Politics: Wall Street Journal blasts Patrick Fitzgerald who is heading up the Valerie Plame case and pokes at the Nytimes. This is a case of be careful what you wish for.
|""After an egregiously long delay, Attorney General John Ashcroft finally did the right thing yesterday when he recused himself from the investigation into who gave the name of a CIA operative to the columnist Robert Novak. Mr. Ashcroft turned the inquiry over to his deputy, who quickly appointed a special counsel." In the recent annals of press freedom, there are few more regrettable sentences than those two from a December 31, 2003, editorial in the New York Times. The special counsel that the Times was cheering on, Patrick Fitzgerald, is now threatening a Times reporter with jail, and in a way that jeopardizes the entire press corps. This is what happens when liberals let their partisan disdain for a President obscure their interest in larger principles. * * * The Times was hardly alone, let us hasten to add. Well-nigh every liberal newspaper in the country was calling for Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself and name a "special counsel," in the hope of nailing the Bush Administration official who had "leaked" the name of CIA analyst Valerie Plame. The idea that there might be some First Amendment equities at stake was overlooked amid the partisan frenzy, and in any case Mr. Novak was expendable because he was a conservative. (See our February 20, 2004 editorial, "The Novak Exception.") In unleashing the special counsel, however, these media liberals invited an attack on their own practices. Mr. Fitzgerald has since subpoenaed Times reporter Judith Miller, and Time magazine writer Matthew Cooper, to testify before his grand jury about their Administration sources. They have refused, claiming a First Amendment privilege to protect confidential sources. But Mr. Fitzgerald is insisting, and a unanimous federal appeals court recently agreed, that the reporters can be held in contempt of court and jailed if they refuse to comply."|