The role New York Times reporter Judith Miller played as an embedded reporter in Iraq is coming under scrutiny following a report in The Washington Post Wednesday that she provided intelligence to the military, influenced strategic decisions and even took part in a military ceremony. Soldiers said the top-secret Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha unit became the “Judith Miller team.” One officer said of Miller, “This woman came in with a plan. She was leading them. She ended up almost hijacking the mission.” When the Army considered withdrawing the Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha from an Iraqi town, Judith Miller complained to a two-star general and threatened to write negative stories about the unit in The New York Times. The pullback order was soon rescinded. The Washington Post reports Miller also acted as the conduit between the Army unit and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, and she helped the U.S. detain wanted Iraqis apparently based on tips from Chalabi. Miller also took part in a military ceremony in Baghdad where the leader of the MET Alpha team was promoted. She pinned the rank to his uniform, and he publicly thanked her for her contributions. Media critics have noted Miller’s stories on weapons of mass destruction have often not panned out. Recent headlines have included “U.S. Analysts Link Iraq Labs to Germ Arms,” “U.S. Experts Find Radioactive Material in Iraq” and “U.S.-Led Forces Occupy Baghdad Complex Filled with Chemical Agents.”
A U.S. marine died today, and two others were hurt, as their vehicle crashed while they were racing to the scene of an ambush on the outskirts of Baghdad, where another U.S. unit had come under attack. Meanwhile, British troops are on the hunt for the killers of six soldiers who died in southern Iraq on Tuesday. The killings came after the British conducted intense house-to-house searches on Monday and Tuesday. British troops may have fired first on the Iraqis. A BBC correspondent was told the troops fired a warning shot at a crowd of protesters. A local Iraqi policeman told news agencies the soldiers shot dead four demonstrators.
Active-duty intelligence expert tells closed congressional hearings that he was pressured on Iraqi analysis. The New York Times is reporting a top State Department expert on chemical and biological weapons named Christian Westermann told a closed congressional committee hearing last week that he was pressured to tailor his analysis on Iraq to suit the administration views. Westermann is believed to be the first intelligence expert on active service to make the claim to members of Congress. In a second meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Westermann said he felt pressure from John Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. The two had earlier clashed over Cuba when Bolton asserted publicly Cuba had a biological weapons program. Westermann argued there was not enough evidence to support those assertions.
A former top Iraqi nuclear scientist has handed the U.S. nuclear parts and plans that were buried in his yard after the Gulf War 12 years ago. Scientists said the documents and materials could have been used to restart Iraq’s nuclear program, but the fact that the scientist was never asked to unbury the documents indicates Iraq did not attempt to restart its nuclear program after the Gulf War. The Washington Post reports the U.S. has yet to find any evidence that Saddam Hussein had attempted to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.
Most foreigners have fled Monrovia. Fighting has engulfed Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, as opposition forces attempt to topple Liberia’s President Charles Taylor. The new offensive marks an end to a ceasefire that was only a week old. The BBC reports thousands have fled the capital, including most foreigners. Meanwhile, the British ambassador to the U.N., Sir Jeremy Greenstock, has proposed that the United States lead a peacekeeping force in Liberia.
The BBC is reporting Syria has protested to the U.S. government over a military strike in Syria thought to have been aimed at Saddam Hussein. The Syrian ministry is demanding the U.S. return five Syrian soldiers who were detained after being wounded in the attack.
Here at home, beginning today, the Recording Industry Association of America plans to begin to track down and sue individuals who have swapped music over the internet.
“Free to Hate.” That was the lead headline yesterday in the Daily News of New York after a judge ruled that the city of New York wrongly fired a white city police officer and two white firefighters who participated in a racist parade float in 1998. Three off-duty police officers, dressed in blackface and Afro wigs, reenacted the murder of African American James Byrd, who was dragged to death earlier that year. One of the officers pretended to be Byrd and was dragged from the back of the float, named “Black to the Future 2098.” The three men also breakdanced, ate watermelon and fried chicken on stage. A month after the Labor Day Parade, Mayor Giuliani fired the three men, but a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that by doing this Giuliani violated the free speech rights of the men. The judge wrote the government “may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because a segment of society finds it offensive.”