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News media seek documents in CIA leak case

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Two news organizations are asking a federal judge to unseal documents in the case of a CIA agent whose name was leaked, arguing that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald never needed the testimony of reporters who were threatened with jail time because he knew the source of the leak all along.

The Associated Press and Dow Jones, in court papers filed this week, asked for the release of the sworn statements Fitzgerald used to justify subpoenas for former New York Times reporter Judith Miller — who was jailed in 2005 for refusing to testify — and for Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.

Fitzgerald wanted the reporters' help in his investigation of the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify. Cooper testified under a court order.

"Recently the public learned that the special counsel's pursuit of those reporters was entirely unnecessary for him to determine who leaked Ms. Plame's name to Mr. Novak," lawyers for the news services wrote.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has acknowledged being Novak's source but said it was a passing, inadvertent conversation. He also said he told Fitzgerald about the conversation as soon as the investigation began.

Lawyers for the news organizations said the public has the right to know why Fitzgerald testified that he needed the testimony of reporters to continue the investigation. The only way to know that, the lawyers argued, is to unseal Fitzgerald's affidavits and the court's full legal opinion on the issue.

No one was charged with the leak. Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was charged with lying to investigators and to grand jurors. He is scheduled to go on trial in January.

Journalists may testify in CIA leak case
Ten or more reporters could be called as witnesses in I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby trial, a prospect Reporters Committee chief calls 'unprecedented' and 'horrifying.' 01.02.07

Ex-State Dept. official says he leaked name of CIA officer
Richard Armitage, agency's former No. 2, says he inadvertently disclosed Valerie Plame's identity in conversations with columnist Robert Novak, Washington Post's Bob Woodward. 09.08.06


Bush administration opposes journalist shield law

Deputy attorney general tells Senate panel that proposal to protect reporters from having to identify their sources would encourage leaks of classified information. 09.21.06

Ongoing confidential-sources cases
By Bill Kenworthy Compilation tracking current cases involving efforts to force journalists to disclose confidential sources. 08.04.05

The news media meltdown
By Paul K. McMasters Will the bad news stalking the mainstream press wind up killing the messenger? 12.03.06

Track shield laws, subpoenas, confidentiality cases here

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