August 9, 2004


Court Holds Reporter in Contempt in Leak Case: Time Magazine's Cooper Threatened with Jail for Not Revealing Source (Carol D. Leonnig, August 9, 2004, Washington Post)

Newly released court orders show U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan two weeks ago ordered Matt Cooper of Time magazine and Tim Russert of NBC to appear before a grand jury and tell whether they knew that White House sources provided the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media.

The Justice Department probe is trying to determine whether this information was provided knowingly, in violation of the law. Hogan's orders show that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald believes Cooper and Russert know the answer.

Cooper still refused to answer questions after Hogan's July 20 order, and on Aug. 6 Hogan held him in contempt of court and ordered that he go to jail. Cooper has been released on bond pending his emergency appeal to a federal appeals court. Hogan has ordered that Time pay a $1,000 fine for each day Cooper does not appear before the grand jury.

Sources close to the investigation said they believe Russert was not held in contempt Aug. 6 because he agreed to answer the questions after Hogan's July 20 ruling.

Maybe the story is just poorly written, but knowingly revealing she worked at the CIA wouldn't be a crime. You'd have to know that she was a field agent within the past five years, which her motherhood makes rather unlikely.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 9, 2004 10:11 PM

Big Russ didn't raise no dummy. Way to be Big Russ.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 9, 2004 10:14 PM

As far as I can tell, whatever case there was evaporated when Val's memo touting her husband's French conections became public. That made it most likely (and impossible to disprove) that after the NYT op-ed, someone called CIA and asked, in effect, "why did we send this jacka**?" and CIA said, "because his wife works here." That was repeated to Novak, without anyone knowing or caring whether his wife was covert.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 9, 2004 10:50 PM