Saturday, July 09, 2005

JUDITH MILLER/VALERIE PLAME--I understand to some degree the hand-wringing from certain circles about the imprisonment of Judith Miller, and the potential cooling effect it may have on the willingness of reporters to publish information obtained from illegally leaked documents. Some people are saying that the era of journalists' privilege and whistleblowers like W. Mark Felt are over. I have heard many people--liberals--eviscerate Fitzgerald and the judge in the case for pursuing this option. All I can say is that those people don't seem--incomprehensible as it is to me--to understand one fundamental fact: Judith Miller is no Bob Woodward, and Karl Ro--I mean, whoever her source is--is no W. Mark Felt.

W. Mark Felt was a WHISTLEBLOWER. He leaked documents illegally, this is true--but the purpose of his leaks was to expose government corruption concerning Watergate. In this instance, the identity of W. Mark Felt may have been a fascinating mystery to historians, but it was not germane to the investigation of the crimes of Watergate.

Judith Miller and her source is a completely different story. In this case, the main crime being investigated doesn't go beyond the fact that the information was leaked. Judith Miller's source is not a whistleblower. Whoever it is, is a perpetrator who used the expectation that reporters will not reveal confidential sources as a shield for his (or her!) politically-motivated crime. If the source in question is the target of the investigation, and the reporter is the only link to a source who committed the crime that is the main subject of the investigation, with no other whistles having been blown, I completely fail to see how the reporter can expect to not to be held in contempt for failing to cooperate with an investigation into criminal activity. Judith Miller is a stooge for a political criminal--not a whistleblower.

I don't understand how people--liberals, especially--can fail to see the difference between these two.

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