Appeals Court Says Reporters Must Testify or Go to Jail

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #1
    link

     
  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Bummer.

    What gripes me (among other things) is that without the idea of confidentiality, the reporters could not have gotten the information in the first place.

    If this ruling stays in effect, folks won't telll stuff to reporters, so The Law won't even know there is information available somewhere from somebody.

    Looks to me that Fitzgerald is after a short-term gain at the expense of a long-term loss. But that's typical government...

    'Rat
     
  3. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    i'd like to jump to the defense of fitzgerald. he did a bang up job in the investigation of IL former-governor ryan. i believe he's doing his absolute best in this matter.
     
  4. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #4
    Was the outing of Plame as a CIA operative integral to Novak's report?

    Was it the topic itself?

    AFAIK, it was not. It was passed along out of the WH to punish someone who defied the administration and had no merit as part of a story.

    I would contend that WH officials should be punished for treason.
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    Come on 'Rat. The effect of this ruling will be that people won't commit crimes through a reporter. No reporter will be required to reveal a legit whistleblower's identity. That's pretty established already. This is not a simple protecting-your-sources case, this is a case where reporters were used as instruments of a crime.
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Is confidentiality to be strictly a case-by-case deal? A reporter should face jail time as a function of whether or not you like or dislike the possible or probable source?

    And read up on just what "treason" is. Too many people don't seem to know.

    'Rat
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    If we like, we can argue ourselves blue in the face over this one and get nowhere, because the legal doctrine is all over the map. The rulings on journalistic confidentiality cases depend on the state, the case, the court, the judge... and the direction of the wind, apparently.

    I agree, this case is about something heinous -- a probable federal crime committed by someone high-up in the White House. But I can predict two things with almost total certainty: (1) Nobody will ever get fingered, and (2) people who are friendly to this administration will continue to tell us that we shouldn't care.
     
  8. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #8
    While I'm in total agreement with #2, I wouldn't put money on what Bob Novak does if he is faced with jail time. Journalistic principle is not something the man takes very seriously and he likes his comforts. The real question is will Fitzgerald put him in such a position?
     
  9. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    'Rat, it seems pretty clear that White House folks went shopping this information not the other way around. They well may be counting on reporters to go to jail for them, but it's sleaze and criminal on their part no matter how you cut it. Now that doesn't mean I think reporters should tell the identity of their sources. I think reporters know that shield laws and the First Amendment only protects them to a certain degree; the good ones are willing to go beyond that and go to jail to protect confidentiality. We will see what these reporters are made of. Regardless I hope the slime who outed Plame are exposed somehow.
     
  10. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    vanessa leggett comes to mind...
     
  11. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    I wasn't familar with her case, but, yes, she sounds like she fits the bill.
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    I'm not certain Novak's even been interviewed, let alone threatened with prosecution. Why are Miller and Cooper being targeted? To my knowledge, Miller at least never even wrote an article about this topic.
     
  13. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #13

    Confidentiality can kill people. It is this simple fact that makes it as much a case-by-case subject as shooting deaths, malpractice or alcohol poisoning.

    Here in California there is a law (Based on a name I can never spell right "Terrasoff" ?) that requires physicians and mental health providers to, in the case of a patient making death threats or other threats of a seriously dangerous nature provide a warning to both Police and to the potential victim.

    In this instance confidentiality of sources has been used to trump a violation of national-security confidentiality.

    In rebuttal to your remark about treason:

    You seem to think that revealing a NOC doesn't count. Let me elaborate on the consequences.

    Revealing a NOC, (particularly one bound to a high-profile person like an ambassador) also reveals, through backtracing their movement and activities a significant piece of the intelligence gathering efforts of the nation the NOC worked for. With careful analysis this can reveal other NOCs working the same project, significant portions of what the NOC's nation was interested in discovering, what tactical options were being explored and what direct intelligence data was gathered by that NOC.

    This action also negates, almost immediately all of the data gathered by that NOCand endangers the lives of other NOCs, informants and their families.

    In essence, revealing a NOC, particularly in a time of war (Despite what some on the extreme left like to think the USA is, in fact under siege by Jyhadis) aids enemies of the united states and simultaniously makes all agents and operations related to that NOC's work WORTHLESS.

    This is a treasonous action.
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

    mischief, I follow your reasoning, but I think you're putting too much "if" into your line of thought. I'm fully in accord with your view of the Jihadists, but our beliefs don't make it a "war".

    The Terasoff ruling seems to be sensible, but Miller/Cooper isn't about death threats and suchlike.

    Oh, well. Okay, tangential question about Miller and Cooper: If they were used in this "outing", why would they then be protective? I just really doubt I would.

    Damfino. Too much accusing and counter-accusing.

    I'll just leave it that by and large I'm on the reporters' side when there's an argument with TPTB.

    'Rat
     
  15. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #15
    The bitch of it is.... I agree with you in principal.

    The problem lies in the context. This was not about suppressing or punishing members of the press. This was about members of the press being used to aid enemies of the US. Moreover if these two reporters revealed their source they ould be the two witnesses you mentioned above.

    This is how the criminal justice system works. You begin with reasonable supicion, you advance through probable cause and finally you push to eliminate reasonable doubt. Right now the appellate court is working on that last step.

    As I recall these are the two reporters that did not actually use the info. This means they're accessories to a crime and without the protection afforded by published journalism. This isn't about speech, it's about obstruction.

    The protection gained by outing that source is protection for the intelligence community against further exposure. As it stands with the leak unfound and unpunished there's a de-facto precident showing executive staff can be above the rule of law and the pursuit of justice.
     

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