Was Jailed 85 Days in Valerie Plame Investigation

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Judith Miller, the lightning rod reporter who’s now best known for having spent 85 days in jail this summer for her involvement in "Plamegate," is leaving The New York Times, effective immediately.

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Judith Miller
Her departure, announced by The Times this afternoon, was expected. She had become the fulcrum of criticism leveled against The Times over its reporting in advance of the Iraq invasion as well as its articles about the very investigation that landed Ms. Miller in jail this summer.

From hero to goat
Many respected Ms. Miller’s decision this year to go to jail for 85 days rather than reveal her source in the Valerie Plame leak investigation. But after she secured permission to testify from her source, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, and was released, many accused her of being used by the administration and inhibiting The Times’s own reporting on the leak probe.

The Times brand, not to mention newsroom morale, suffered perhaps more than it did during the Jayson Blair plagarism fiasco. Managing editor Bill Keller went so far as to tell the staff that Ms. Miller seemed to have mislead one of the paper’s own reporters. She has vehemently denied that charge.

Last word
Tomorrow, Ms. Miller, 57, will be allowed, in a letter to the editor to run in the Times headlined “Judith Miller’s Farewell,” to lay out her side of the story, according to the paper’s own account of her leaving.

“We are grateful to Judy for her significant personal sacrifice to defend an important journalistic principle,” said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., The Times' publisher and a longtime friend of Ms. Miller’s. “I respect her decision to retire from The Times and wish her well.”

Mr. Keller noted that in her 28 years at the paper, Ms. Miller had participated in “some great, prize-winning” reporting. She was part of the team whose coverage of international terrorism won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. “She carries our best wishes into the next phase of her career,” Mr. Keller said.

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