|News Media Update||WASHINGTON, D.C.||Confidentiality/Privilege|
Time reporter testifies in CIA leak probe
- Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper was interviewed yesterday by prosecutors for the Valerie Plame leak investigation, more than two weeks after being held in contempt of court.
Aug. 24, 2004 — Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper was interviewed yesterday by Justice Department prosecutors investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer’s identity. Cooper, who was recently held in contempt for refusing to comply with a federal judge’s July 20 order to testify, was immediately cleared of the contempt citation.
Time said in a statement that Cooper agreed to be interviewed because the one source the special counsel asked about, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby, had waived the confidentiality agreement he had with Cooper.
“The deposition, which took place yesterday in the Washington, D.C., office of Mr. Cooper’s attorney, Floyd Abrams, focused entirely on conversations Mr. Cooper had with Mr. Libby, one of Mr. Cooper’s sources for the articles he helped author about the leak in July 2003,” the statement said.
Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan of U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., held Cooper in contempt on Aug. 6 for refusing to comply with an order compelling his testimony. Cooper was ordered to jail and to pay a $1,000-per-day fine until he complied with Hogan’s order. However, Cooper was released on bond pending his emergency appeal to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
The leak investigation began after conservative columnist Robert Novak, citing two “administration officials” as his sources, disclosed undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity in a July 2003 column. The leakers could face criminal charges under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, which makes the knowing disclosure of an undercover operative’s identity a federal crime.
Plame’s name was revealed after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, publicly criticized the Bush administration’s assertion that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons. Wilson, who was sent to Niger by the CIA to investigate the claims, has accused various White House staff members of making the disclosure in retaliation.
Hogan also ordered NBC’s Tim Russert to answer a subpoena issued by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Russert answered Fitzgerald’s questions under oath earlier this month, as did The Washington Post ‘s Glenn Kessler in June. Both reporters agreed to be questioned after Libby released them from their confidentiality agreements. Both reporters also told Fitzgerald that Libby did not mention Plame in their conversations, the Post reported.
Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus and New York Times reporter Judith Miller have also been subpoenaed by the grand jury investigating the leak.
(In re Special Counsel Investigation; Media Counsel: Floyd Abrams, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, LLP, New York City) — KM
- Time reporter held in contempt of court (8/9/2004)
- Two reporters subpoenaed in leak investigation (5/24/2004)
© 2004 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press