03/17/2005: Two Sided Coins
It can work for you: A federal shield law would protect reporters. That, in itself, is a public service -- is an article from Senators Christopher J. Dodd and Richard Lugar. They posit the effects and purview of a "federal shield law" to protect reporters.
Except, there is "slight" disconnect between these words:
"...An effective federal law would protect the public's right to know by prohibiting any federal government entity, under any circumstance, from forcing journalists to reveal the identity of a confidential source. At the same time, it would strike an appropriate balance with other important matters of public interest, such as law enforcement. If there is clear and convincing evidence that a reporter has exclusive information that is essential to solving a crime or other important legal matter, then that reporter would be compelled by law to disclose that information — but never a source's identity. (emphasis mine)"
And the situation under current consideration where the identity of the Federal government employee who "leaked" the name of the CIA undercover operative (Valerie Plame) is part and parcel of the very nature of the FEDERAL CRIME.
I think these guys need to go back to their Drawing Boards and figure out how to "protect whistleblowers" and its obverse counterpart to "expose and punish leakers of federally protected information." Which are two sides of the same coin in this instance. Get to work Senators...
Karen on 03.17.05 @ 07:00 AM CST