July 6, 2005

JUDGING JUDY:

Judge Orders Jail for N.Y. Times Reporter (PETE YOST, 7/06/05, AP)

A federal judge on Wednesday jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to divulge her source to a grand jury investigating the Bush administration's leak of an undercover CIA operative's name.

"There is still a realistic possibility that confinement might cause her to testify," U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said.

Miller stood up, hugged her lawyer and was escorted from the courtroom.

Earlier, Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, in an about-face, told Hogan that he would now cooperate with a federal prosecutor's investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame because his source gave him specific authority to discuss their conversation. "I am prepared to testify. I will comply" with the court's order, Cooper said.


It's not entirely clear that the reporters shouldn't be going to jail anyway for pursuing the story.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 6, 2005 4:51 PM
Comments

They're protecting Colin Powell.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 6, 2005 5:19 PM

A little jail time should do wonders for the pasty faced tubby. He looked plenty scared. Judith Miller, arrogant and defiant. She's not scared. Afterall grown men cowered at the sight of her by-line. As Rush says, this is more fun than a grown up is supposed to have.

I think it's a safe bet that the media stars will be a lot more careful about sources in the future.

Posted by: erp at July 6, 2005 5:22 PM

Serves them right to suffer. Now for the rest of the NYTimes crew.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 6, 2005 5:37 PM

Imagine, if they'd just send her to G'itmo to do her time, she could be doing an in depth, investigative piece on the evil horrors and torture there.

Posted by: John Resnick at July 6, 2005 5:53 PM

will judy be staying in the stewart suite, at leavenworth ?

Posted by: cjm at July 6, 2005 5:54 PM

ghostcat - Good guess. The other likely possibility is George Tenet.

Posted by: pj at July 6, 2005 6:03 PM

why would either discredit the peace party they were heading?

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 6:08 PM

My only regret is that the rest of the 'journalists' at the Times aren't in jail with her.

Posted by: bart at July 6, 2005 7:26 PM

The lengths at which these reporters are going to protect their source makes me believe that it isn't Rove or any other Bush admin type. Ghostcat and PJ - I hadn't even thought of Powell or Tenet.

Posted by: AWW at July 6, 2005 7:56 PM

AWW - Judith Miller going to the mat suggests hers is a live source. Maybe on the Senate Intelligence Committee? I think Tenet was Novak's original source, and I suspect he spoke to other reporters later to try to quell the controversy.

Posted by: pj at July 6, 2005 8:06 PM

The source, if there is one--it was common knowledge that she was CIA--is someone trying to discredit Joe Wilson by linking him to the anti-war realists at CIA and State.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 8:23 PM

I don't think so, oj. Actually Tom Maguire has looked deeply into this. It appears that Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was informed by Miller and Cooper, during discussions prior to Novak's column, that Wilson's wife Plame was a CIA agent. The prosecutor is trying to figure out how they know that. Cooper says he learned it from other members of the press. Miller won't say.

Probably Miller learned it from - Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson. I wonder if Plame can be prosecuted for disclosing her own identity?

I do think that Novak's source was probably Tenet, and that his motive was not to discredit Wilson, but to account for the hiring of Wilson in a way that didn't make the CIA look like it was out to sabotage the administration. He was by that time already trying to save his job.

Maguire mentions a Wash Post story by Walter Pincus that sounds like it could have had Colin Powell as a source, with the motive of downplaying the Wilson affair.

Posted by: pj at July 6, 2005 9:44 PM

Give that man a seegar.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 6, 2005 9:55 PM

pj:

That would, of course, mean there is no source, just an admission. But the idea that the editor asked Miller to get someone besides the Plames to confirm she was CIA and that Miller went to the political shop at the White House is kind of inane.

Posted by: oj at July 6, 2005 11:12 PM

I think you have the mistaken idea that this is an investigation of the administration. This is an investigation of the CIA. They were leaking like mad, were very close to the press, and it's come back to bite them.

Posted by: pj at July 7, 2005 7:38 AM

Yes, if we assume it's real, the Plame leak was a counterattack and did effectively destroy the CIA's credibility and Wilson's. The leak could not possibly benefit Wilson, so won't have come from his allies. The most likely possibility though remains that there was no "leak", just common knowledge confirmed.

Posted by: oj at July 7, 2005 8:21 AM

too bad the london attacks will drive miller's plight out of the news. still, she will have plenty of close company where she is now.

Posted by: cjm at July 7, 2005 12:19 PM

oj - In order for Plame to leak CIA analyses, etc. to the media, she had to persuade them that she was a CIA insider. So she had to leak her own identity as step 1 on the way to becoming a leaker of other stuff. Same with all the other CIA leakers. So the news media knew these people's identity long before the administration had ever heard of them. The administration may have learned their identity from the press itself. So the original leak may have gone CIA -> Miller -> Libby/Rove. Note that Miller/NYTimes ran no stories about Plame/Wilson, but they had run stories six months earlier about CIA skepticism toward Iraqi WMD with CIA sources, and Plame was the WMD analyst.

The original disclosure of Plame's identity, even if it was by Plame herself, was a leak. I don't know what you mean by "there was no leak."

The leak to Novak was already late in the game, may well have been made by a guy like Tenet who was well aware of all the CIA leaking that had been going on, well aware that Plame's identity had been disclosed to the press, and wanted to tamp down the Wilson controversy. There's no reason to assume it was a "counterattack."

Posted by: pj at July 7, 2005 2:50 PM

pj:

There was no leak because her being CIA was common knowledge. If she told people and wanted to remain a good source she'd hardly have told them to run the story.

Posted by: oj at July 7, 2005 4:56 PM

Ah, so "leak" means telling something to reporter + publication of story.

Well, legally the crime of revealing a CIA agent's name occurs as soon as the government official reveals the name to anyone, including a reporter. So insofar as there's a crime they're investigating (other than the reporters' refusal to cooperate with federal investigators), such a crime occurred in the telling to the reporter, whether or not a story occurred.

And her being CIA only became common knowledge as a result of that crime occurring.

Posted by: pj at July 7, 2005 6:15 PM

pj:

No, it was pretty well known in Washington at the time. If you read the stories you'll see that just by sending Wilson she'd put herself in a position where the CIA would consider her cover blown.

But it's also not generically against the law to reveal she was CIA, only if she was or had been in the past 5 years clandestine. She's obviously the best situated to know if she wasn't so if she revealed it we can assume the law wasn't even technically violated. If it was someone else they would need to have known that she was or had been clandestine, which they may well not have.

Posted by: oj at July 7, 2005 6:30 PM

We could assume the law wasn't even technically violated, but then why this long and expensive investigation? Under DOJ guidelines, they're not supposed to initiate or continue investigations like this unless a crime was committed.

Posted by: pj at July 8, 2005 7:08 AM

pj:

Because when you question enough people stories conflict and you can do a perjury prosecution.

Posted by: oj at July 8, 2005 7:27 AM
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