Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New York Times Reporter Jailed

New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been jailed for refusing to divulge confidential sources in the case involving a White House leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s name.

When you think about it, this is quite amazing. Someone in the White House commits the very serious crime of revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent and a reporter, who didn’t even write the story that exposed Plame, goes to jail. The man who did write the Plame story, Robert Novak, has not been threatened with jail time. Another reporter, Time Magazine’s Matthew Cooper, has avoided jail by agreeing to reveal his sources.

I imagine this all makes sense to the prosecutors and judge, but to us commoners out here, I think the prevailing opinion is, “say what?” How is Novak avoiding jail? And if he did reveal his sources, why does it matter if Miller does or does not? And if Cooper revealed his sources, why doesn’t that get Miller off the hook? What does Miller know that’s different from what Cooper or Novak know? How much corroboration is needed?

And when do we get to the meat of this case—namely, who committed the crime? And will they do the time?

Questions, questions, questions. It’s about time we got some answers.

16 Comments:

At 8:04 PM, Blogger J. James Mooney said...

You got it right on when you say, "I imagine this all makes sense to the prosecutors and judge, but to us commoners out here, I think the prevailing opinion is, “say what?”"

In these grand jury investigations all we can do is sit and get confused by what is leaked to the press. All we can do is wait it out and trust the system.

 
At 8:18 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Perhaps it is a simple case of Kharma. After all, it was Miller's reports from the field while embedded with the 75th Exploitation Task Force that helped foist the false notion in this country that Saddam and Iraq had WMDs (that notion continues to this day in some quarters).

 
At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miller and/or Cooper MAY have been obstructing justice. Novak, if he had any reason to believe that his source knew what he was talking about (and if he didn't, why did he publish?), unquestionably is guilty of breaking the law forbidding revealing the identity of a secret agent. His source is, too, of course . . . but that doesn't change the fact the Novak broke the law.

Plea bargins and State's Evidence being how they are, he might get off without jail time by identifying his source and testifying. But if he doesn't, there is no way on earth Novak should escape conviction. And even if he does get off, it doesn't change the fact that he DESERVES jail time -- his source told one person (or at most a handful of people); Novak told the world.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger J. James Mooney said...

I have to vehimately disagree with anonymous, Novak isn't guilty of anything due to the nature of classified information. If Novak wasn't legally privy to the classified information he is not bound to keep it secret. The source is the guilty one here, any rational person would agree.

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger amba said...

Do me a favor, please read this post by Mark in Mexico and help me figure out if what he says is true or not. He caims no federal crime was committed because Plame was not working undercover at the time of the "leak" and Novak checked with the CIA before naming her; that Novak handed over his notes long ago and Rove was not his source.

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Amba,

If what Mark in Mexico says is true, then this whole thing is ridiculous beyond belief. If all this is is a pissing match (excuse my language) between the prosecutor and the press, then what a waste of time and money.

I hope there's more to all of this than what Mark thinks.

 
At 11:20 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Amba and Alan, pay careful attention to section b) below:

Section 421. Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources

(a) Disclosure of information by persons having or having had access to classified information that identifies covert agent.

Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(b) Disclosure of information by persons who learn identity of covert agents as result of having access to classified information.

Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(c) Disclosure of information by persons in course of pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents.

Whoever, in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States, discloses any information that identifies an individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individual's classified intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(d) Imposition of consecutive sentences. A term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment.

 
At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Phil S said...

Regarding Mark form Mexico's point #1, who said that Novak checked with the CIA? Did Novak say that?

 
At 1:35 AM, Blogger Adm. Happy Horatio Hornhonker said...

I had said it would get crazier before it gets crazier in the other earlier Rove thread.

Although I believe that message was correctly sent to ether heaven due to unbecoming language when I quoted the President's own words of his favorite reference to Mister Rove. (something to do with a specific type of flower). But boy! Have I digressed.

Now Robert posted . . . .

