Wash. Times quoted disgraced Miranda, failed to note his 2004 resignation over memo scandal


The Washington Times quoted a former staffer to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) on Republican efforts to stop Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees without noting his involvement in a scandal surrounding the theft of Democrats' memos last year that resulted in his resignation from Frist's staff.

The April 16 article, by reporter Charles Hurt, quoted Manuel Miranda, Frist's former counsel on judicial nominations, predicting that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "will have no presidential hopes if he pursues this course" of opposing Frist's plan to change Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on judicial nominees by resorting to the so-called "nuclear option." Miranda added: "This very well may be the first primary campaign between Bill Frist and John McCain." Hurt identified Miranda as "a former Frist staffer who now chairs the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters," but the article never mentioned that Miranda resigned his job with Frist in the wake of an investigation into whether he and a junior staffer had improperly accessed more than 4,600 Democratic staff memos on controversial Bush judicial nominees. "Some of the documents were leaked in November [2003] to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and to conservative groups that posted them on websites," as the Los Angeles Times noted on March 5, 2004.

At the request of Senate leadership in both parties, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle and a Secret Service team conducted a six-month-long investigation. According to a March 7 Roll Call article, the investigation found:

[D]uring an 18-month period, from late 2001 into early 2003, Miranda and a junior Judiciary staffer, Jason Lundell, accessed at least 4,670 documents from a computer server that was left without safeguards. Only a few of the documents were from Republicans, and the report portrayed Miranda as the leader of the effort in which he instructed Lundell to look through the Democratic files.

The Justice Department opened its own investigation more than a year ago, following a referral from Pickle and a bipartisan letter from six members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This investigation is ongoing, as Roll Call also noted.

The Washington Times was not the only paper that failed to mention Miranda's past. Other offenders include: The New York Sun on April 15 and April 18 and The Hill on April 5.

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