NEWS MEDIA UPDATE · WASHINGTON, D.C. · Confidentiality/Privilege · July 14, 2006
Reporters could be subpoenaed again if Plame suit advances
July 14, 2006 · Journalists would likely be called to testify in federal court if a lawsuit filed Thursday by former CIA agent Valerie Plame against Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials proceeds.
Conversations those officials had with Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame are at the heart of the lawsuit, which alleges that the disclosure of Plame’s identity to those reporters violated her and her husband’s constitutional rights.
The lawsuit, which also names I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, presidential adviser Karl Rove, and several John Does as defendants, was filed on the third anniversary of Robert Novak’s column which identified Plame as a CIA agent.
Following Novak’s column, several other journalists reported receiving the same information.
“I would much rather be continuing my career as a public servant than be a plaintiff in a lawsuit but I feel strongly and justice demands that those who acted so harmfully against our national security must answer for their shameful conduct in court,” Plame said at a press conference Friday. Plame left the CIA in January.
Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, contend that the defendants in the case destroyed her cover in retaliation for Wilson’s public criticism of the Bush administration’s assertion that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons.
The eight-count complaint includes allegations that the Wilsons’ First Amendment rights were violated when officials punished the couple for Joe Wilson’s public criticism of the Bush administration, their privacy was invaded when personal information about Plame was disclosed, and that the defendants were engaged in a conspiracy to discredit and punish the Wilsons.
The Wilsons’ attorney, Christopher Wolf, declined to comment on the likelihood that reporters will be subpoenaed.
(Wilson v. Libby) — HB