Saturday, November 27, 2004

Fitzgerald's Plame game

All those partisan Democrats who were gung-ho to hang Judith Miller over her refusal to name her sources in the Plame affair should reflect on the fact that the efforts of much praised special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald were intended to pry facts out of the journalists to absolve Rove and whichever other White House staffers were involved in outing Plame. It all turns on a technicality on the timing of the release of Novak's column. The staffers can get off the hook if Novak's column had already been published when they outed Plame, as the 'publication' would mean that they were not revealing classified information. Fitzgerald has been threatening journalists to force them to admit that they knew of Plame from information disclosed in Novak's column which was circulating before it was officially published. In other words, he's not interested in the sources, he is interested in establishing a legal defense for the White House staffers. See what happens when you throw away your principles of freedom of the press for what you perceive as partisan political gain? The Republicans get to use information forced out of some of the journalists to squirm out of legal difficulties, and the White House can use the precedent set by the jailing of other journalists to stop all whistleblowing.