Reporter behind WMD claims calls Assange ‘bad journalist’

By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, January 2, 2011 16:31 EDT
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A former New York Times reporter assailed for her incorrect reports about Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction is criticizing Julian Assange for being a “bad journalist.”

Judith Miller took on the WikiLeaks founder during an appearance on Fox News Watch Saturday, arguing that Assange was a bad journalist “because he didn’t care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out, or determine whether or not it hurt anyone.”

For many critics of the war in Iraq, that claim is likely to set off irony alarms. Miller has become famous for being the author of a 2002 New York Times article — now debunked — suggesting that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons program.

“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,” Miller wrote.

Senior Bush administration officials would soon use the article to argue for an invasion of Iraq.

In an article published last week, Salon.com’s Alex Pareene argued that Miller simply parroted what Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi had told her.

Lying exile grifter Ahmad Chalabi fed her the worst of the nonsense designed to push America into toppling Saddam Hussein (and giving Iraq to him), and she pushed that nonsense into the newspaper of record. She got everything wrong, and for some insane reason, she remained employed at the Times until 2005, when she negotiated her separation from her longtime professional home.

As the Crooks and Liars blog points out, Miller once defended her reporting with the argument that it is not a journalist’s job to verify — only to report inform readers of what they had been told.

“[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,” she said.

Miller’s career trajectory since leaving the Times in 2005 has had a distinctly rightward bent. She became a contributor for Fox News, before recently joining the conservative magazine Newsmax. Her first article appears in the January, 2011, issue.

Miller made her comment about Assange while arguing that organizations like WikiLeaks are part of the “new journalism” of the digital age.

“This is part of the new journalism,” she said. “Everybody’s just got to get used to it. If you have that much information, most of which is over-classified — if the waste basket in the office is classified, someone’s going to leak it,” she said.

The following video, broadcast on Fox News Jan. 1, 2011, was uploaded to the web by Crooks and Liars.

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