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Journalists Face Jail Time
New York Times ^ | August 11, 2004 | Editorial

Posted on 08/11/2004 5:42:15 AM PDT by OESY

Admittedly, the Valerie Plame affair is not the typical case involving a reporter's right to protect a source. Such cases are often about constraining the government from identifying and punishing a whistle-blower; this one involves an allegation of an illegal leak by a Bush administration official to punish a whistle-blower.

But no one should be fooled by the unusual circumstances here - the underlying principle remains democracy's need for a free press and the free press's need to operate with a minimum of government interference, and to protect confidential sources. Those principles are endangered by a federal judge's order this week holding a Time magazine reporter in contempt for refusing to reveal a source. The order should be reversed on appeal.

The reporter, Matthew Cooper, was subpoenaed as part of a criminal investigation into who leaked information to the columnist Robert Novak, telling him that Ms. Plame was an undercover C.I.A. officer. Ms. Plame, whose cover was blown by Mr. Novak in a column, is the wife of Joseph Wilson IV, the former diplomat who incurred the wrath of the Bush administration by contending in a New York Times Op-Ed essay that President Bush had relied on discredited intelligence when he claimed that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa.

Judge Thomas Hogan of Federal District Court in Washington has ordered that Mr. Cooper be jailed and that Time magazine pay a fine of $1,000 per day, although both penalties have been suspended while the decision is appealed. Other journalists are also being subpoenaed.

The law on the legal privilege of journalists to avoid being compelled to testify in a criminal inquiry is notoriously sketchy, but the courts have repeatedly recognized that reporters' work is entitled to a degree of protection. In Branzburg v. Hayes, a seminal 1972 Supreme Court decision, Justice Lewis Powell Jr. made it clear that reporters have some constitutional right to protect their confidential sources. Since then, the courts, and even the Justice Department's own internal regulations, have recognized that to preserve the important free-speech interests involved in news gathering, journalists should be subpoenaed in only the rarest of cases.

To unmask a confidential source as part of a criminal investigation, the government should have to show two things: that the information is central to the investigation and that it cannot be obtained any other way. In Mr. Cooper's case, the information could more than likely be provided under oath by government officials, including those implicated. But it is impossible for Mr. Cooper's lawyers to make this argument in any detail because Judge Hogan has allowed the special prosecutor to withhold what he has already uncovered.

Protecting confidential sources benefits society as a whole. People with knowledge of wrongdoing will be reluctant to speak if they know that a reporter's promise of confidentiality can be undone by a prosecutor with a hot tip.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: branzburgvhayes; cialeak; cooper; hogan; matthewcooper; novak; plame; powell; russert; supremecourt; wilson

1 posted on 08/11/2004 5:42:15 AM PDT by OESY
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To: OESY

Somehow I don't think this guy's covering for a Pubbie...


2 posted on 08/11/2004 5:44:34 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: OESY
This confirms my theory that the information came from someone in the Kerry camp, and not from the President nor anyone in his administration.

If Scooter Libby had given that information to Cooper (who is married to Mandy Grunewald), Cooper would have testified in a New York minute "for the good of the country."

3 posted on 08/11/2004 5:46:16 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: mewzilla
Other journalists are also being subpoenaed.

Free Cooper..
jail Novak.

4 posted on 08/11/2004 5:49:46 AM PDT by evad (You cannot start with a false premise and arrive at a valid conclusion)
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To: mewzilla
Somehow I don't think this guy's covering for a Pubbie...

Bingo if this leftist jounalist had any information on a Republican he would be singing like a bird. I have always said follow the money, Joe Wilson got rich and famous off of this, plus his wife is now known and not bound by her oath of secrecy. They are the one who have benifited the most from this.

5 posted on 08/11/2004 5:50:37 AM PDT by federal
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To: OESY
...the underlying principle remains democracy's need for a free press and the free press's need to operate with a minimum of government interference, and to protect confidential sources.

There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that references the press's need to protect confidential sources.

6 posted on 08/11/2004 5:51:58 AM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham ("This house is sho' gone crazy!")
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To: mewzilla

That's exactly what I posted yesterday after hearing this story.

If it was someone in the Bush Administration they'd be falling all over themselves to divulge the source.

The Washington Post and Time Magazine journalists are not risking jail time because they won't out a Bush staff member.


