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Plame Case May End With Criminal Going Free and 'Witnesses' Jailed
Editor and Publisher ^ | 03/24/05 | William E. Jackson Jr.

Posted on 03/24/2005 6:25:20 AM PST by Pikamax

Plame Case May End With Criminal Going Free and 'Witnesses' Jailed There is now little expectation that the special prosecutor will succeed in identifying the person or persons who violated the law by revealing Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity to journalists. Meanwhile, Matt Cooper and Judith Miller are still on the hook.

By William E. Jackson Jr.

(March 23, 2005) -- A Washington week of interviews with numerous reporters and editors for national news outlets leaves one with a checkered perspective in the case of Valerie Plame and the two witnesses/defendants -- Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, who wrote about Plame, and Judith Miller of The New York Times, who did not -- still under sentence for contempt of court.

On March 21, more than a month after a three-judge panel of the circuit court for the District of Columbia upheld their October contempt convictions, joint counsel Floyd Abrams filed an appeal requesting a re-hearing. In talking to E&P this week, he did not sound very optimistic as to their chances: ""It's not as if the court routinely grants such a request -- but we are taking every step available to us."

If the appeal is heard, there is a widespread assumption among close observers that it will result in a unanimous opinion upholding the lower court. (And virtually no lawyer involved thinks the Supreme Court would later consider the case on appeal.) But no one knows how long it will take for the eight judges to decide. In the meantime, should the grand jury expire, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald can renew it.

Paradoxically, there is now little expectation that Fitzgerald will succeed in identifying the person or persons in the Executive Office of the President who was first to knowingly and intentionally violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity to journalists. It appears that every official is in a position to claim that her name was "out there," in circulation, before Bob Novak's July column, and that they merely repeated what had been heard from someone else to members of the press or the administration.

For example, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- a skilled lawyer -- is claiming that he first heard Plame's name from a press source. (Bob Novak is speculated to be Scooter's alleged source; Judith Miller comes in second.) If Libby mentioned the sensitive information to staff, they might have passed on what they had heard about Plame to selected reporters, without necessary knowledge of the law.

Or other reporters could have first heard of Plame from Novak's column, or Matt Cooper's online story a few days later, and then called officials for confirmation. However, as later claimed by Novak, her professional identity may not have been "much of a secret," as Walter Pincus of The Washington Post -- who did not write about it at the time -- had heard the tale before any word appeared in public print.

Thus, it would seem to be only a matter of time before Fitzgerald concludes an inconclusive investigation into who committed a felony.

Yet he persists in prosecuting the two known remaining witnesses to the alleged crime, for contempt of court in refusing to reveal confidential sources. Is he just dotting the i's and crossing the t's before closing down the investigation? It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the criminal is not found but the witness to the crime is sent to jail. As in the Cuban missile crisis, will one party blink?

Since much of Fitzgerald's evidence has been presented in secret, with case documents substantially redacted, defense counsel Abrams' strongest argument may be violation of due process. Ironically, these barriers can also insure that Judith Miller never has to fear public embarrassment from the details of her own involvement leaking out.

The bloom is definitely off this case. No longer does one hear it described as a once-in-a-generation showdown between the government and the Fourth Estate over the First Amendment. It’s not that it is being ignored by the working press; indeed, several reporters told me that, unfortunately, the Plame affair is often mentioned by would-be confidential sources when explaining their skittishness in talking about classified matters, doubly so given the obsession with secrecy of the Bush White House.

The chief of one top chain's Washington bureau speaks of leads on stories that have "fizzled." A senior investigative reporter for a prominent national newspaper made the point that there is no way to measure the insidious effect of the Fitzgerald probe, in that it has become an invisible part of the warp and woof of the relationship between a free press and a security-obsessed administration.

One of Miller's former colleagues put it this way when describing her problematic role in the Plame case: "She has made it tougher for us all" by, in his view, essentially inventing the claim that she was contemplating a story about Plame.

NEXT: Miller takes her case to the public.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: cialeak; josephwilson; judithmiller; mattcooper; valerieplame

1 posted on 03/24/2005 6:25:22 AM PST by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax
HA!

