Officials from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon say they have no idea what New York Times reporter Judith Miller was talking about in her published claim over the weekend that she was given a "security clearance" when she was embedded with a WMD military team in Iraq.
According to the officials, they know of no instance or circumstance when a reporter has been or would be granted a security clearance for any reason, and don't know that she was given one when she was embedded with the U.S. Army's 75th Exploitation Unit that was tasked with finding Iraqi WMD immediately following the end of major conflict in the spring of 2003.
Normally it takes at least three months of background checks, etc. before anyone is granted a "SECRET" clearance. There are cases where someone is granted a temporary short-term clearance, for a day, for example, but that is usually extended only to military, DOD or civilian contractors who need to be cleared for specific information on a specific project. Miller had indicated she thought her "security clearance" may still have been in effect during a meeting with Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby after she had returned to Washington.
While embedded reporters are often granted access to classified briefings on the grounds that the information can not be reported, Pentagon officials say no military commander or officer has the individual authority to grant a security clearance.
Pentagon officials say they are continuing to check whether Miller had been granted a security clearance of any kind.