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Tuesday, 01 December, 2020

Up in Plames

Date: 15 September, 2005

By: Chief

Imageor about the past two years the federales within the Department of Just-Us have been working diligently to find who leaked the name of Valerie Plame to two reporters. One reporter, Matt Cooper, is with Time Magazine and the other, Judith Miller, is with the New York Times newspaper.

According to the federales if the leak of Valerie Plame's name was deliberate, then whoever did it is probably guilty of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. That felony is the leaking of a covert intelligence operative's name or photograph thus possibly endangering that individual.

The federale attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, assembled a grand jury in Washington to investigate the Plame leak and he presented evidence to the grand jury. He further subpoenaed Cooper and Miller to testify. Both Cooper and Miller, as all reporters should, refused to provide federal lying lawyer Fitzgerald with the name of their confidential source or sources who provided them with their information. The judge during the grand jury hearing told both reporters that he would hold each of them in contempt of court should they continue to refuse to provide the name or names of their source. Miller and Cooper refused to budge. The judge found them in contempt.

Honestly, I have nothing — but — contempt for that court.

Both the New York Times and Time magazine went to court on the contempt issue. They lost at the district level. They lost again at the circuit court of appeals level. Lastly, or more accurately — lostly, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. As such the prevailing law is from the appellate court.

Just prior to being thrown in the hoosegow for contempt, Time Magazine's editor directed Cooper to talk and reveal his source. Cooper's source also released him from any confidentiality agreement. Cooper did. Miller, on the other hand did not. She is now in jail for contempt.

I, personally, salute Judith Miller and the New York Times for the stand they took on behalf of us all.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the lying lawyer for the federales, stated that no reporter has a shield from revealing sources if so ordered by a court. He is wrong. Dead wrong. Furthermore, in an opinion piece printed in the Cornell Daily Sun the author, Joshua Dugan, stated "This is Not a First Amendment Issue, Judith." He then goes on to call Miller a "criminal." Dugan is wrong on both counts. Dead wrong.

The sole issue

"Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press [...]."

And our Congress, buffoons that they are, did the exact opposite.

Congress enacted a law designed to protect the identity of covert intelligence agents. On the surface the Congressional intention seem good. Yet as we have all been told, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Additionally, if the covert agent is, well, covert, then a person would never know that the covert agent is actually a covert agent. The law appears to be a contradiction — with itself.

I honestly do not give one hoot in hades who or whom leaked Valerie Plame's name to Cooper and Miller. What I do give one very big hoot in hades about is two reporters threatened with jail which caused Time Magazine and, though indirectly, Matt Cooper to rollover for the judge. We already know what has happened to Judith Miller.

The First Amendment of our Constitution does not contain an exception clause anywhere. There is no:

'Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press [...] ... except for when or whatever the Congress may decide is convenient'.

It does not exist. The language used within the First Amendment is clear, concise and to the point.

"Congress shall make no law." How much clearer, concise and to the point can a statement be? It means exactly what it says. No more and certainly no less.

"Abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." Gee whiz people, now there is one tough sentence. And yes, I am being very sarcastic. Couldn't you tell? Clear. Concise. To the point. Period.

Taken together the free press clause gives reporters and the newspaper complete and unfettered freedom. It is wholly inconvenient for the government. Too bad — so sad — for the government. It is wholly and utterly necessary for the press. More importantly, it is vitally critical for We the People to obtain information on what in the world our government is doing and is it different from what the government says they are doing. To be sure, it normally is.

Since Miller has now taken up residence in a federale owned and operated crossbar bed and breakfast the second issue comes up — what are reporters and the newspapers that employ them going to do now? Freedom of the press is no more. It is gone.

The Los Angeles Times sent a memo to all of its reporters telling them in no uncertain terms not to place any story that is based upon 'unnamed sources' on company computers. The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper is holding up publishing two stories that are "profoundly important" (quote from NY Times). Further, when the editor of the Plain Dealer was asked if the stories would someday be published, his answer was a chilling "[n]ot in the short term" (quote from NY Times).

The newspapers are running scared. Since the courts ruled against Cooper and Miller most reporters are willing to gut it out and, if necessary, go to jail. Editors are as well. But the owners are not. According to the editor of the Plain Dealer:

"The reporters say, 'Well, we're willing to go to jail,' and I'm willing to go to jail if it gets laid on me, but the newspaper isn't willing to go to jail."

Without unfettered access to tipsters, sources and the like newspapers, along with their owners, are going to be very hesitant about printing something that might land them in the pokey or get them fined umpteen thousands of dollars per day. No matter how important the story may be. Whatever happened to grit?

This means that our access to independent news reports is now, albeit indirectly, controlled by the government. How much more bleak can a situation become?

That has just answered. According to a survey which was published back in January of this year by USA Today, they report that:

"One in three U.S. high school students say the press ought to be more restricted, and even more say the government should approve newspaper stories before readers see them, according to a survey being released today.

"The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get 'government approval' of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

"Asked whether the press enjoys 'too much freedom', not enough or about the right amount, 32% say 'too much', and 37% say it has the right amount. Ten percent say it has too little."

A lot more bleak as you have just read. The survey also shows that the same 36% believe in the doctrine called "prior restraint." The 'free press' and 'free speech' clauses were designed to place a dagger straight through the heart of prior restraint. Requiring 'government approval' prior to publication is prior restraint. Without any doubt prior restraint is an incredibly chilling doctrine.

Those who fought our country's revolutionary war and those who founded our country, if they were alive today, would be shaking their heads in shame and disbelief. No doubt they are rolling in their graves. I do not blame them in the least.

Indeed, we should all hang our heads in shame.

[Story update: Judith Miller was released from jail 29 September, 2005.]

[Ed. note: This story has been updated.]

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