Paranoia stikes deep

Okay, so can anybody tell me why Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine are being prosecuted for refusing to reveal their sources, over a piece of information that was only actually published in the column of a third person, Robert Novak, who is NOT being prosecuted?

Other than the no doubt completely unrelated fact that Novak is a conservative columnist.

And the equally unrelated fact that the person whose name was leaked to these three individuals, an active CIA operative, happened to be married to Joseph Wilson, former ambassador to Iraq and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration.

You dis us, your wife gets put in the cross-hairs?

I generally have little time for conspiracy theories (although I will admit that the Mel Gibson movie of that name is a favorite, and I even like Julia Roberts in it, a little) mostly because it requires a belief that any group of maniacs is organized enough to further their cause. I even laugh (most of the time) at the threat posed by the CIA in our lives, remembering all too well that this is the department that decided to deal with the Castro problem with a box of exploding cigars.

Still, something is going on in and around my country’s capital that smells downright rotten, and if even I–probably in the bottom five percent of the country when it comes to current events–am catching the occasional whiff of it, it must be pretty rank indeed.

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  1. Anonymous on March 20, 2005 at 4:31 pm

    Hi, Laurie! Formerly “Ratnakar Sanjii ” (one i? two? no longer remember) from the RUSS-L list.

    Yes, it’s pretty obvious there’s some rather nasty arm-twisting going on; as I recall from an NPR interview several weeks ago, Miller didn’t even actually publish anything specifically about the agent (I think she mentioned the primary journalist involved). Her attorney noted that the court won’t even tell them why they want the info, or if they’ve already gotten the source’s name from the primary contact, so Miller and her co-defendant can’t make an informed choice.

    It’s an ever-so-slightly gray area for me, in this instance. While I’ve always felt strongly in a journalist’s right to protect sources, I also feel there’s a huge difference between protecting a whistleblower, and protecting someone whose intent was clearly malicious (as is the case here — what possible use could outing that agent serve, whether she was still active or not?). However, as you note, the initial contact seems to be the appropriate one to subpoena/sue.

    But what else can we expect from an administration that blatantly seeds the press corps with ringers, and that presumably has no problem manipulating the legal system to suit its agenda? (Not that I’m condoning resignation to such tactics, mind you.) I suspect their disdain for the Press is only marginally less than that they harbor for the American public.


  2. julia on March 20, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    It does seem like a shame that Ms. Miller is being pilloried for one of the few cases where the primary fault is not her own.

  3. Anonymous on March 20, 2005 at 9:24 pm

    Didn’t the CIA also want to use some kind of powder to make Castro’s beard fall off? Or was that just a myth?

  4. Anonymous on March 22, 2005 at 1:05 pm

    the beard was a myth but the cigars no, however it worked, he dosent smoke anymore!

  5. Anonymous on March 24, 2005 at 5:29 pm

    Be. Very. Afraid. I’m a DC native and political junkie, and not even the Nixon administration was this bad. These folks are determined to destroy all opposition. They have made courteous debate an anachronism. They are single-minded masters of propaganda in the style of the Soviet Union. And I’m mad at the Democrats for running away like scared rabbits.

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