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Novak wont give up source { October 1 2003 }

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Novak unlikely to do time, and vows not to give up source
October 1, 2003

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak is unlikely to spend time behind bars for printing the name of a CIA employee -- and whoever it was who leaked him the name is also unlikely to do jail time, legal experts predicted.

The only time a government employee was convicted and sent to prison for leaking information to the press was in 1985 when Samuel Morison, a naval intelligence officer, gave satellite photos of a Soviet ship to Jane's Defence Weekly. He served two years in prison.

It's also rare for journalists to be jailed for refusing to divulge sources who leak them classified information.

"I think it is most unlikely he would ever be compelled to reveal the source," said Washington attorney Bob Bennett. "Knowing Bob Novak as I do, I am confident he would never reveal his source. I think it would be most unwise for the Justice Department to push a confrontation with him. That is certainly a possibility if he is held in contempt if a court orders him to reveal information, but hopefully cooler heads will prevail."

Novak vowed not to divulge which two "administration officials" -- he's not saying whether they're White House officials -- gave him the name of Valerie Plame in the days after her husband, Joseph C. Wilson, wrote a New York Times piece critical of President Bush on Iraq.

"That would be the end of my journalistic career -- reporters don't divulge sources," Novak said.

In this case, the leak threatens people Plame worked with, say some traditional defenders of reporters' right to protect sources.

"You're jeopardizing people's lives," said former White House Counsel Abner Mikva. "I consider leaking agents' names a really serious offense."

But most investigations of leaks in Washington never succeed: Who leaked the name of the CIA's Tel Aviv director to the New Republic in 1998? Who leaked Anita Hill's story to the press in 1991? Who leaked the investigation of former U.S. Rep. William Gray to the press in 1989?

"Part of the reason they're not successful is because we can't use torture and thumb screws in this country," said Jane Kirtley, professor of law and media ethics at the University of Minnesota. "It becomes extremely difficult to ferret out leakers. I can't think of one that's been successful."

The CIA reports classified intelligence leaks to the Justice Department weekly.

"Leaks, including intelligence-related leaks, are commonplace--they happen all the time," said Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst with the Federation of American Scientists. "But there are a finite number of people at the White House. Of those, only a fraction would be likely to know that Wilson's wife had a CIA affiliation. So conducting an investigation that encompasses all of those individuals should be feasible."

If Novak is subpoenaed, his success in asserting "reporter's privilege" against disclosing sources may depend upon whether the action is filed in the D.C. or Virginia federal circuit, said Gregg Leslie, legal director for the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press.

"The weakest case for journalistic privilege is one in which national security is at stake," said Cass Sustein, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. "This would be a relatively weak case for that."

Kirtley said media lawyers will be watching this case for another reason: "An interesting question is whether the government will use the power under the USA Patriot act to do surveillance of journalists who may have some knowledge about this with or without their knowledge. I don't think we can rule that out as a possibility."

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Agee discusses leak of name
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Appeals court upheld ruling against reporters over leak { February 15 2005 }
Ashcroft recused self from investigation { December 31 2003 }
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Bush admits cia leak came from whitehouse { July 12 2007 }
Bush aide testifies leak probe { February 9 2004 }
Bush and lawyer huddle on CIA leak { June 2 2004 }
Bush commuted libby prison sentence { June 2007 }
Bush defends declassification of prewar report
Bush jokes to reporter about cia leak
Bush knew of pending cia leak
Bush toughens support of leak investigation { October 7 2003 }
Cheney advisor resigns after indictment
Cheney aide also linked to cia leak { July 18 2005 }
Cheney aide says bush approved leak { April 6 2006 }
Cheney and rove lose importance in whitehouse
Cheney may use executive privilege { October 29 2005 }
Cheney reportedly interviewed in leak of CIA name { June 5 2004 }
Cheney source of officer name to libby { October 25 2005 }
Cheney staff focus of probe { February 17 2004 }
Cheney to be defense witness in cia leak case
Cia blocks varerie plame book
Cia name leak from whitehouse { September 30 2003 }
Cia probe widens
Colleague says armitage was cia leak source { August 29 2006 }
Did rove blow spooks cover { September 16 2003 }
Doj investigation whitehouse reveal cia agent
Fitzgerald calls new grand jury after woodward testimony { November 19 2005 }
Judith freed to testify about source lewis libby { September 30 2005 }
Judith miller cant remember where name came from { October 16 2005 }
Judith miller retires from the times
Karl rove testifies before federal grand jury on leak
Last day of probe keeping whitehouse jittery
Leaders express outrage for libby commuted sentence { July 3 2007 }
Leaker said wilson wife fair game { September 28 2003 }
Libby charges dont address cia leak
Libby lawyer told miller to clear scooter libby { October 16 2005 }
Libby may have hidden cheney role { November 13 2005 }
Libby perjury worse than lewinsky perjury
Libby retains 5th amendment by avoiding pardon { July 3 2007 }
Libby says white house superiors approved leak { February 9 2006 }
Libby scapegoated to protect karl rove { January 24 2007 }
Libby trial delayed right after 2006 elections { February 4 2006 }
Matthew cooper testify after rove lawyers maneuvering { July 7 2005 }
Mcclellan cant clear cheney in cia leak case { June 20 2008 }
Memo central to leak delivered to powell { July 21 2005 }
Nbc russert rebuts libby testimony { February 7 2007 }
New tork times reporter jailed for concealing leak { July 7 2005 }
New york times reporter given top security clearance { October 16 2005 }
Novak claims book was source of leak { August 2 2005 }
Novak points to cia { October 1 2003 }
Novak pokes fun at cia leak
Novak wont give up source { October 1 2003 }
Pat buchanan says neocons behind whole thing { July 15 2005 }
Powell gives testimony to grand jury
Press secretary says bush behind leak { October 2007 }
Prison fines await those leak cia identities
Probe exposing cia identity { September 29 2003 }
Prosecutor investigating coverup of leak { July 27 2005 }
Prosecutors question Bush on CIA name leak { June 25 2004 }
Reporter held in contempt
Rove and libby worked damage control { July 22 2005 }
Rove blamed libby to jury { October 20 2005 }
Rove called to testify 5th time { April 27 2006 }
Rove confirmed plame indirectly lawyer says { July 15 2005 }
Rove emailed security official about matthew cooper { July 11 2003 }
Rove fight escalates { July 15 2005 }
Rove legal team furious efforts to convince prosecutor { October 27 2005 }
Rove mclellan interviewed cia probe { October 23 2003 }
Rove told cooper wilsons wife works for agency { July 11 2005 }
Rove wont face indictment in cia leak case { June 13 2006 }
Story from two senior whitehouse employees
Time magazine talked to rove for plane story
Time reporters in contempt of court for cia leak
Time reporters says he first learned of plame from rove { July 18 2005 }
Valerie plame does vanity fair spread { December 3 2003 }
Whitehouse press secretary contradicts libby { December 2007 }
Wilson suggested rove leaked { September 30 2003 }
Woodward attacked by liberals { November 18 2005 }
Woodward eyed after calling fitzgerald overzealous { November 17 2005 }
Woodward was told of plame before leak { November 16 2005 }

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