HA HA!

2 posted on 03/24/2005 6:27:59 AM PST by TonyInOhio (Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never.)
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To: Pikamax

From day one of this affair, I've always believed that Plame and Wilson engaged in the criminal conduct. His "convienent" hiring and unauthorized divulging of intelligence information in the media was just an attempt to undermine the war by two Clinonistas.

I eagerly wait for Joe Wilson to be frog marched into custody and his wife to be fired from the CIA.


3 posted on 03/24/2005 6:35:05 AM PST by Wristpin ( Varitek says to A-Rod: "We don't throw at .260 hitters.....")
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To: Pikamax

Judith Miller and Matt Cooper are protecting a source who told them Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. They want us to believe they are protecting someone from the Bush White House. Robert Novak didn't protect his source, but he did lie about it being someone in the Bush administration. I think Miller and Cooper were Novak's source. And I don't think Miller and Cooper would be willing to go to jail in order to protect a conservative. Anyone want to bet that Miller and Cooper's source is Joe Wilson?


4 posted on 03/24/2005 6:36:00 AM PST by advance_copy (Stand for life, or nothing at all)
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To: Pikamax
Criminal Going Free and 'Witnesses' Jailed

These things happen. They highlight the limitations of human justice. That's why there are Presidential pardons.

5 posted on 03/24/2005 6:41:30 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: Pikamax

What an utterly dishonest piece this is. It first describes how Plame's identity was probably well known in Washington prior to this story, how her identity actually might have been conveyed to some members of administration by the press, and then goes on to assert that a felony has been committed, even though the law specifically says that disclosure of an agent's identity must be done for the purpose of jeopardizing national security, and there is no evidence whatsoever that that was the case.


6 posted on 03/24/2005 6:50:34 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: cyncooper; Shermy

Ping...to our resident sleuths on this matter.


7 posted on 03/24/2005 6:53:41 AM PST by Dog
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To: liberallarry

There is no evidence that a crime was committed by anyone in the administration. These highly partisan journalists tried to create a scandal, and now its blowing up in their faces. LOL These a**holes deserve everything that's happening to them. They were the ones committing crimes.


8 posted on 03/24/2005 6:54:21 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: Steve_Seattle
The liberal media wants it both ways. They hammered the Administration for the Plame identity leak as a crime. It is arguable, there were some here who took that position. It really wasn't a crime though. To protect some liberal journalists are being hurt, liberal media would have to admit that they were wrong. But that's not how these rascals operate. They weasel out of the responsibility to be consistent.

Similar to the WMDs in Iraq and al Qaqaa. They simultaneously want to hammer W for invading Iraq when there were absolutely zero WMDs, and hammer him for letting these dangerous munitions be "looted."

9 posted on 03/24/2005 7:09:33 AM PST by NutCrackerBoy
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To: Steve_Seattle
There is no evidence that a crime was committed by anyone in the administration

Novak revealed Plame's identity as a covert CIA operative. His sources seem to have committed a crime. That's why there's an investigation.

It may be that things are not what they seem to be; that Plame was not actually covert, that her identity was already well-known, that those who revealed her identity did so unwittingly or were tricked, etc. That's why due process is so important.

Freedom of the press is perhaps our most important freedom - public exposure is a terrific deterent to crime - and protecting sources is an essential part of that freedom.

The reporters are being prosecuted for protecting that freedom on the grounds that protecting sources cannot be used to shield criminals (ironic, don't you think, since you claim no crime has been committed). That in itself is wrong but it becomes a travesty when Novak is not one of them.

That your short-sighted, partisan sympathies render you incapable of seeing this makes me hold you in utter contempt. In this matter you are a true thug, a member of the mob, a Nazi.

10 posted on 03/24/2005 7:14:38 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: Pikamax
Paradoxically, there is now little expectation that Fitzgerald will succeed in identifying the person or persons in the Executive Office of the President who was first to knowingly and intentionally violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity to journalists.

Really. Just say it was actually the "Executive Office of the President" and that makes it so? I think not. There is zero evidence to support that statement.

