25 November 2005

Judith Miller's WMD reporting - New York Times war reporting - Hunt for WMD

Judith Miller's WMD reporting - New York Times war reporting - Hunt for WMD

For the next two years, she supplied the paper with a string of grim exclusives. There was the defector who described Saddam Hussein’s recent renovation of storage facilities for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. There was her report that a Russian virologist might have handed the regime a particularly virulent strain of smallpox. To protect themselves against VX and sarin, she further reported, the Iraqis had greatly increased the importation of an antidote to these agents. And, most memorably, she co-wrote a piece in which administration officials suggested that Iraq had attempted to import aluminum tubes for nuclear weapons. Vice-President Dick Cheney trumpeted the story on Meet the Press, closing the circle. Of course, each of the stories contained important caveats. But together they painted a horrifying picture. There was just one problem with them: The vast majority of these blockbusters turned out to be wrong.

“She’s a shit to the people she works with,” says one. “When I see her coming, my instinct is to go the other way,” says another. They recite her foibles and peccadilloes, from getting temporarily banned by the Times’ D.C. car service for her rudeness to throwing a fit over rearranged items on her desk.

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