Judith Miller—star reporter for The New York Times, foreign correspondent in some of the most dangerous locations, Pulitzer Prize winner, and longest jailed correspondent for protecting her sources—turns her reporting skills on herself in this “memoir of high-stakes journalism” (Kirkus Reviews).
In The Story, Judy Miller turns her journalistic skills on herself and her controversial reporting, which marshaled evidence that led America to invade Iraq. She writes about the mistakes she and others made on the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. She addresses the motives of some of her sources, including the notorious Iraqi Chalabi and the CIA. She describes going to jail to protect her sources in the Scooter Libby investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame and how the Times subsequently abandoned her after twenty-eight years.
Judy Miller grew up near the Nevada atomic proving ground. She got a job at The New York Times after a suit by women employees about discrimination at the paper and went on to cover national politics, head the paper’s bureau in Cairo, and serve as deputy editor in Paris and then deputy at the powerful Washington bureau. She reported on terrorism and the rise of fanatical Islam in the Middle East and on secret biological weapons plants and programs in Iraq, Iran, and Russia. Miller shared a Pulitzer for her reporting. She describes covering terrorism in Lebanon, being embedded in Iraq, and going inside Russia’s secret laboratories where scientists concocted designer germs and killer diseases and watched the failed search for WMDs in Iraq.
The Story vividly describes the real life of a foreign and investigative reporter. It is an account filled with adventure, told with bluntness and wryness.
Miller, a former New York Times reporter whose pre-war articles on Iraqi WMDs generated fierce controversy, ponders what she did and, mostly, didn't get wrong in this contentious memoir. Miller defends news articles she wrote in 2002 3 that suggested that Saddam Hussein's Iraq might have had active nuclear and biological weapons programs (it didn't), arguing that her stories were well-researched and sourced, hedged with caveats, reflective of a genuine (though mistaken) consensus of intelligence experts, and balanced by more skeptical pieces. She also gives an engrossing run-down of the 2005 "Plame-gate" scandal, when she was jailed for refusing to testify about confidential Bush Administration source Scooter Libby (she finally did so after getting his consent).Miller makes a cogent case that she was unfairly scapegoated as a warmonger and White House dupe, setting that argument in a lively, sharp-elbowed narrative of hair-raising adventures as a Middle East correspondent and in the snake-pit of NYT office politics. Still, when she describes her beat as "what the Bush Administration knew, or thought it knew, about Iraqi WMD," she inadvertently reveals a too-narrow perspective common to many journalists then.