Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Plame Affair, Part 63....

From today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, some encouraging news on efforts to plug the leaks that damage national security. Judith Miller, please call your lawyer's office.

Seems that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is still trying to figure out who "divulged" the identity of CIA Office Valerie Plame. A three-judge appellate panel has ruled that Ms. Miller (ace reporter for The New York Times) and Time correspondent Matthew Cooper do NOT have First Amendment protection for information being sought by Mr. Fitzgerald and a federal grand jury.

That scream you hear is the Fourth Estate, working itself into a lather over this "heavy blow against the public's right to know." In case you're wondering, that quote came from attorney Floyd Abrams, who is representing the two reporters.

It can be argued that Ms. Plame's identity was common knowledge in D.C. long before it was disclosed in a Robert Novak column. But there's a more important lesson to be learned here. First, the arbitrary disclosure of classified information should have consequences. And secondly, the First Amendment shouldn't be a convenient cover for those who leak, whatever their motivation.

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