By: E&P Staff
In a New York Times Op-Ed today, former Senantor Bob Dole came out for the new efforts in Congress to pass a federal shield law, while also voicing bafflement over the Plame probe and the incarceraton of Times reporter Judith Miller.
“If state rather than federal authorities were conducting this investigation, Ms. Miller most likely would not be in jail,” Dole declares. “Today 49 states and the District of Columbia recognize a ‘reporter’s privilege,’ either by statute or through state judicial decisions, which allows journalists to report information and protect confidential sources without fear of imprisonment…
“Congress can help rectify this situation by passing a bill introduced by Senator Richard G. Lugar and Representative Mike Pence, both Indiana Republicans, that sets clear standards the federal government must meet before it issues a subpoena to a reporter in a criminal or civil case….
As someone with a long record of government service, I must admit that I did not always appreciate the inquisitive nature of the press. But I do understand that the purpose of a reporter’s privilege is not to somehow elevate journalists above other segments of society. Instead, it is designed to help guarantee that the public continues to be well informed.”
Dole said he was “also greatly concerned about Judith Miller’s situation because she has been incarcerated as a result of an investigation into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, of which I was a sponsor. The law was intended to protect covert intelligence operatives whose lives would be endangered if their identities were publicly disclosed….With the facts known publicly today regarding the Plame case, it is difficult to see how a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act could have occurred.”
However, Dole admitted that he did not know what evidence the special prosecutor has presented to the grand jury, “nor will I hazard a guess as to the final outcome of his investigation.”