Judge Orders Plame Reporter Judith Miller Jailed

CNN Breaking News:

Judge orders New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed for refusing to divulge source who revealed CIA operative. Details soon.

Update: AP has more: Judge Orders Jail for N.Y. Times Reporter

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. Cooper took the podium in the court and told the judge, “Last night I hugged my son goodbye and told him it might be a long time before I see him again.” “I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions” for not testifying, Cooper said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance, he had received “in somewhat dramatic fashion” a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep the source’s identity secret.

As for Miller, unless she decides to talk, she will be held until the grand jury ends its work in October. The judge speculated that Miller’s confinement might cause her source to give her a more specific waiver of confidentiality, as did Cooper’s. “Judy Miller made a commitment to her source and she’s standing by it,” New York Times executive editor Bill Keller told reporters. “Judy Miller has not been accused of a crime or convicted of a crime,” Abrams said. “She has been held in civil contempt of court.”

One can understand both Miller’s and Cooper’s actions. Keeping one’s word is worth enduring sanction for but obeying the rule of law is also important. Cooper’s situation is ideal: The source had the decency to take the heat himself rather than allow the reporter to go to jail to protect him.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fersboo says:

    Good. Maybe they should get her supervisor too.

  2. Anderson says:

    The AP is way ahead of CNN.

  3. Anderson says:

    (And they should leave her there until the WMD’s she reported on are found.)

  4. herb says:

    It’s about time someone took these renegade reporters on and make them live up to the standards and obligations the everyday citizen has to live to. These so-called reporters get away with things the average citizeb would end up in prison for. Now hopefully, reporters??? will have to tell who is trying to sell our country out for a penny or two or their egos.

  5. davod says:

    Don’t you think it is a might convenient that Cooper’s source calls him this morning and gives him the OK. His comments outside the court were so touching, almost rehearsed. I have no sympathy for Miller. A number of Journalists have been caught fabricating stories. Now is not the time to be giving them blanket immunity.