New York Times reporter sent to jail in leak case

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

On Wednesday, in a case that toes the line between a search for the source of criminal activity and the right to freedom of the press, a New York Times reporter was jailed after she refused to reveal her confidential source to a grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name to the media.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ordered correspondent Judith Miller to jail immediately and said she must stay there until she agreed to testify or for the rest of the grand jury's term, which lasts through October.

"If journalists cannot be trusted to keep confidences, then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press," she said in the courtroom.

"I do not make confidential pledges lightly, but when I do I must honor them. If I do not, how can I expect people to accept my assurances."

"Your honor, in this case I cannot break my word just to stay out of jail," Miller told the judge during the hearing which lasted about an hour.

Miller also noted that she did not consider herself to be above the law and that she had thought long and hard over the July 4 Independence Day holiday about her decision.

She said her decision was necessary to help ensure an independent free press.