WASHINGTON -- A second reporter was held in contempt yesterday by a federal judge for refusing to reveal confidential sources before a grand jury investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity.
US District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ordered Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper jailed for up to 18 months and the magazine fined $1,000 a day for refusing to comply with a grand jury subpoena seeking the testimony. Hogan suspended the jail time and fine pending the outcome of an appeal.
The ruling was nearly identical to one issued last week by Hogan in the case of Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times who is also refusing to name her sources. Miller and Cooper, both represented by lawyer Floyd Abrams, are expected to join together in appealing their cases on First Amendment grounds.
''No reporter in the United States should have to go to jail for simply doing their job," said Cooper, who is Time's White House correspondent.
Hogan repeatedly has cited the Supreme Court in ruling that reporters do not enjoy special protection from providing testimony to grand juries unless they can show prosecutorial harassment or bad faith. Hogan said he could find no evidence of either on the part of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed special prosecutor in the investigation.
The investigation concerns whether a crime was committed when someone leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose name was published by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003.
The column appeared after Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote a newspaper opinion column criticizing President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger -- a claim the CIA had asked Wilson to check out. Wilson has said he believes his wife's name was leaked in retaliation.
Disclosure of the identity of an undercover intelligence officer can be a federal crime.