I have been saying that the civil suit of Wen Ho Lee would be an important one - especially against journalists. Today the SCOTUS refused to hear the reporter's side on whether or or they could avoid jail for contempt.

"WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court refused on Monday to consider the cases of journalists who protected confidential sources for stories about former nuclear weapons scientist Wen Ho Lee, a final note in a legal fight that pitted press freedoms against privacy rights.

The court's action, taken without comment, was announced three days after the decision of news organizations to pay Lee $750,000 as part of the $1.6 million settlement of his privacy lawsuit against the government.

The settlement erased civil contempt of court citations against reporters for refusing to disclose who leaked them information about an espionage investigation of Lee, who was fired from his job at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Lee sued the government for violating his rights under the Privacy Act, and said he needed the reporters' testimony to tell him who in the government attempted to smear him as a spy for China. He was never charged with espionage.

Justices could have dismissed the appeal as moot, or no longer an issue, based on the out-of-court settlement. Instead, they rejected the appeal, which had been filed on behalf of the reporters during the legal wrangling with Lee."


With ongoing investigations into the CIA prison's story, reported by Dana Priest and James Risen's leak of the NSA monitoring story, this just can't be the news they were look for. Oh, did I mention Risen? Funny thing:

"They played out the legal possibilities and they looked pretty bleak. Maybe discretion was the better part of valor," said University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias.

Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, said she disagreed with the news companies' decision to pay Lee, particularly when the government is pressing reporters to reveal sources in several cases involving disclosure of classified information.

"It does not seem to me this is a really good time for news organizations to be suggesting that they are tacitly at fault when they receive leaked classified information, and the settlement certainly conveys that message," Kirtley said"


Yep! Sure does. By the way, I'll bet that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was considered by many to be the primary source for the journalists. If that 'officially' got out that could be embarrassing especially since that would connect him to China Gate (that other Bill Clinton scandal).





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