As to saying as if it has been established that Plame was covert, that is in dispute. For example:

The Plame Game: Was This a Crime?

I part ways with the authors of my link above in that I do believe other aspects of the Wilson/Plame story are being looked into so I am thinking Fitzgerald is not wasting time and money.

11 posted on 03/24/2005 7:30:14 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: liberallarry
Well, liberallarry, here's something to ponder on; I don't think that the leak is the prime objective of this Grand Jury. I think Fitzgerald is after bigger fish.

By the way, one of the reasons Miller was questioned os to find out the source of her information on a raid on Islamic charities, which was tipped to the charity and evidence probably destroyed. This happened in late 2001.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

12 posted on 03/24/2005 7:32:52 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Pikamax

Plame and Wilson are the real criminals.


13 posted on 03/24/2005 7:36:04 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Dog
Thank you for the ping.

This from the article:

For example, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- a skilled lawyer -- is claiming that he first heard Plame's name from a press source. (Bob Novak is speculated to be Scooter's alleged source; Judith Miller comes in second.) If Libby mentioned the sensitive information to staff, they might have passed on what they had heard about Plame to selected reporters, without necessary knowledge of the law.

A new way to get around the fact that Libby signed a confidentiality waiver in order to clear his name as the ostensible "leaker".

In fact, Matt Cooper, among other reporters like Tim Russert, has told the grand jury that they did speak with Libby and he never mentioned Plame at all. Yet now we return to a circuitous effort to implicate him yet again.

There is no evidence Libby had knowledge of Wilson's trip in order to leak anything about it.

After Matt Cooper was first held in contempt last summer he did give the Libby clearing testimony. It was then the grand jury subpoened him again and he again was held in contempt. The grand jury wants to know more than who spoke to him about Plame. They want information on what he was told about Wilson and Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger. See the Appellate Court ruling for excerpts from the subpoena.

14 posted on 03/24/2005 7:36:27 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: liberallarry
The grand jury was not established to prosecute a crime, but to see if a crime was even committed. The pertinent law sets a very high bar of proof, one which requires actual, deliberate treason and intent to harm the security of the United States. As Novak said from the outset, Plame's identity was not shopped, or emphasized, but was made casually as part of a wide-ranging conversation. As other, even pro-Democrat, journalists have pointed out, Plame's identity was widely known in Washington before this "scandal" broke.

As for the press which you so uncritically praise, it generally defended one of the most sinister and massive threats to free speech in the history of this country - McCain-Feingold, and Bush was roundly criticized by me and others in this forum for signing that horrible law. The reporters in this case are being found in contempt of court, and most legal experts believe that the judges are acting responsibly and in conformance with previous freedom of the press precedent, and that appeals to higher courts would almost certainly fail. I'm not sure how my belief that reporters should obey settled law makes me a "Nazi".
15 posted on 03/24/2005 7:40:04 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: Miss Marple
one of the reasons Miller was questioned os to find out the source of her information on a raid on Islamic charities, which was tipped to the charity and evidence probably destroyed.

This sentence is incomprehensible. Aside from that Fitzgerald has been remarkably close-mouthed about his investigation...so I don't give your speculations any weight at all.

16 posted on 03/24/2005 7:46:37 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: Miss Marple; liberallarry
It's a separate grand jury that Patrick Fitzgerald has that involves Miller and her colleague, Philip Shenon, re the leaks involving Islamic charities. Quite possibly related as to what kind of leaks and criminality are being looked at that would be much broader than Plame's status in that particular grand jury.

TIMESMAN TIPPED OFF TERROR CHARITY: FEDS (NY Times Correspondent Accused)

excerpt:

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago charged in court papers that Shenon blew the cover on the Dec. 14, 2001, raid of the Global Relief Foundation — the first charges of their kind under broad new investigatory powers given to the feds under the Patriot Act.

"It has been conclusively established that Global Relief Foundation learned of the search from reporter Philip Shenon of The New York Times," Fitzgerald said in an Aug. 7, 2002, letter to the Times' legal department.

