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WSJ: U.S. Prosecutor Says Reporters Deserve Jail (Miller and Cooper of the NY Times and Time)
Wall Street Journal ^ | July 6, 2005 | JOE HAGAN

Posted on 07/06/2005 5:46:46 AM PDT by OESY

Apparently unappeased by Time Inc.'s offer last week to turn over a reporter's notes related to confidential sources, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald filed tough-language legal papers yesterday arguing that Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, as well as New York Times reporter Judith Miller, should go to jail for civil contempt.

"Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is," wrote Mr. Fitzgerald, speaking of the reporters' pledge to their sources. Mr. Fitzgerald was appointed by the Bush administration to investigate a government leak that exposed the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

Mr. Fitzgerald also raised the specter of criminal charges against Ms. Miller, asking the judge to advise the reporter that if she continues to refuse to testify "she will be committing a crime." He argued that a charge of criminal contempt might make her stand less popular among the "opinion leaders" who Ms. Miller's lawyers say support her....

Mr. Fitzgerald goes on to describe arguments made by editorial writers in the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, as well as by Anthony Lewis, a former New York Times columnist, whom he says "also disagrees with Miller's absolutism."...

On Friday, Lawrence O'Donnell, a pundit on syndicated talk show "The McLaughlin Hour," claimed on the program that White House political strategist Karl Rove was the source named in Mr. Cooper's notes. But in an interview Monday, Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said his client "didn't disclose Valerie Plame's identification to anyone." Mr. Rove hasn't asked any reporter to treat him as a confidential source in the matter, Mr. Luskin said, "so if Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting."

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: fitzgerald; judithmiller; lawrenceodonnell; losangelestimes; luskin; mattcooper; mclaughlinhour; newyorktimes; novak; pearlstine; plame; rove; timemagazine; wilson

1 posted on 07/06/2005 5:46:49 AM PDT by OESY
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To: OESY
On Friday, Lawrence O'Donnell, a pundit on syndicated talk show "The McLaughlin Hour," claimed on the program that White House political strategist Karl Rove was the source named in Mr. Cooper's notes.

There's your sign.

O'Donnell gets his marching orders straight from the DNC,the source is a Careerist with Leftist Sympathies. Maybe a Clintonoid.

2 posted on 07/06/2005 5:51:12 AM PDT by hobbes1 (Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you dont have to...." ;)
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To: OESY

Like Rush said yesterday, if Rove had been implicated don't you think the dims would hav e screamed to high heaven for his dismissal and imprisonment before the election so as to harm President Bush?


3 posted on 07/06/2005 5:52:46 AM PDT by Joe Boucher (An enemy of Islam)
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To: OESY
"Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is"

No one is more tired of the arrogance of "the fourth estate" and the full-of-themselves reporters that make up its cutting edge. I would like to see these two go to the slammer, if only as surrogates for the whole scurvy lot of their profession.

But where does Prosecutor Fitzgerald's dictum leave Catholic priests and the sanctity of the confessional?

(steely)

4 posted on 07/06/2005 5:54:10 AM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: OESY

If reporters that commit Libel would be sent to jail we would not have many of the a--holes left.


5 posted on 07/06/2005 5:54:38 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: OESY

Where does the idea that a reporter (not journalist, Edward R. Murrow was the last one) source is sacred? If the reporter was told of a crime by witness to a murder or rape or other heinous crime is that source to be protected, too?.........


6 posted on 07/06/2005 5:56:35 AM PDT by Red Badger (The Army makes the world safe for democracy. The Marines make the world safe for the Army.....)
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To: Senator Kunte Klinte

"The court should advise Miller that if she persists in defying the court's order that she will be committing a crime," Mr. Fitzgerald wrote. "Miller and The New York Times appear to have confused Miller's ability to commit contempt with a legal right to do so."

He added: "Much of what appears to motivate Miller to commit contempt is the misguided reinforcement from others (specifically including her publisher) that placing herself above the law can be condoned." The publisher of The Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., has repeatedly said the newspaper supports Ms. Miller.

