NEW YORK -- Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who was first lionized, then vilified by her paper over her role in the CIA leak case, has retired from the Times, the paper announced yesterday.
Miller, 57, joined the Times in 1977 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for reporting on global terrorism. She said in a letter to readers that she left because she had ''become the news." She had been negotiating a severance deal with the paper for several weeks.
Miller spent 85 days in jail over the summer for refusing to testify about her conversations with a confidential source. But after her release, she was criticized harshly and publicly by Times editors and writers for her actions in the CIA leak case and for her reporting during the run-up to the Iraq war indicating that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Those reports were later discredited.
''We are grateful to Judy for her significant personal sacrifice to defend an important journalistic principle," Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said. ''I respect her decision to retire from The Times and wish her well."
The Times declined to disclose details of the severance package, but said the paper had agreed to print a letter from Miller in which she defended herself and explained her reasons for leaving.
She said she could no longer function as a reporter at the paper, given her unwanted status as a news figure.
''I have chosen to resign because over the last few months, I have become the news, something a New York Times reporter never wants to be," Miller wrote, according to one of the excerpts from her letter of resignation that were published last night on the newspaper's website.
Before her involvement in the CIA case, she added, she had ''become a lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war."
One of Miller's lawyers, Matthew J. Mallow, said yesterday that she did not plan to take any other jobs until at least January. Miller did not immediately respond to an e-mail message and could not be reached by phone.