Tuesday, February 15


Oustanding. Court rules reporters must testify in Plame case.

The decision upholds a trial court judge's ruling last year that Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine should be forced to answer these questions or be sent to jail. Both reporters fought to stop a subpoena from the Special Counsel to appear before a grand jury investigating whether senior Bush administration officials knowingly leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert operative, to the media in the summer of 2003.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington rejected the contention that the First Amendment protects the information being concealed by the journalists, saying that a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision said just the opposite.

The judges also found there is no common law protection for journalists' confidential sources when a criminal investigation seeks to determine if a law has been broken and information about those sources is critical to that inquiry.

"We further conclude that if any such common law privilege exists, it is not absolute, and in this case has been overcome by the filings of the Special Counsel," the panel wrote.
Even the judge on the panel most supportive of applying a balancing test -- to determine the value of forcing reporters to discuss or identify confidential sources -- said the government had the advantage in this case.

Tatel wrote that the purpose of the government leaks, based on a story that Cooper wrote in the summer of 2003, appeared to be to smear a person who alleged the Bush administration exaggerated the strength of its evidence justifying going to war with Iraq.

"While requiring Cooper to testify may discourage future leaks, discouraging leaks of this kind is precisely what the public interest requires, " wrote Tatel.
[emphasis mine]

Damn straight.


Blogger chris said...

I just want to know who is at the top of the Plame case.

Who is going to be the biggest head to roll?

4:36 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

Most sources "in the know" speculate that Scooter Libby (chief of staff to Dick Cheney) or possibly Karl Rove are at the top -- I lean towards Cheney himself as the real originator of the plot. But I imagine he's shielded himself too well to ever be held accountable. It's so Mafia-like for someone like Cheney to voice a wish, and then expect his functionaries to make it come true. If heads ever roll, I expect Scooter's, like Ehrlichmann and Haldeman in Nixon's day, to be the highest-ranking.

10:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home