In the Matt Cooper Case, Chilling Implications
Should Matt Cooper go to jail?
No one who knows the amiable Time correspondent, who doubles as an amateur stand-up comedian, would think so. Yet he faces imprisonment -- not for lying, cheating or committing journalistic fraud, but for refusing to testify about confidential sources.
Cooper didn't "out" Valerie Plame as a CIA operative -- that was columnist Robert Novak, who refuses to say whether he has been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor investigating which senior Bush administration officials leaked the information. Cooper wrote a follow-up piece questioning whether the administration had "declared war" on Plame's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. But a federal judge has held Cooper in contempt of court, and he faces an unspecified period behind bars if Time's appeal fails.