~snip~

more:

Federal Court Backs 'NYT' in Phone-Records Case

excerpt:

The lawsuit had said Miller's phone records were being sought in connection with an investigation into an alleged leak from a government employee to Miller in late September and early October 2001. It said the alleged leak concerned a government decision to freeze the assets of the Global Relief Foundation and a Dallas-based Islamic charity, the Holy Land Foundation, which has been accused of aiding Hamas.

~snip~

17 posted on 03/24/2005 7:56:57 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: Pikamax
"there is now little expectation that Fitzgerald will succeed in identifying the person or persons in the Executive Office of the President who was first to knowingly and intentionally violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity to journalists"

This is an outrageous statement, made without proof. This is what the grand jury is investigating, and until its findings are known it is irresponsible and unprofessional to make this accusation. But liberallary thinks it's just fine, and if you disagree, you're a Nazi.
18 posted on 03/24/2005 7:59:56 AM PST by Steve_Seattle
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To: Steve_Seattle
Your first paragraph is just a restatement of my assertions.

As for the press which you so uncritically praise

A complete misstatement of my position. I uncritically(?) praise freedom of the press. Not the press itself and certainly not individual newsmen or publications. Like Adam Smith's celebration of capitalism; protect free enterprise despite the fact that many businessmen are selfish, mean-spirited, unappealing crooks.

The reporters in this case are being found in contempt of court, and most legal experts believe that the judges are acting responsibly and in conformance with previous freedom of the press preceden

They are being found in contempt of court for refusing to reveal their sources...on the theory that there is no law or precedent which allows them to shield criminals or criminal actions. Probably a reasonable interpretation of the law.

But where's Novak in all this? Why isn't he being pursued? And here's something to think about. Suppose the reporters lose their appeals and decide to reveal their sources. What happens then? According to you NOTHING will happen because no crime has been committed. Are you satisfied with a legal system which allows such things to happen?

I'm not sure how my belief that reporters should obey settled law makes me a "Nazi"

I don't like using epithets like that. In my 3 years of posting this may be the first time I've used "Nazi". That tells you how important I think this case is and how blind I think you are.

19 posted on 03/24/2005 8:00:52 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: liberallarry
Aside from that Fitzgerald has been remarkably close-mouthed about his investigation.

That is correct. Which is why we didn't find out about the Islamic charity business until court filings were reported.

20 posted on 03/24/2005 8:03:42 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: Steve_Seattle
This is an outrageous statement, made without proof.

It is completely baseless and outrageous.

21 posted on 03/24/2005 8:07:05 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: Steve_Seattle
This is an outrageous statement, made without proof...but liberallary thinks it's just fine, and if you disagree, you're a Nazi

Liberallary thinks there will always be disputes about what is true and what isn't, especially in politics where real interests are at stake. The best way - BY FAR - to resolve these disputes is public discussion. When you start jailing your opponents you've lost all claim to decency or freedom.

22 posted on 03/24/2005 8:08:20 AM PST by liberallarry
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23 posted on 03/24/2005 8:09:43 AM PST by jla
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To: Steve_Seattle
This is an outrageous statement, made without proof. This is what the grand jury is investigating, and until its findings are known it is irresponsible and unprofessional to make this accusation.

If you'd made this statement from the beginning and left it at that I would have agreed with you.

24 posted on 03/24/2005 8:15:02 AM PST by liberallarry
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To: liberallarry
But where's Novak in all this? Why isn't he being pursued?

Possibly testified. He isn't saying but we know he hasn't been held in contempt.

25 posted on 03/24/2005 8:24:59 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: liberallarry

Why did you feel compelled to us the term "Nazi"?

It is not at all clear to me.


26 posted on 03/24/2005 8:25:35 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: liberallarry
The best way - BY FAR - to resolve these disputes is public discussion.

Yes, which is why the journalists should speak.

When you start jailing your opponents you've lost all claim to decency or freedom.

They have been called before a grand jury under subpoena and will not testify as the law demands. I urge you to read the appellate court ruling I linked up thread, including each judge's individual opinion. The three judges were unanimous and one judge even states he would be inclined to allow the journalists to protect their sources but the evidence presented under seal by the prosecutor was so compelling he virtually had no choice.