Mr. Fitzgerald quoted at length from news accounts about Time's decision to demonstrate that journalists and others are not of one mind about the obligation of news organizations and reporters to obey final court orders concerning their confidential sources. He also quoted from opinion columns, essays and a Los Angeles Times editorial suggesting that reporters should not take absolutist positions.

-- News story, New York Times, July 6, 2005


7 posted on 07/06/2005 5:56:43 AM PDT by OESY
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To: Steely Tom
But where does Prosecutor Fitzgerald's dictum leave Catholic priests and the sanctity of the confessional?

I think even Catholic priests are exempt from the confidentiality "rules" of the Church when the crime involves something very serious, such as murder. However, an informant in a political catfight would most likely still be protected by the Church.

Maybe other Freepers with more familiarity with Catholic doctrine could address this.

8 posted on 07/06/2005 5:59:53 AM PDT by PLK
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To: OESY

These people are obviously fooling with the wrong guy. Now that the Rove lie is behind us they ought to put their tails up their butts and give the guy what he wants or put on the orange jump suits.


9 posted on 07/06/2005 6:03:49 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Dealing with liberals? Remember: when you wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and he loves it.)
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To: Red Badger
If the reporter was told of a crime by witness to a murder or rape or other heinous crime is that source to be protected, too?.........

YES......AP is protecting a stringer/photographer they hired in Baghdad to this day.

He witnessed a murder and filmed the brutal execution style killing of election workers leading up to last Jan. Iraqi elections.

10 posted on 07/06/2005 6:11:29 AM PDT by Dog (Now through Time Life Records.Order your copy of Al-Zarqawi's Greatest Hit's for $19.95..)
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To: OESY
A few points.

First Novak cooperated with the prosecutor and has had no contempt charges filed against him.. That means NOVAK told the prosecutor who leaked the information, gave the prosecutor his notes and told him what was leaked. The prosecutor has to all there is to know about the leaker.

It is also likely that the prosecutor deposed the leaker before it was revealed that NOVAK had cooperated. It is very very likely that the leaker denied under oath that he or she was the leaker.

That means the Special Prosecutor can charge the leaker with perjury and revealing classified information.

The testimony of The New York Times reporter and the Time magazine reporter may be helpful to get a conviction. Novak will testify one thing the leaker can testify another. But if the Times and Time magazine reporters can be forced to tell the truth.. it will be 3 against 1. Add to that, Novak's, and the Times' and Time Magazine reporter's notes and the Prosecutor has an air tight case.

The prosecutor needs the reporters notes so the two reporters can't commit perjury about what they were told by the leaker and get away with it.

The first thing they teach in law school is never tell a judge, "You can't do that to me!!!" The judge will find a way. The media has challenged the authority of the courts.. That is a very dumb move.

It is obvious that the Times called for a special prosecutor expecting to get one that would help it destroy the President. What they got was a Special Prosecutor appointed by President Bush who is out to teach leakers and the media the cost of leaking and receiving and lying about leaked classified information.

The media needs to catch on. Every time they try to punch Bush's nose, He kicks their a$$$


11 posted on 07/06/2005 6:13:16 AM PDT by Common Tator
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To: PLK

" 'But where does Prosecutor Fitzgerald's dictum leave Catholic priests and the sanctity of the confessional?'

I think even Catholic priests are exempt from the confidentiality "rules" of the Church when the crime involves something very serious, such as murder. However, an informant in a political catfight would most likely still be protected by the Church.

Maybe other Freepers with more familiarity with Catholic doctrine could address this."


The seal of confession cannot be broken by the priest for any reason - regardless of the crime confessed.


12 posted on 07/06/2005 6:17:33 AM PDT by Miles the Slasher
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To: Common Tator

The best part of this development is, the Scribbling Profession did it to themselves.


13 posted on 07/06/2005 6:22:24 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: PLK
Maybe other Freepers with more familiarity with Catholic doctrine could address this.

