Since he was the person who broke the story about Valerie Plame being in the CIA, and he knows the source that told him this, why hasn’t he been called before a Grand Jury to reveal his source?
There are various shield laws that say you can’t require a reporter to reveal sources.
I wonder, is Novak just as guilty as his source? If it’s against the law to reveal Plame was an agent, wasn’t he at least an accomplice by writing the article that outed her?
Got any cites for that?
As I understand the law in question (the Intelligance Identities Protection Act of 1982), it’s not illegal for Novak to have revealed the name. The alleged crime was committed if the person(s) who leaked her name (which was classified information) had authorized access to have the name. Novak doesn’t have authorized access to the information so his publishing it doesn’t break the law.
Um, I know how to spell “intelligence.”
Oh, and as to why Novak hasn’t been hauled in front of a grand jury, my WAG is that the investigators have some political motivation. Either Novak reveals the information, in which case every editorial writer in the country pillories the government for “bullying” a reporter into revealing a source, or he doesn’t and goes to jail for contempt, in which case every editorial writer in the country pillories the government for sending a reporter to jail for not revealing a source. Either way, it makes the press hostile toward a sitting president in the months leading up to an election.
The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Requiring a reporter to reveal a source would abridge the freedom of the press.
That’s not true. Some reporters have tried to claim a first amendment right to protection of sources but I’m pretty sure the courts have ruled consistently that freedom of the press does not imply any privelege to protect sources. Reporters genearlly refuse to reveal sources as a matter of pride and reputation (and doing so can result in contempt charges and a jail cell) but there really is no legal right to protect sources. It’s actually somewhat of a badge of honor for a journalist to have been jailed for refusing to reveal a source (and it helps build a trustworthy reputation for future sources).
I disagree with otto that the investigators are afraid of alienating the press. I think they’re just trying to build some sort of foundation with other reporters (like Russert) before they question Novak. I think they’re saving him for last but that he will be subpoenaed.
I also predict that Novak won’t talk. If he does it will destroy his reputation and his career will be over. At that point it will be interesting to see how hardcore the investigators want to get with it. They can jug him until he decides to talk if they want to, but as Otto said, that may create a martyr in the press corps.
I think the investigation has to at least appear as if they tried to squeeze Novak. If they don’t question him at all it would leave a pretty big hole in any conclusions they make.
Maybe they’re hoping they can flush out the leaker without having to call Novak at all. That would be the best case scenario for them and maybe not too impossible.
It didn’t seem to destroy his rep or end his career the last time he did it:
I don’t understand Novak’s reasoning.
Here’s a good discussion of reporter privilege both under the federal Constitution and under the various state laws.
I have seen no mention of the possibility that the Administration may not WANT to have Novak’s sources revealed, and my be exercising considerable behind the scenes pressure to prevent his being questioned.
Because that would speculation unfit for GQ.
He very well may have been subpoenaed.
From this story: http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/05/22/journalists.subpoena/index.html
As for Novak, there is this:
Nor I. Spy or not Hanssen told Novak the truth. Usually that’s part of the agreement. Source tells truth = not reveal. Source is discovered to have lied to reporter = name him and fry him up.
It’s usually pretty straightforward.
Wait, speculation is not appropriate for GQ? Speculation about facts? Perfectly plausible speculation about facts? Entirely likely speculation about facts? Hmm.
I see, thanks!