27 posted on 03/24/2005 8:31:16 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: liberallarry
There is no constitutional right to shield sources. There is not a federal shield law, only laws state by state. The reason I know this is that Mike Pence, CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN from Indiana, has introduced a federal shield law in this session.

In general the sources for a reporter aren't required by the government, except in cases of national security. In the Plame/Wilson case, we apparently have someone who may have broken national security laws. In the case of the Islamic charities raid, we have someone who revealed information that was given to the Islamic charities and allowed them to destroy evidence, when such raid was done a few months after 9/11 and was the government's appropriate efforts to discover sources of terrorism money and people IN THIS COUNTRY who were aiding and abbeting their activities.

28 posted on 03/24/2005 8:34:38 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: cyncooper
For some reason, I didn't realize those were two separate grand juries. I guess because the prosecutor and the witness names were the same, I just assumed that it was the same grand jury.

This is why I count on you for information in this case.

I also shouldn't try to get too technical when I am posting from my son's home and also watching a two-year old. LOL!

29 posted on 03/24/2005 8:36:22 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Miss Marple

It can be confusing but oh so very interesting.

I'll ping you if Matt Cooper gets frog-marched off to jail.

LOL


30 posted on 03/24/2005 8:37:53 AM PST by cyncooper
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To: Pikamax

This seems like a just decision to me. What's all the fuss? Jail the journalists and free Terri!


31 posted on 03/24/2005 8:45:19 AM PST by noah (noah)
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To: cyncooper
Please do! I look forward to it, particularly if Mandy Grunewald is wailing in the background and gnashing her vampire teeth! LOL!

Off to do more laundry. Back later.

32 posted on 03/24/2005 8:48:26 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Pikamax

I didn't even bother to read the whole article because there was no crime involved in Plame case and the so-called witnesses deserve what they get for attempting a partisan attack on a conservative reporter, in an attempt to influence an election. Besides that, the source that the government is looking for, is probably within the CIA, or was at the time and fed the two reporters other information which the reporters then used to interfer with a terrorist investigation.


33 posted on 03/24/2005 8:51:27 AM PST by Eva
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To: Pikamax
Paradoxically, there is now little expectation that Fitzgerald will succeed in identifying the person or persons in the Executive Office of the President who was first to knowingly and intentionally violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity to journalists.

It was probably Ted Kennedy.

34 posted on 03/24/2005 8:51:49 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Steve_Seattle

Add to that that apparently Plame no longer had a "covert identity" for nearly a decade before.


35 posted on 03/24/2005 10:06:44 AM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: Dog; liberallarry

Thing is, the blabbers already spoke to the FBI.

The info is out there.


36 posted on 03/24/2005 10:14:36 AM PST by Shermy
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To: liberallarry

"But where's Novak in all this? Why isn't he being pursued?"

Larry,

don't buy into the latest left-side deflections. Novak is pursued. In fact, his sources have already spoken to the FBI, saying they told him not to use the name. This has been reported, but is ignored, because the Plame investigation cheerleaders are having second thoughts because it turns out that the leakers were not the usual hate objects of Rove, Libby, etc.

Novak can't talk, but he did warn them. He said the first leaker was "not a partisan gunslinger." They didn't listen.

The crime is not who printed but who leaked.


37 posted on 03/24/2005 10:33:35 AM PST by Shermy
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To: Pikamax
It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the criminal is not found but the witness to the crime is sent to jail.

Well, if you have witnesses lying to cover up a criminal act, it seems logical that they might succeed in allowing that criminal to go free. Why is that so difficult to imagine?

38 posted on 03/24/2005 10:36:13 AM PST by JohnnyZ ("Thought I was having trouble with my adding. It's all right now." - Clint Eastwood)
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To: liberallarry; Androcles; cyncooper

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0316-25.htm

Here's a prof for journalistic protections - but not in this particular case.


39 posted on 03/24/2005 5:45:36 PM PST by Shermy
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