JULY 6, 2005
Posted: July 7, 2005
Judith Miller, The New York Times
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan ordered reporter Miller jailed immediately for refusing to reveal her confidential source to a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative’s identity. He ordered her held on a contempt of court charge until October, or until she agrees to testify. Miller said she would not testify.
A second reporter who faced prison, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, told Hogan that he would cooperate with the investigation because his source gave him “personal consent” today to discuss their conversation. “I am prepared to testify,” Cooper told Hogan in a hearing in Washington, D.C.
Hogan had found both reporters in contempt and imposed prison terms last fall, but stayed the sentences pending appeals by the journalists. The avenue for appeals ended last week when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Time, which had also been found in contempt last fall, agreed last week to hand over internal records, notes, and e-mails that were sought by Fitzgerald.
Syndicated writer Robert Novak first identified the CIA officer, Valerie Plame, in a July 2003 column, attributing the information to two unnamed “senior administration officials.” Cooper wrote about the disclosure later; Miller conducted interviews but never wrote a story.
A special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, was appointed by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to determine whether any government officials committed a crime by willfully disclosing the identity of the undercover agent. Government prosecutors and the columnist have refused to say what information, if any, Novak provided to the grand jury. Novak was not publicly compelled to testify and he was not cited for contempt.
No government official has been charged in Fitzgerald’s investigation. The prosecutor has said in court papers that his investigation is nearly complete. In motions filed this week, Fitzgerald claimed that the source for Cooper and Miller had waived confidentiality. He did not identify the source or sources.
Novak’s column came eight days after Plame’s husband, former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times challenging the Bush administration over its allegations regarding Iraq’s weapons programs. Numerous reports later asserted that administration officials had leaked Plame’s identity in retaliation against Wilson.