MSNBC just announced that Judy Miller has “retired” from the New York Times. Reuters has a slightly different take:
New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a journalist at the center of the CIA leak controversy that led to the indictment of a White House aide, will leave the paper, the New York Times said on Wednesday.
Miller’s lawyers and the paper negotiated a severance package, terms of which were not disclosed. As part of the agreement, the paper will publish a letter from Miller explaining her position, The Times said on its Web site.
That doesn’t sound like “retired.” It sounds like “terminated.”
Miller, 57, who covered national security for The Times, had faced criticism for stories she wrote on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that turned out to be based on faulty information supplied by Iraqi exiles.
According to The Times’ web site, Miller wrote in her letter, to be published in The Times on Thursday, that she had become a “lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war” and wanted to leave the paper because she had “become the news.”
Executive Editor Bill Keller was quoted in The Times as saying the paper had been hurt by delays in “coming clean” over lapses in its reporting that supported U.S. allegations of Iraqi weapons programs, much of which was written by Miller.
Lawyers for Ms. Miller and the paper negotiated a severance package, the details of which they would not disclose. Under the agreement, Ms. Miller will retire from the newspaper, and The Times will print a letter she wrote to the editor explaining her position. Ms. Miller originally demanded that she be able to write an essay for the paper’s Op-Ed page challenging the allegations against her. The Times refused that demand – Gail Collins, editor of the editorial page, said, “We don’t use the Op-Ed page for back and forth between one part of the paper and another” – but agreed to let her write the letter.
In that letter, to be published in The New York Times on Thursday under the heading, “Judith Miller’s Farewell,” Ms. Miller said she was leaving partly because some of her colleagues disagreed with her decision to testify in the C.I.A. leak case.
“But mainly,” she wrote, “I have chosen to resign because over the last few months, I have become the news, something a New York Times reporter never wants to be.”
She noted that even before going to jail, she had “become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war.” She said she regretted “that I was not permitted to pursue answers” to questions about those intelligence failures.
I suspect she was not permitted to pursue “answers” because she had lost all “credibility.” Anyway, I hope she “enjoys” her “retirement.”
The critical question: Will her book advance reach six figures? That would have been possible a few years ago, but the book publishing biz is not all that flush these days.