By: E&P Staff
The federal judge who jailed former New York Times reporter Judith Miller last year for refusing to name her source in the Plame/CIA leak scandal says he made the right decision.
Thomas F. Hogan, a Reagan appointee and chief judge of Washington’s federal district court, told a meeting of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association on Friday that there was no First Amendment protection for reporters to keep their sources confidential in criminal matters, Newsday reports.
The administration’s pushback against Joseph Wilson’s charges as “typical Washington politics, except that this involved the commission of a crime,” Hogan said.
The Newsday article continues:
“Hogan said he rejected imposing a fine on Miller because he did not believe anything other than jail would get her to obey his order to testify. She spent 85 days behind bars before Libby gave her a waiver she thought was sufficient.
“Miller wasn’t an innocent bystander, Hogan said. ‘She was an actor in the commission of a crime,’ he said. ‘She was part of the transfer of information that was a crime.’
“The judge said he did not enjoy sending Miller to jail. But he said the law is clear: Reporters do not have a special privilege under the First Amendment to keep their sources secret, especially when a crime has been committed.”
Hogan predicted that the “clash” between the courts and reporters isn’t going to end any time soon, especially in Washington. Federal judges are being asked to allow parties in civil and criminal cases to force reporters to reveal their sources.
Libby’s lawyers have issued several subpoenas to reporters and news organizations seeking access to notes, draft articles and e-mails discussing sources. In a civil case, a former Los Alamos scientist wants to know who leaked information during an espionage investigation that he says ruined his life.
Hogan said he doesn’t believe the media have support for a federal shield law in the Senate. Nor does the media have much support in the courts, he said. He said he had heard that not one Supreme Court justice voted to hear Miller’s appeal.