William E. Jackson Jr. writing in Editor & Publisher clearly states why there is no valid argument to support Judith Miller in her attempt to avoid testifying in the Plame case.
Just what is principled about Miller’s stand against divulging her sources, since she never wrote a single article on the subject of the investigation? Why can the courts not distinguish between protected press privileges for Time reporter Cooper — who wrote about Plame in the time period in question — and Miller?
Is a reporter criminally exempt when not actually working on an assigned story, just by virtue of making and receiving phone calls to and from executive branch officials she knows, or, say, chatting with them outside the office? Either she had First Amendment protection when working on a story, or she did not because she was not “reporting” on the matter. The public interest in effective law enforcement would seem to counter-balance any negative effects from requiring a citizen who, incidentally, happens to be a journalist — and who has evidence of a potential crime — to testify. In short, the Times’ legal position in the Plame case has the markings of a faux case.
Jackson also offers up this tid-bit about everyone’s favorite toothy hack.
As for Novak, it is not known if he was subpoenaed or if he has testified. However, it is widely believed by reporters and lawyers involved in the probe that he reached a negotiated “arrangement” with Fitzgerald — and that he “sang.”
Novak the snitch. Touching.