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August 09, 2005


Bravissimo! This is truly outstanding work! Sure looks -- among other things -- like Keller and Sulzberger really hitched their wagons to Judy's star in order to pull them out of the Blair fiasco and miscalculated horribly. But that doesn't stop them from continuing to cover for her. And of course, Keller and Co. are in large measure responsible for her beatification as First Amendment Saint, which is how they publicly justify their continuing support for such a disgraced hack. Hmmmm. How to drive the wedge in? How to convince them that thier self-interest no longer coincides with Judy's? There are rumblings that the tie is strained at least, but I'm not over-optimistic.
I'm less overwhelmed with the Plame connection to the post-invasion WMD coverage, except to the extent that you've exposed motive evidence a-plenty. But perhaps I'm missing a subtlety or two. In any event, right (and write) on!

What do you make of the report that the NYT has assigned Doug Jehl to do an investigative job on Judy?


I was wondering if you had seen that. It would certainly explain those paragraphs in his article last week. But instead of a story on Judy, we get a perhaps too-credulous story from him on data-mining Atta's name.

I'm not really sure what to make of it. Jehl could easily print stuff he already knows, but he hasn't done that yet. I also think NYT is trying to maintain a legal distance from issues related to Judy (so they can't be accused of owning her notes). But if Jehl investigates they will likely lose that distance.

One more thing, Mimikatz.

Looking back, it's odd that Jehl didn't mention either Andrew Rosenthal, who seems to have been answering for Judy up until at least June 29. Nor does he mention Lelyveld, would would have been editor during the period when Judy had her conversation with Libby. In fact, Keller doesn't come in until the day after the Novak leak.

Which suggests Jehl was going after something NYT has done since the leak, not something they did while Judy was trying to report on Wilson.

My take was the Niger stuff is of secondary interest. Rather, it is your balanced and perspicacious chronicle which has stirred some action, though perhaps your managerial beneficient suggestions about supervision of Judy, instead I see their interest as genuine. Which is to say NYT wants to perform a service; and you depict their disservice in the Judy lark, if, indeed, her embed was caprice. Sure there are protocols involved, and NYT besides having lots of conscience, has business instincts, and considerable savoir faire. This is complicated material, which you view very humanly. Yet, your reporter's vision is going to take NYT to the next level. There may be some latterday benefit, chronologically speaking in the White House leak matter; although I see you, too, as still reassembling that in relation to Judy's disembed timeline. And folks like NYT's senior management probably know more of where Fitzgerald is. Parts of the tale, doubtless, would be written years later in Yankee-Hat's memoire, should he survive; as he appears, from your account, to have been the one shepherding the unit along, though perhaps his was a mission to confound. Don Regan, treasury, had a characterization of that, which shall remain in the history books. Your series really has bolstered journalism.

This series, with the conclusion that is yet to come, ought to be offered to the Editor & Publisher Web site for reprinting as a stand-alone article. It needs to be read by journalists who want to understand the depth of the crisis in newspapering in this country. It is first-rate work. Only the New York Review of Books has done anything of this quality.


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