28 June 2005

If Miller and Cooper have to serve as much as one day behind bars while Novak remains free, Americans will have witnessed a gross miscarriage of justice

What won't be so clear is the motive behind the injustice and prosecutor Fitzgerald needs to tell the public exactly what purpose he is serving.
By now, the details are familiar to many Americans. Conservative columnist Robert Novak reported that Valerie Plame, the wife of an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, was an active CIA agent. It is against the law to publish the names of active agents, yet to date Novak has curiously paid no price for his obviously illegal disclosure. Novak wrote that he got his information from a high-level member of the administration. That person's intent, apparently, was to use the press to embarrass the CIA agent's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, as punishment for having written (in a newspaper column) that the White House lied when it said Saddam Hussein had obtained illegal "yellow cake" plutonium from Niger.

Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine were given the same off-the-record information as Novak, but – obeying the law – they didn't use it. Cooper later wrote about it, but on the basis of Novak's column rather than the source's tip.

The federal prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has targeted Miller and Cooper but kept his hands off Novak. He won't explain why, and neither will Novak. And the Supreme Court, as is its custom when it decides not to take up a case, offered no explanation for its decision.

What's even more mysterious is that Fitzgerald told the Supreme Court he has wrapped up his investigation of the leak, yet Miller and Cooper remain in his sights because they didn't obey his demands that they tell him the name of their source, even though they did nothing with the source's information.

Robert Novak thus far, has been immune to prosecution, yet he was the one that blew the cover of Valerie Plame with his published article, but remains scot free. It looks as if this Department of Justice case is predicated not on justice, but as a political hammer to be heaved at foes of the administration.


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