Maybe the Catholic and other churches have such provisions but I always thought communications between priests, pastors, etc. and churchmembers were granted absolute privilege under the law. Maybe some of the FR legal minds can straighten this out but I know that lawyers and doctors (including psychiatrists, etc.) do not have to reveal communications with clients. I always thought the same privilege extended to the clergy.

14 posted on 07/06/2005 6:25:52 AM PDT by Bernard Marx (Don't make the mistake of interpreting my Civility as Servility)
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To: PLK
The sanctity of the confessional is indeed absolute and total.

Priests have died rather than communicate matter revealed under the seal of the confession.

Canon 983.1: "The sacramental seal is inviolable it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason."

Canon 984.1: "A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowlege acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded."

A violation of the seal of confession is an excommunicatable offense reserved to the Holy See.

If a penitent confessed something like a murder, the priest probably would instruct him that he would not give absolution until the penitent turned himself in to the authorities. If he believes enough to confess, that's strong compulsion to turn himself in.

But the priest cannot reveal it.

The major difference between priests and reporters is that priests can't tell ANYbody -- reporters tell EVERYbody, they just don't reveal their "source".

15 posted on 07/06/2005 6:25:54 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: jmaroneps37

The decision about jail is supposed to come down today. I believe..


16 posted on 07/06/2005 6:26:26 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: Joe Boucher
"Like Rush said yesterday, if Rove had been implicated don't you think the dims would hav e screamed to high heaven for his dismissal and imprisonment before the election so as to harm President Bush?"

er..... No one is implicated yet. sheesh... thats what this is all about, to find out who is.
17 posted on 07/06/2005 6:46:30 AM PDT by monday
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To: Steely Tom

"But where does Prosecutor Fitzgerald's dictum leave Catholic priests and the sanctity of the confessional?"

In case you, and others, have forgotten why it is important for reporters to be able to protect their sources, the reason is to protect whistle blowers. Whistle blowers are traditionally people inside government who expose government corruption and abuse of power.

If their sources are exposed, it leaves the sources open to persecution by the same corrupt government officials.

In short, if reporters are not able to maintain the confidentiality of their sources, the chances of them ever exposing governmental corruption go way down as witnesses would be afraid to come forward.

It is one of the checks and balances established to safeguard against governmental abuse of power.

I don't see how it applies in this case however.


18 posted on 07/06/2005 6:59:09 AM PDT by monday
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To: Miles the Slasher; PLK
The seal of confession cannot be broken by the priest for any reason - regardless of the crime confessed.

So either Prosecutor Fitzgerald was misquoted or he was just spouting BS.

By the way, I thought that a one spouse can not be compelled to testify against the other. Doesn't that mean that a husband can "promise complete confidentiality" to his wife?

I'm not trying to go to the third degree over this, but it just seems to me that a federal prosecutor should be careful when he makes a declaritive statement that it be accurate.

I say again, I'm glad he's going after these two. The leaker should be brought to justice, regardless of his or her political party. Although I'll bet I can guess which party is the leaker's home, as can most everyone else here.

(steely)

19 posted on 07/06/2005 6:59:37 AM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: monday
In case you, and others, have forgotten why it is important for reporters to be able to protect their sources, the reason is to protect whistle blowers. Whistle blowers are traditionally people inside government who expose government corruption and abuse of power.

Fine, and I've no problem with that. If this were a whistle-blower situation, the politics would be completely different: Bush would make himself look more guilty by threatening these reporters with jail time.

But this is not the case here. The whole Plame case was played to embarass the President, and it didn't work very well anyway.

Besides, I seem to recall at least one and possibly two whistle blowers in the Clinton administration who were quickly "outed" by the reporters to who they confided. No one said boo about that.

The press is corrupt in many ways, and the whole confidential source setup is just one.

(steely)

20 posted on 07/06/2005 7:09:01 AM PDT by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: PLK
"Maybe other Freepers with more familiarity with Catholic doctrine could address this."

