 WMDs all over again.
The same Iraq war playbook is being dusted off in order to sell a ridiculous information war based on the equally ridiculous notion that Russia hacked the US elections in Trump’s favor…and at the expense of Hillary Clinton.
All the lies are in place.
Politicians like McCain and Graham are hitting talk show circuit, warning about a “dictator” threatening American democracy.
“Fake news” is the new Patriot act, a dumbed down catchphrase used to rally support while curbing citizens’ freedoms.
The US president is ordering a secret investigation, results pending before inauguration day.
The CIA is leading the charge by misleading. Anonymous sources are today’s “Ahmed Chalabi.”
American “values” are under attack. Retaliation first, fact later. The “DNC hack” is Colin Powell’s “anthrax” moment. Saddam is Putin. Iraq is Russia. Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) have become Weapons of Cyber Destruction (WCD).
…And Judith Miller is back. Ready sell another conflict, cyber or hot, to an American public fattened up on a diet of “Russian aggression”.
Miller seems to always pop up to corroborate CIA propaganda.
Let’s remember who Judith Miller is, and what she did in 2003, so as to avoid the same (or and even worse) fate in 2016.
Miller became embroiled in controversy after her coverage of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program both before and after the 2003 invasion was discovered to have been based on the inaccurate information in the intelligence investigations, particularly those stories that were based on sourcing from the now-disgraced Ahmed Chalabi. The New York Times later determined that a number of stories she had written for the paper were inaccurate. According to commentator Ken Silverstein, Miller’s Iraq reporting “effectively ended her career as a respectable journalist.” Miller acknowledged in The Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2015 that some of her Times coverage was inaccurate, although she had relied on sources she had used numerous times in the past, including those who supplied information for her reporting that had previously won a Pulitzer Prize. She further stated that policymakers and intelligence analysts had relied on the same sources as hers, and that at the time there was broad consensus that Iraq had stockpiles of WMD.
Miller was later involved in the Plame Affair, in which the status of Valerie Plame as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) became widely known. When asked to name her sources, Miller invoked reporter’s privilege and refused to reveal her sources in the Central Intelligence Agency leak and spent 85 days in jail protecting her source, Scooter Libby. Miller later was forced to resign from her job at the New York Times in November 2005. Later, she was a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.
At The New York Times, Miller wrote on security issues, particularly about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Many of these stories later turned out to have been based upon faulty information.
On September 7, 2002, Miller and fellow Times reporter Michael R. Gordon reported the interception of “metal tubes” bound for Iraq. Her front-page story quoted unnamed “American officials” and “American intelligence experts” who said the tubes were intended to be used to enrich nuclear material, and cited unnamed “Bush administration officials” who claimed that, in recent months, Iraq had “stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and [had] embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb”. Miller added that
Mr. Hussein’s dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq’s push to improve and expand Baghdad’s chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war.
Shortly after Miller’s article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld appeared on television and pointed to Miller’s story in support of their position. As summarized by the New York Review of Books, “in the following months, the tubes would become a key prop in the administration’s case for war, and the Times played a critical part in legitimizing it.” Miller later said of the controversy
[M]y job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought about Iraq’s arsenal.
In an April 2003 article, Miller, ostensibly on the basis of statements from the military unit in which she was embedded, reported claims allegedly made by an Iraqi scientist that Iraq had kept biological and chemical weapons until “right before the invasion.” This report was widely repeated in the press. Miller went on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and stated:
Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun. What they’ve found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we’ve called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions.
On May 26, 2004, a week after the U.S. government apparently severed ties with Ahmed Chalabi, a Times editorial acknowledged that some of the paper’s coverage in the run-up to the war had relied too heavily on Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles, who were bent on regime change. The editorial also expressed “regret” that “information that was controversial [was] allowed to stand unchallenged.” However, the editorial explicitly rejected “blame on individual reporters.”
On May 27, 2004, the day after the Times’ mea culpa, James C. Moore quoted Miller in an article in Salon:
“You know what … 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.”
The statement about being “proved…right” was in relation to another Miller story, wherein she’d claimed that trailers found in Iraq had been shown to be mobile weapons labs. However, that claim too was subsequently refuted as false.
It was alleged later in Editor and Publisher that, while Miller’s reporting “frequently [did] not meet published Times standards”, she was not sanctioned and was given a relatively free rein, because she consistently delivered frequent front-page scoops for the paper by “cultivating top-ranking sources.”
In October 2005, The New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame wrote:
Ms. Miller may still be best known for her role in a series of Times articles in 2002 and 2003 that strongly suggested Saddam Hussein already had or was acquiring an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction … Many of those articles turned out to be inaccurate … [T]he problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter.
Two weeks later, Miller negotiated a private severance package with Times’ publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. She contested Calame’s claims about her reporting and gave no ground in defending her work. She cited “difficulty” in performing her job effectively after having become “an integral part of the stories [she] was sent to cover.”