7 posted on 08/11/2004 5:53:10 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: dawn53

Heh heh heh. Hoist on their own petard. Gotta love it.


8 posted on 08/11/2004 5:54:53 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: Mr Ramsbotham

Indeed, the constitution is clear, journalists are not the militia, the people are.


9 posted on 08/11/2004 5:55:56 AM PDT by JudgemAll
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To: Mr Ramsbotham

Where to begin… Yet another steaming pile from the NYT.

So let me see if I have this right… The NYT and the rest of the “useful idiots” in the media charge the administration with outing a CIA “agent”, and demands an investigation to determine who did the leaking.

Despite knowing who provided the name, the leftist bastards continued to report the story as if something illegal had been done by the administration. Now, when they have the opportunity to provide the name, which accomplish their goal of smearing the President, they are claiming their constitutional right to protect their source. Uh….. Why?

I realize that a large number of Americans are apathetic, indifferent, and even ignorant when it comes to political matters, but even the dumbest SOB is capable of seeing through this farce.

Which Clinton holdover are these reporters protecting… Could it be the lying sack of excrement himself, Joe Wilson?


10 posted on 08/11/2004 6:05:25 AM PDT by Common Sense 101
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To: OESY
The law on the legal privilege of journalists to avoid being compelled to testify in a criminal inquiry is notoriously sketchy, but the courts have repeatedly recognized that reporters' work is entitled to a degree of protection.

Why would journalists be considered more reasonable than the rest?

It is not the journalists who decide, it is the militia which in the end knows where its safety lays and which should take control of rioting media whores (promoting pograms and disarmament, amongst others), even if getting the leftist rioting judges' blessings.

11 posted on 08/11/2004 6:14:49 AM PDT by JudgemAll
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To: Miss Marple

Can you believe how idiotic the New York Times sounds as they huff and puff as is their usual wont?

My understanding is Libby has waived any confidentiality and wants these reporters to testify to their conversations with him so that it is established beyond any doubt that he didn't leak Plame's "name".

I despise the Times, but sometimes they make me laugh, too. This is one of those times. They like to sound like they know what they're talking about, but they don't.

I can't wait to see if someone on the left is charged in this affair. Their head will blow up!!

LOL


12 posted on 08/11/2004 6:32:41 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: evad

Jail Novak!

Surely you jest.

Novak provided a great and honorable service by informing us of why Wilson went off to sip tea and spout lies.

He did nothing wrong in writing his piece


13 posted on 08/11/2004 6:33:38 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: evad

Oh--and they need to keep Cooper.

He was part of the plan to deceitfully portray the Bush administration as retaliating against the Wilsons when he knew all along they did no such thing.


14 posted on 08/11/2004 6:34:27 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: Mr Ramsbotham
There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that references the press's need to protect confidential sources.

Especially when the person alleged to be the source has said he waives any confidentiality.

15 posted on 08/11/2004 6:38:34 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: cyncooper
Surely you jest.

Yes..I did.

16 posted on 08/11/2004 6:44:56 AM PDT by evad (You cannot start with a false premise and arrive at a valid conclusion)
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To: cyncooper
There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that references the press's need to protect confidential sources.

Especially when the person alleged to be the source has said he waives any confidentiality.

Especially when the conflicting principle is national security.

17 posted on 08/11/2004 6:45:50 AM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: cyncooper
Oh--and they need to keep Cooper

Freeing Cooper was also a jest.

18 posted on 08/11/2004 6:46:58 AM PDT by evad (You cannot start with a false premise and arrive at a valid conclusion)
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To: evad

Whew!


19 posted on 08/11/2004 6:47:11 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: OESY

Aren't these squealing pigs the same ones that DEMANDED an investigation and JAIL forthe offenders??? LOL!!


20 posted on 08/11/2004 6:48:46 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: cyncooper
WHEW!!

LOL..
read any of my very limited stuff and you'll see where I come from :)

21 posted on 08/11/2004 6:49:03 AM PDT by evad (You cannot start with a false premise and arrive at a valid conclusion)
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To: mewzilla

Isn't Matthew Cooper married to Clinton's shill, Mandy Gruenwald??


22 posted on 08/11/2004 6:49:34 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Ann Archy

Yes, he is.


