Fire Judy Miller

If you are called by a Grand Jury to give testimony, you must testify. There are no exceptions, not for the President, or Congress, or CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, or even illegal aliens. So we are more than a little ticked off when we read today’s smarmy and self-congratualatory editorial in the NYT, “41 Days in Jail and Counting.”

As of today, Judith Miller has spent more time behind bars to protect privileged information than any other New York Times journalist. Reporters from other news organizations have endured longer jail time in the same important cause over the years, but for us and we hope for others, it should be clear after 41 days in a Virginia jail that Ms. Miller is not going to change her mind. She appears unwavering in her mission to safeguard the freedom of the press to do its job effectively.

If she is not willing to testify after 41 days, then she is not willing to testify. It’s time for the judge and the prosecutor to let Ms. Miller go.

What the New York Times ought to be telling Miller is this: testify or you’re fired. Just who does the NYT think it is, deciding which laws are worthy of being obeyed? Well, we’ve been through all that previously, but today seems to mark a new low. In the twisted logic of the Times, somehow being punished for not obeying the law is evidence that you shouldn’t be punished. Try using that logic on other types of criminals.

We think the Board of Directors of the New York Times Company ought to fire Miller, or explain why it condones illegal behavior in some cases but not others. We’d like to see the report of the General Counsel on that issue.

UPDATE

Tigerhawk has a thoughtful rejoinder to the opinion of this space as a comment. We certainly agree that there is always a place for civil disobedience, but that is a tiny minority of the cases. Miller’s is not one of those.

2 Responses to “Fire Judy Miller”

  1. TigerHawk Says:

    I’m not sure that this is the best argument against the position Miller is taking. There clearly are situations where prosecutors or other lawyers armed with subpoena power try to stop speech by intimidating it. I don’t agree that resistance to a subpoena is immoral just because it is unlawful, at least not in all cases.

    The trouble with Miller’s position is that it is not at all clear what principle she is defending. As I pointed out in a lengthy post today (and I am not the first person to make this point), the prosecutor who asked for the subpoena and the judge who issued it know who Miller’s source is. That source (Scooter Libby, according to leaks) has released Miller from her obligations of confidentiality, and presumably has himself testified before the grand jury. Miller believes that the release is inoperative, though, because Scooter coughed it up under duress. So Miller is refusing to relate her side of a conversation about which Libby has already testified on the ground that his release of her confidentiality obligation was coerced. So I’m not sure what principle she is defending (very different than the ‘Deep Throat’ scenario, as Tom Maguire has documented with much more finesse than I).

  2. the rat Says:

    miller is a bush HO

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