...knowing that the information disclosed
so identifies such covert agent and that
the United States is taking affirmative
measures to conceal such covert agent's
intelligence relationship to the United
States, shall be fined under title 18 or
imprisoned


Those two words highlighted above is what this case is hinging on in relationship to the The Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

Although, even if after all the depositions and investigations and interviews it is established that the IIDP Act has not been breached, but there has occurred perjury or obstruction of justice to get to that finding, there is still hell to pay for those who have committed perjury or have obstructed justice.

It may sound crazy but I hope everyone can understand the basic tenet of our justice system. You don't lie and you don't obstruct an investigation.

BTW -- This Grand Jury is sworn to sit till October. So don't get your hopes up that something significant will be happening too soon.

Jonah

 
At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James,

I stand corrected. What Novak did was apparently legal. Merely despicable.

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger J. James Mooney said...

agreed

 
At 6:44 PM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Well, the assertion that no crime was committed because Plame "wasn't working undercover at the time" is ridiculous. Her next door neighbors didn't know she worked for the CIA. Her family (except for her husband, who had clearance when he met her)didn't know she worked for the CIA. And she had twenty years of undercover work and contacts who didn't know she worked for the CIA. She has collegues who were put in jeopardy by the revelation, which is why the CIA pushed for the investigation. Revealing her status was damaging to national security and almost certainly a crime ... I doubt the "I didn't know what I was doing" plea will hold up.

What is interesting about the last few days' events is that for two years, Rove refused to give Cooper permission to testify about their conversation. Why wait until the 11th hour? And did he have a conversation with Miller that he still isn't willing to release her from confidentiality over?

The sources who revealed Valerie Plame were Bush administration officials. If Bush truly cared about the felony offense, he could have easily gotten to the bottom of this, and the matter would have been resolved ages ago.

I don't know if Novak "contacted the CIA" or not. I do know that he has shown very little integrity by his actions. And I suspect that even if he did contact the CIA, they couldn't do anything about it. Novak had the information, but wasn't privy to it; therefore, publishing it wasn't illegal. But for the CIA to confirm the story by saying "please don't publish it" would have been illegal.

Another interesting note. It seems that Rove was fired from Bush Sr.'s campaign in 1992 ... for leaking a story to Robert Novak.

 
At 1:14 AM, Blogger Sean said...

rouse
one day you will actually have a thought that goes beyond the moveon.org view of Iraq.

did you even support afghanistan?

why do you lefties have to attack the war on every issue?
Grow up!

 
At 1:21 AM, Blogger Sean said...

rouse
(how about backing up your claim about her place in the clims about WMD.) I didnt think it was some secret, and thought it was reported many places. ( it continues in some quarters because evrybody does nto look at WMD as stockpiles or nuclear weapons. It is also very clear that saddam had illegal weapons eh was nto suppose to have. It is also proven that he had dual use things that were easily used to produce chemical weapons. But dopnt let me disabuse you fo your anti-Bush-Iraq screed.)
i guess Clinton's former NSA was stealing documents, because they proved there was no WMD.
And the hurricane is going to hit the US, because Bush lied and there was no WMD.

from what I am hearing, it is possible that her identity was not a secret. From what I have heard the CIA will usually tell a writer to not publish a name, and in this case the CIA did not even though the CIA had advanced info it would be published.
I say, let's not jump on media stories and let the grand jury do their job. There must be a reason that she is the ONLY one going to jail

 
At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we're going to go for major paranoia here, let's play with this one: Novak is being totally quiet, and eventually Rove will take the fall, because W was in the room with them when Rove told Novak that Palme was a CIA agent. The loony left will jump up and cry "accessory to treason!" -- it will make their whole day, week, and month. The loony right will scream "treasonous slander of the President!" -- it will keep them in fund-raising for months.

And they'll all be disgustingly happy. Of course the rest of us would be in agony . . . .

Fortunately, there is no evidence available one way or the other. For the moment.

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Sean,

You're a very angry person.

Try a little iced lemonade, a cool breeze and a comfortable hammock. Does wonders on those tense muscle aches.

 

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