23 posted on 08/11/2004 6:51:24 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: cyncooper

The fact that Matthew Cooper is married to the Clinton shill, Mandy Guenwald, says a LOT!! Cooper is NOT covering for a Pubbeie!! Maybe Mattie will be Frog-Marched!!


24 posted on 08/11/2004 6:55:05 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Miss Marple; cyncooper

Anone know why Tim Russert was interviewed? I did not hear any REASON given! And Timmy the Toad was allowed to give LIMITED info!! I guess the law is just for the Little guys!


25 posted on 08/11/2004 6:57:15 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion: The Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Ann Archy
Anone know why Tim Russert was interviewed? I did not hear any REASON given!

Yes, they did give a reason and it had to do with Libby, as I outlined above. If I find a cite in a bit I'll post it here. Russert conceded Libby did not give him any Plame info.

26 posted on 08/11/2004 7:25:23 AM PDT by cyncooper ("We will fear no evil...And we will prevail")
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To: OESY

"But no one should be fooled by the unusual circumstances here - the underlying principle remains democracy's need for a free press and the free press's need to operate with a minimum of government interference, and to protect confidential sources."

Or, in the case of the NYTimes, no sources at all (Jayson Blair), or the fact that they get their marching orders from DNC talking points.

Why doesn't the NYTimes fight for a free and UNBIASED press, or at minimum, one that admits it's biases.


27 posted on 08/11/2004 7:39:32 AM PDT by SpinyNorman (McCain and Kerry called the Swifties "liars" without speaking to a single one.)
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To: OESY

As far as I'm concerned, if the press is party to leaking classified information, they should not be above the law. I personally don't give a damn about their confidential sources; a "confidential source" can be fabricated out of thin air. The press needs to be held accountable for what they say. They can do a lot of damage with unattributed sources, can play all sorts of games and lie all sorts of lies.


28 posted on 08/11/2004 7:49:21 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: SpinyNorman

My question to the New York Times is: If we don't know who your sources are, how do we know you aren't lying? You can make up stories with impunity.


29 posted on 08/11/2004 7:51:27 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Miss Marple
"This confirms my theory that the information came from someone in the Kerry camp, and not from the President nor anyone in his administration."

But Novak said - at least in his case - that the information came from someone in the Bush administration. He also said the info was not shopped to him and that it came out offhandedly in the course of a long conversation with someone who is "not a political gunslinger." So the info was handed on casually because it was believed to be common knowledge, not as an attempt to "get" Wilson. (It's still never been clear to me exactly how the information about Plame was supposed to harm Wilson. There's nothing particularly scandalous - on the surface, at least - in the fact that she helped secure the Niger assignment for him.)
30 posted on 08/11/2004 8:03:32 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Steve_Seattle

One person who was IN the administration but is now in the Kerry camp is Richard Clarke.


31 posted on 08/11/2004 8:12:54 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Ann Archy; cyncooper
Isn't Matthew Cooper married to Clinton's shill, Mandy Gruenwald??

Holy smoke, not another one.

Let's see: Amanpour married to Rubin. David Gregory's married to some ex-Reno protegee. I know there's more. This is incestuous.

32 posted on 08/11/2004 8:14:16 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: mewzilla

me neither...


33 posted on 08/11/2004 9:15:19 AM PDT by smiley
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To: mewzilla

I was making that point last night. Scooter Libby gave written releases to journalists he spoke to, then Russert and Cooper still had problems.



Russert went in, and Now Cooper is the Last Man Standing.

Could be a Dem electee, but my $$$$ is on a Dem at State.

No way Cooper tolerates this to protect a Pubbie. (Or Russert for that matter.)


34 posted on 08/11/2004 9:19:43 AM PDT by hobbes1 (Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you don't have to" ;)
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To: Miss Marple
One person who was IN the administration but is now in the Kerry camp is Richard Clarke.

Another is Rand Beers, but I'm told that both left the Bush administration several months before Novak wrote his column. I asked about this, and the timing doesn't seem to work.
35 posted on 08/11/2004 9:23:18 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Steve_Seattle
Novak, did not say the "Bush Administration" in fact, if you read between the lines, he is talking about an Executive Branch Careerist...(I still think at State...)

During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: "Oh, you know about it."

And lets face it, once his "wife" became part of the facts, her name was then no matter, since she is listed in Wilson's Who's Who entry....

36 posted on 08/11/2004 9:32:36 AM PDT by hobbes1 (Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you don't have to" ;)
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