June 30, 2005

Time Inc says will hand over papers in Plame case

By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Magazine said on Thursday itwould comply with a court order to hand over subpoenaed recordsto a grand jury in a move that could spare one of its reportersjail over his refusal to reveal confidential sources.

A judge on Wednesday gave Matthew Cooper of Time and JudithMiller of the New York Times one more week before decidingtheir sentence for refusing to reveal confidential sources to agrand jury investigating the leak of covert CIA operativeValerie Plame's name to the news media.

The two cases involved an important test of the rights ofreporters to refuse to identify their confidential sources aspart of a federal criminal investigation.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling thatthe two journalists should be jailed for refusing to revealtheir sources.

An appeals court had ruled they should be held in contemptand jailed for refusing to testify in the investigation of wholeaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003 tosyndicated columnist Robert Novak, who revealed her identity ina column.

Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, a diplomat in the Clintonadministration, accused the White House of being responsiblefor the leak. He said officials did so because Wilson hadpublicly disputed a prewar claim by President Bush about Iraq'sattempts to buy nuclear weapons parts.

"In declining to review the important issues presented bythis case, we believe that the Supreme Court has limited pressfreedom in ways that will have a chilling effect on our workand that may damage the free flow of information that is sonecessary in a democratic society," Time Editor in Chief NormanPearlstine said in a statement.

However he said Time had decided to hand over the documents"in accordance with its duties under the law."

"The same Constitution that protects the freedom of thepress requires obedience to final decisions of the courts andrespect for their rulings and judgments," he said.

"We believe that our decision to provide the SpecialProsecutor with the subpoenaed records obviates the need forMatt Cooper to testify and certainly removes any justificationfor incarceration," Pearlstine added.

Although Miller and Cooper talked to sources about thePlame story, neither had anything to do with leaking heridentity.