Skip to comments.In re Grand Jury Suboena: Judith Miller (Upholding Contempt for NYT & Time reporters in Plame Case)
Posted on 02/15/2005 2:30:11 PM PST by BCrago66
Click above for the PDF file.
Besides being right on the law (in my opinion), this decision may qualify as rough justice because it was the MSM (including the NYTimes) that brayed for a criminal investigation in the Plane matter (even when it's highly unlikely that federal criminal law was violated), hoping that the evil right-winger Robert Novak would go down.
Then they got the criminal investigation they wanted, and started squealing like stuck pigs when, as a result, 2 of their own may face time in the pokey for non-cooperation in that same investigation.
I say "rough" justice because I don't know what the positions of two non-corporate defendants Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper were with regard to the appropriateness of a criminal investigation.
Bet they're not covering for a Pubbie...
Of course not. Any Republican would have been outed long ago.
Yeah, just in time for the election.
By the way, this is a pretty cool court. There's even discussion in text and footnotes regarding bloggers, on pages 6, 9 and 17.
"hoping that the evil right-winger Robert Novak would go down."
I think the red meat was Wilson's speculations the leaker was Karl Rove or the "Libby" fellow.
Correction: references to bloggers are on pages 29, 32 and 59, and not in the opinion of the court, but in 2 separate concurrences. If anyone cares.
That makes sense. these two apparently have a pipeline into the CIA. Maybe Knovak told the investigators he had heard rumors (open secret in D.C.) and these two confirmed. Now they will have to tell the investigatiors that the sources for their anti-Bush stories is Plame herself.
Not unlike Ken Starr's investigation of Clinton. The Clintonistas would leak stuff to their media friends and blame it on Starr.
This is even more than I had hoped for.
What I'm wondering now is whether these reporters will take the rap or sing like canaries.
Attorney Floyd Abrams, center, flanked by New York Times reporter Judith Miller, left, and Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper, talks to reporters outside federal court in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004 after after a hearing where the two reporters are challenging a contempt ruling for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of an undercover CIA operative's name. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A US appeals court upheld a lower court decision that New York Times reporter Judith Miller, shown here in December 2004, is guilty of contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Shaun Heasley)
The three-judge panel upheld a lower court decision that Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, shown here in September 2004, is guilty of contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury.(AFP/File/Paul Richards)
US journalists lose freedom of press appeal
Gary Younge in New York
Thursday February 17, 2005
Two journalists facing jail for refusing to reveal their sources had their appeal quashed yesterday. A panel of three judges panel ruled unanimously that they had no constitutional right to withhold the identity of their contacts from a criminal investigation.
The case has wide-reaching ramifications for freedom of the press in the United States. Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine have been held in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury.
The two journalists claimed that the leaks from government sources of a covert CIA officer's identity were protected by First Amendment privilege, which exempts reporters from revealing their sources to a criminal inquiry.
But in October Chief Judge Thomas Hogan found them in contempt and ordered their detention for 18 months or until the grand jury's term expires, whichever was shorter.
Yesterday, the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia upheld Judge Hogan's decision in an 81-page ruling, while suggesting that common law might provide journalists with protection from revealing the identity of their sources.
The panel cited a 1972 supreme court decision, Branzburg v Hayes, when a reporter was forced to testify about the production of illegal drugs. They said that the supreme court's "transparent and forceful" reasoning applied to the two reporters before the appeals court.
"In language as relevant to the alleged illegal disclosure of the identity of covert agents as it was to the alleged illegal processing of hashish," Judge David Sentelle wrote for the panel, "the court stated that it could not 'seriously entertain the notion that the First Amendment protects the newsman's agreement to conceal the criminal conduct of his source, or evidence thereof, on the theory that it is better to write about a crime than to do something about it'."
Lawyers for the Times and Time said they would appeal and would seek a stay to keep the reporters out of jail.
The case relates to the leaking of the identity of a CIA undercover agent, Valerie Plame, whose husband Joseph Wilson went to Niger at the behest of the CIA in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq hoped to buy uranium for nuclear weapons. Some time after his return Mr Wilson accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the case for going to war.
Annoyed by Mr Wilson's public statements, two unnamed officials reportedly told the syndicated rightwing columnist Robert Novak that Mr Wilson's wife was a CIA "operative" and had helped arrange his trip to Niger.
The leak prompted such a row that the justice department appointed a special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, to investigate.
what is the worst sentence they can get? they are probably willing to do a few months of time to protect whomever they are covering for.
I'm hoping for the full 18 months. When they get out they can write about life in prison. I'm hoping that "felon" will also be attached to their names forever.
LIBERAL Los Angeles Times Reporter tells us:
RATHER's work 'Shoddy, Slipshod' not LIBERAL..?
Good question. Depends on what charges would emerge from any confession, I guess.