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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Someone is out for blood

Haven't post much on the CT scene except that the big BRAC meeting is tomorrow (damn, I wish I could go). It's somewhat of a slow news day in CT but on the national level, it looks like the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame case is gunning for someone (here's a hint, his last name is Rove) and although TIME magizine has turned over their e-mails and documents, he is still demanding that Matthew Cooper testify or face jailtime along with The New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Also, the prosecutor is requesting that Cooper and Miller do not receive house arrest but go to jail until they testify.

A federal prosecutor on Tuesday demanded that Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity, even though Time Inc. has surrendered e-mails and other documents in the probe.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald also opposed the request of Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller to be granted home detention -- instead of jail -- for refusing to reveal their sources.

Allowing the reporters home confinement would make it easier for them to continue to defy a court order to testify, he said. Special treatment for journalists may "negate the coercive effect contemplated by federal law," Fitzgerald wrote in filings with the court.s

"Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is," Fitzgerald wrote.

Fitzgerald is investigating who in the administration leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a possible federal crime. Plame's identity was leaked days after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly disparaged the president's case for invading Iraq.

Plame's name was first published in a 2003 column by Robert Novak, who cited two unidentified senior Bush administration officials as his sources. Novak has refused to say whether he has testified or been subpoenaed.

Cooper wrote a subsequent story naming Plame, and Miller gathered material but never wrote an article.

Time turned over Cooper's notes and other documents last week, four days after the Supreme Court refused to consider the case. Cooper's attorneys argued that producing the documents made it unnecessary for him to testify.

Miller and Cooper could be ordered to jail as early as Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan will hear arguments from Fitzgerald and lawyers for the reporters about whether they should testify.

A prosecutor wouldn't be this hell-bent on jailing these reporters if he didn't have some type of evidence that someone in the White House either leaked information about Valerie Plame to these reporters or (and this seems more likely) someone in the White House committed prejury. In any case, it will be interesting to see ahow far up the foodchain this case actually goes and who ultimately gets in trouble.