I want to get really exercised about what the government is doing to a pair of fellow journalists -- Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine. I do hope they can stay out of jail.
But the more I look at it, the more it looks like a fight with nothing much in it for anyone, including the American public.
Precisely so. At this juncture it would take more courage for Cooper and Miller to talk to the grand jury. But it would be the right thing to do. National security is so much more important than the narrow question of privileges for journalists.
For those who have not been following the case, these are the facts as I understand them. In his book, The Politics of Truth, James Wilson named Scooter Libbey and Karl Rove as the men who betrayed his wife. Apparently their story to the grand jury (and this is just rumor) is that they learned of Plame’s identity from some journalists, they can’t remember who. So Fitzgerald is obliged to get testimony from every journalist they talked to, to demonstrate this is a lie. As long as Miller and Cooper refuse to testify, these men can cling to their story.
You can be sure this case has devastated our nation’s intelligence capability. It is not just that Plame’s network had to be shut down, at least the part of it that was not thrown into jail, along with those merely suspected of being her agents. We cannot recruit new agents as long as we are known to betray them as part of our domestic political vendettas. Nor will any ally share information with us where there is a chance it will wind up in the press. We need to bring these criminals to justice as if our lives depended on it.