Judge Orders Plame Reporter Judith Miller Jailed
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.