I. Lewis Libby's defense team is planning to subpoena "several" reporters as defense witnesses in his upcoming trial, per recent court filings [Filing, Exhibit]. Two reporters are making legal noises suggesting they will resist being called. But who are the two? And wouldn't a bit of disclosure be appropriate here - reporters are in a legal tussle with Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, but that won't affect their Washington coverage? Please.
We can rule out Judy Miller, Tim Russert, and Matt Cooper, all of whom should be prosecution witnesses.
Bob Woodward is mentioned separately in the filing as being inclined to cooperate with his subpoena.
So which reporters are being balky? My first pick is Andrea Mitchell - what did Andrea know, when did she know it, and did she discuss it with Tim Russert are issues the defense will want to explore.
I have a lot more detail here but briefly: in late June Ms. Mitchell had a scoop from State about the misplaced INR dissent (on Saddam's nuclear aspirations) in the NIE; she sat in for Russert and interviewed Joe Wilson on the July 6 'Meet The Press'; on July 8, she told the world that CIA sources told her that Wilson was sent by low-level CIA "operatives" (a word later used by Novak, to great controversy); on July 20, she had a public spat with Richard Armitage, who was no longer returning her phone calls; and on Sept 26 she broke the news of the CIA criminal referral of the Plame case.
And of course, there was her famous Oct 3, 2003 response that prior to Novak's column it was "widely known" amongst the journalists covering the Niger story that Wilson's wife was with the CIA. She has since disavowed that.
So - she was covering the Niger-uranium story; she was talking with Armitage, until they fell out; she claimed at one time that Ms. Plame's CIA employment was "widely known" among reporters; and she works with Tim Russert. She might have something helpful for the defense.
As to a second balky reporter, Nick Kristof comes to mind as a fellow who has managed to keep a very low profile on this, considering that it was his May and June 2003 columns that got Washington buzzing about the then-unnamed Ambassador.
AP coverage is here. Oddly, none of the subpoenaed reporters seem to have considered their situation to be newsworthy.
STRAW-SPECK IN WIND: The filing does use "he" in describing one reporter who may resist testifying, but is gender-neutral with the other one. Just the luck of the way the sentences were written, or was that skill?
If someone can convert this file to HTML or text, we might deliver some relevant excerpts. Thanks.
UPDATE: MSNBC does note the reporter issue:
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert are expected to be prosecution witnesses. Libby's lawyers said in court papers Thursday that several reporters will testify on Libby's behalf.
Two unidentified reporters may resist testifying, Libby's attorneys said, but they expect to resolve that issue before trial .
Libby also has sought a subpoena for the tape of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's interview with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Armitage has admitted he discussed Plame's job with Woodward in 2003 but said it was a passing, inadvertent comment.
If admitted into evidence, the tape could be played at trial. The tape has been turned over to prosecutors, and Libby's attorneys said they expect no objection to their subpoena.
C'mon - these reporters know who they are. How can they be covering the Washington scene while secretly fending off this legal issue? MSNBC ought to name some names, or start collecting denials.