NEW YORK, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Time Inc. said it would comply with a
court order requiring it to deliver the subpoenaed records to a grand jury in
connection with the Special Counsel's investigation into the Valerie Plame
matter. The decision follows the Supreme Court's refusal to review a federal
court order requiring production of the documents in a case involving Time
magazine's White House correspondent, Matt Cooper (Matthew Cooper and Time
Inc. v. United States, No. 04-1508.) Norman Pearlstine, Editor in Chief,
issued the following statement:
"The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, including the right
to gather information of interest to the public and, where necessary, to
protect the confidentiality of sources.
Time Inc. believes in that guarantee. That is why we have supported from
the outset the efforts of Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper in resisting the
Special Counsel's attempts to obtain information regarding Mr. Cooper's
confidential sources. Time Inc. and Mr. Cooper have fought this case all the
way from the district court to the Supreme Court of the United States.
In this particular case, where national security and the role of a grand
jury have been at issue, the Supreme Court chose to let stand the district
court's order requiring Time Inc. and Mr. Cooper to comply with the Special
Counsel's subpoenas. It did so after the United States Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia affirmed that order.
In declining to review the important issues presented by this case, we
believe that the Supreme Court has limited press freedom in ways that will
have a chilling effect on our work and that may damage the free flow of
information that is so necessary in a democratic society. It may also
encourage excesses by overzealous prosecutors.
It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has left uncertain what
protections the First Amendment and the federal common law provide journalists
and their confidential sources.
It is also worth noting that many foreign governments, including China,
Venezuela, and Cameroon, to name a few, refer to U.S. contempt rulings when
seeking to justify their own restrictive press laws.
Despite these concerns, Time Inc. shall deliver the subpoenaed records to
the Special Counsel in accordance with its duties under the law. The same
Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to
final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments.
That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity. The
innumerable Supreme Court decisions in which even Presidents have followed
orders with which they strongly disagreed evidences that our nation lives by
the rule of law and that none of us is above it.
We believe that our decision to provide the Special Prosecutor with the
subpoenaed records obviates the need for Matt Cooper to testify and certainly
removes any justification for incarceration.
Time Inc.'s decision doesn't represent a change in our philosophy, nor
does it reflect a departure from our belief in the need for confidential
sources. It does reflect a response to a profound departure from the practice
of federal prosecutors when this case is compared with other landmark cases
involving confidentiality over the past 30 years. Since the days of Attorney
General John Mitchell, the Justice Department has sought confidential sources
from reporters as a last resort, not as an easy option. Neither Archibald Cox,
the Watergate Special Prosecutor, nor Judge John Sirica sought to force the
Washington Post or its reporters to reveal the identity of "Deep Throat," the
prized confidential source.
Although we shall comply with the order to turn over the subpoenaed
records, we shall continue to support the protection of confidential sources.
We do so with the knowledge that forty-nine states and the District of
Columbia now recognize some form of protection for confidential sources, and
that legislation is now pending in Congress to enact a federal shield law for
Time Inc. Contacts:
SOURCE Time Inc.