Another Strike Against Judith Miller


From the reviled reporter's Senate testimony yesterday regarding a proposed federal journalist shield:

The leakers in the Balco case in San Francisco violated grand jury secrecy rules or laws, but their information about steroid use in professional baseball gave Congress the facts and impetus to start hearings and make needed reforms.

She's battling performance-enhancing drugs of mass destruction, too?

I was drawing the crucial Miller/BALCO parallel way back in March. By demanding that a Grand Jury be convened to do something, and then trumpeting their publishing of (usually illegal) leaks from that Grand Jury as a great public service because it allowed Congress to do something, journalists are increasing the likelihood that they, and also normal, non-journalistic humans, will be compelled on threat of jail to testify lawyer-free before a prosecutor mostly unconstrained by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. And now, Congress and too many professional journalists want to carve out an exemption for themselves that does not include other Americans, let alone people who do journalism for love or obsession instead of a paycheck. As ever, Miller makes a lousy poster child for journalistic exceptionalism.

I hope on principle that Libby and the lot of 'em suffer agonizing and protracted public humiliation, and worse. And I hope there returns a day in this country when we all don't face potential jail time for the mere act of remaining silent. (Link via David Ehrenstein.)

NEXT: How Are Miers And Castro Alike? How Are They Different?

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  1. Miller is an awful poster girl. I support a journalist shield law, but the journamalists are out of their minds latching onto this case like they have.

    “…the Bonds, Plame, and Rhode Island cases have one crucial element in common: Each is the direct result of the federal government’s extraconstitutional prosecutorial power run totally amok…”

    See, I thought the Plame case was about the CIA being pissed that one of its covert operatives had her cover blown by these sources.

    In the other cases, the crime was something a third party did, and the source was just reporting on it. In Miller’s case, the source’s reporting was itself a crime.

    Even in other shield laws, like clegy and attorney-client, the privilege doesn’t extend to communications that are, themselves, illegal.

  2. ANYONE who leaks and or publishes classified material should be jailed for an appropriate long lenth of time. “Journalists” deserve to be jailed if they obstruct a criminal investigation. This special dispensation for “journalists” who are as partisan as anyone else, are unconstitutional. Equal protection clause. If I don’t get it neither do they.

  3. See — I look at it like this. First, federal judges are rather loathe to jail journalists — or compel them to testify. Journalists skate all the time when ordinary citizens would be called forward and offered the choice between testifying and sitting in jail.

    Unless THAT changes, I don’t see any pressing need to carve out more of an exemption for journalists than the one set by judicial precedent.

    Secondly — and from just a gut-level view — if a journalist is going to make a stand and claim it’s on “journalistic principles”, then they need to be willing to walk the walk. The screaming from the chattering classes over this basically says most of them don’t believe in their journalistic ethics enough to even tolerate their already remote chance of ever facing jail for their “principles”.

    Makes me think this “shield law” is really just an immunity from responsibility.

  4. The shield law only applying to so-called professional journalists is more complicated than merely preventing amateurs reporters from publishing leaked information.

    If I am an amateur reporter (whatever that means), and I am not shielded, then I will pass the information on to a professional reporter, who can then leak it and get all the glory. I then become the journalist’s primary source, and although she may be shielded from revealing my identity under subpeona, I am, from a legal standpoint, left completely unprotected.

  5. blammo, I see you understand the plan perfectly.

    You do the time, and the journalist gets the 7 figure book deal.

    You got a problem with that?

  6. I don’t have enough facts to divine what’s going on with the Plame case, but this is too bizarre for words.

    The fact that she’s witnessing interogations might explain her so-called security clearance. And the prosecutor in the Salah case is Fitzgerald!

    Hiking with Arianna, waterboarding with the CIA?

  7. That is bizarre, Happy Jack.

    How’d you like to find yourself in the position that your best defense was Judith Miller’s testimony?

  8. I still find it odd a person with such a highly visible job would marry a so-called “covert” CIA employee and then react with such bile when it becomes known. What did they think would happen? Does it really doesn’t matter if it’s in print, when everyone knows (wink, wink)she works for the “Company”.

    Of course, and I’m just saying, it did take the light off the fact that, whatever his political bent, the investigation of and report on the “Niger Yellow Cake” was highly questionable as to methods and results. Perhaps he should have used some of his wife’s CIA contacts, instead of drinking tea for a few days with some questionable characters.

  9. Doncha just hate it when you smear a guy, and he won’t stay smeared, and you gotta smear him again?

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