PERJURY?….David Ignatius suggests today that the continuing investigation into the Valerie Plame case isn’t about outing a spy, it’s about perjury:
Fitzgerald’s legal quest makes little sense to me as a leak investigation. The law is fuzzy, the evidence is ambiguous, and the case would be hard to prove. But every good prosecutor hates perjury above all. And on its face, this case raises the possibility that one of the senior administration officials who talked with [Matt] Cooper or [Judith] Miller has denied doing so, under oath. Otherwise, Fitzgerald would have been finished months ago.
Ignatius suggests that if this is the case, Cooper and Miller may not have any obligation to keep their sources confidential:
It’s one thing to protect the identity of a confidential source, even if that person may have violated the law by disclosing the identity of a covert intelligence agent. But it is arguably quite a different matter if the reporter has reason to believe a source lied to a grand jury. Does a reporter’s confidentiality agreement extend to protecting a cover-up?
This gets into pretty esoteric areas of journalistic standards, and I have no idea what the answer is. But it’s an interesting speculation.