Sunday, October 16, 2005

Judy Miller Is Free (update)

Update 10/16/2005: For those of you who have been following the Judith Miller saga, the NY Times published a long and in-depth article about the story, Ms. Miller and the legal wrangling behind it. The article is not always complimentary to her, nor are the issues in the case clear and decisive, though nothing I have read changes my belief that Ms. Miller should never have been sent to jail, and that the Congress should pass a shield law to protect journalists. To read the entire article, go to:

New York

Original Post (9/30/05):

New York Times reporter Judith Miller is getting out of jail through a deal between her original source and the overzealous prosecutor who had her sent to the cooler because she refused to reveal that source. For those of you who are joining this late, we already mentioned this travesty of justice in a previous post. You can also find out more information here.

Ms. Miller will go free because her source has agreed to let her testify before the Grand Jury looking into who in Washington outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. That's a good thing for her, though it does not change the fact that she should never have been incarcerated in the first place. It was always punitive, even if she now can save face and get out a month early. She will also be able to avoid an implied threat she would have been prosecuted for withholding evidence once the Grand Jury term ran out.

Thank you to all who sent letters of support to this brave, smart woman who understands better than our government that secret sources are absolutely necessary to having a free and effective press. Thanks, too, to those who wrote their representatives in Congress supporting a shield law protecting journalists from this kind of witch hunt.

Whatever your political persuasion, you are better off in a society where journalists can seek out the facts and report things that their sources could not reveal without anonymity. While less than perfect, this system is still superior by far to one where the newspapers are in thrall to the powers-that-be.