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Open & Shut

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations From the Spring 2007 issue of The News…

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations

From the Spring 2007 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.

“Questioning reporters should be a last resort in the very unusual case. But I think what we have — I think what people should realize — is that we never take that off the table.”

— Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, speaking March 6 about the journalists who were subpoenaed and testified in the trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary. The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals for heroes and they don’t need to be told elaborate tales.”

— Former Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch, testifying April 24 before a House panel about how the story of her capture and rescue was distorted.

“Fresh air. The air inside the prison is what you expect to find on a commercial jet: sticky, stuffy, and hard to breathe. It’s constantly re-circulating. I seriously missed not being able to put on this CD or that CD and hear what I wanted to. And of course, the lack of any females in the environment was also not too great.”

— Journalist Josh Wolf, talking about what he missed most while he was in prison, to Time shortly after his April 3 release.

“E-mails don’t get lost.”

— Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reacting April 12 to claims that White House e-mail may have been erased, in possible violation of the Presidential Records Act.

“We have to get by that case. There’s going to come a time that it will be commonplace to televise trials. If it had not been for Simpson, we’d be there now.”

— Judge Larry Paul Fidler in Los Angeles, saying the justice system must get beyond the O.J. Simpson trial in ruling Feb. 16 that the murder trial of music producer Phil Spector would be televised.

“This was probably the most egregious use of the prosecutorial power of the federal government to extract a confidential source from a reporter that we have seen to date.”

— Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), speaking about the subpoenas issued to two San Francisco Chronicle reporters and its effect on a shield law debate to the Chronicle.

“The truth is not what we received today. Once again, we are being used as props in a Pentagon public relations exercise.”

— The family of football player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman, reacting to a Pentagon inspector general report released March 26, that revealed missteps but found no evidence of a cover-up in reporting Tillman’s 2004 friendly fire death.

“And freedom of the press is a valuable freedom here, and it’s just something that we’ve all got to live with and value it for what it is, and just continue to speak the truth as best as we can without trying to — without trying to gloss over the inherent dangers.”

— President Bush, answering questions after a speech May 2.

“Someone who blatantly resists a legal requirement such as the FOIA is not unlike a bully, I’ve found, and the best response to that can be a verbal two-by-four across the bridge of the nose.”

— Daniel Metcalfe, the recently retired director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy, to Legal Times.

“We are trying to muddy the coverage up a bit.”

— Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos in a March 5 e-mail released as part of a congressional investigation into the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

“Look, I’m not going to get myself stuck in the endless sort of spin cycle of trying to deal with rules on senior administration officials. If you would like those briefings to cease, we could probably make that happen, but I think you would be poorer for it, and we would, too.”

— White House press secretary Tony Snow, answering a question Feb. 28 about why the public is not entitled to know who is talking when staffers speak as “senior administration officials.”

“In this day and age, the public apparently wants as much access as possible to salacious information uncovered by a public entity. That desire can best be summed up by the pop lyric ‘I want it all, and I want it now.'”

— Lawyers for the Wisconsin police union, citing a Queen song in a friend-of-the-court brief urging the state Supreme Court to deny the media access to the ‘adult’ images found on a fired teacher’s school computer.

“Almost all leaks of information are politically motivated.”

— Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller in a July interview with PBS.