The question isn't about Catholic doctrine, but the law. I think priests generally tell a penitent that if he has committed a crime, he needs to report it to the proper authorities as a condition of absolution. That is fairly clear; what is not clear is whether the law could force a priest to divulge information heard in confession.
21 posted on 07/06/2005 7:18:29 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Common Tator

So, who is the leaker?


22 posted on 07/06/2005 7:22:05 AM PDT by stinkerpot65
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To: Common Tator
"The prosecutor needs the reporters notes so the two reporters can't commit perjury about what they were told by the leaker and get away with it."

from the article; "Apparently unappeased by Time Inc.'s offer last week to turn over a reporter's notes related to confidential sources, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald..."

He could have the notes if he wanted them. Apparently thats not good enough.

"First Novak cooperated with the prosecutor and has had no contempt charges filed against him.. That means NOVAK told the prosecutor who leaked the information, gave the prosecutor his notes and told him what was leaked. The prosecutor has to all there is to know about the leaker."

Is that true? My understanding was that Novak got his information second hand and only told prosecutors Millers name?

from the article; "Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is,"...Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

This is absurd. All sorts of people are not only entitled to promise complete confidentiality, but are required by their profession to promise complete confidentiality. Lawyers, doctors and priests as well as reporters. They may have to go to jail in order to maintain their promises and their integrity, but they are still required by their professions to keep them.
23 posted on 07/06/2005 7:24:34 AM PDT by monday
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To: monday
"But this is not the case here. The whole Plame case was played to embarass the President, and it didn't work very well anyway."

from my post #18; "I don't see how it applies in this case however."

In other words, I agree. I guess you missed that part?
24 posted on 07/06/2005 7:34:10 AM PDT by monday
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To: Steve_Seattle

"what is not clear is whether the law could force a priest to divulge information heard in confession."

No. The law could send a priest to jail, but could not make him divulge information heard in confession.


25 posted on 07/06/2005 7:38:16 AM PDT by monday
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To: Steely Tom
"But where does Prosecutor Fitzgerald's dictum leave Catholic priests and the sanctity of the confessional?"

Probably alone. If this info had been passed in the confessional; it would have stayed there; and no one would be the wiser.

As for Valerie herself and her husband; remember when this story 'broke' it was said, that her 'cover' was pretty much common knowledge inside the beltway; or at least the cocktail circuit.

Have seen little in the way of discretion emanting from this media-loving; Bush-hating couple.

26 posted on 07/06/2005 7:41:48 AM PDT by cricket (Just say NO U.N.)
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To: Common Tator
First Novak cooperated with the prosecutor and has had no contempt charges filed against him.. That means NOVAK told the prosecutor who leaked the information, gave the prosecutor his notes and told him what was leaked. The prosecutor has to all there is to know about the leaker.

I'm beginning to think there was no leaker. I think Bob was having a friendly conversation like, "Who on earth would choose Joe Wilson to go to Niger, the guy's an idiot." So-called leaker, "Well, it must have been someone over at the CIA who has a thang for him." The lights go off in Novak's head, ah ha, his WIFE works there. So he makes more phone calls to shore up his suspicion and the rest is history.

27 posted on 07/06/2005 7:44:19 AM PDT by hobson
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To: Steely Tom

"I would like to see these two go to the slammer, if only as surrogates for the whole scurvy lot of their profession."

ME, TOO!! There is a laundry list of so-called "journalists" who should be doing time in the gray-bar motel right now.


28 posted on 07/06/2005 7:58:09 AM PDT by Polyxene (For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel - Martin Luther)
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To: OESY

I bet the reporters decide to go to jail. Having the Rove thing out there makes them look like martyrs, when in reality, they probably lied to investigators ala Martha Stewart.


29 posted on 07/06/2005 8:19:15 AM PDT by Homer1
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To: Steely Tom

Priests and physicians are under a completely different law and standard as codified in the Fed and all State codes.


30 posted on 07/06/2005 8:23:58 AM PDT by Texas Songwriter
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