So, the Supreme Court turned down the case of the two reporters who might go to jail for not revealing their sources in the Valerie Plame case.
Various times I've thought about commenting on this case, but I haven't before. There's always been something else to write about.
Here's my basic take. I usually am a staunch defender of the right of journalists to keep their sources confidential. But I think that this case was intriguingly different. In this case the leaking of the information was criminal. It wasn't a whistleblower needing to be protected from abusive power. No, the leak itself was an abuse of power. The grand jury investigation was trying to determine whether the White House had intentionally leaked Valerie Plame's name in an attempt to discredit or damage her husband, who was a public critic of the administration. This isn't Deep Throat trying to let the public know information it needed to know. This is, potentially, White House staffers violating the law protecting CIA agents from being outed. The leak itself was an abuse of power. The potential leakers were hoping to be proected by press confidentiality while abusing the very reason we have such a protection. The administration was, potentialy, illegally using the free press to undermine their enemies; which is an abuse of the free press.
The confusing thing in this case is that the original leak was to Robert Novak, who hasn't been charged with anything. Did he go ahead and reveal his source, or not? I've always thought that unless he revealed his source in this case, that he was party to the potential abuse of power.