Former prosecutor Joseph DiGenova told a CNN audience Friday that it would be a sad day for journalism.
He was referring to the prospect of NBC D.C. Bureau Chief Tim Russert, Time Reporter Matt Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller testifying in open court about their relationship to a source.
That was the prospect following the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby for allegedly lying to a Grand Jury about his role in leaking, or not, the name of CIA employees Valerie Plame.
Russert, for one, has told the government that Libby did not give him the name, and didn't even know it himself.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said in handing up the indictment, that Libby claimed to have learned Plame's name to Russert, and that when he passed it on, it was with the caveat that it was from a reporter--Russert--and that he could not even confirm it.
That, the indictment alleges, was untrue. Fitzgerald said Libby had learned the name from at least four sources in the government before the conversation with Russert, had not even discussed the name with Russert, and that he did not say, when passing the name on to Miller and Cooper, that it was from another reporter.
Fitzgerald defended his subpoenaeing of reporters, saying he was not looking for a First Amendment. He said there were a lot of reporters he did not talk to. "We made sure we needed the information," he said.
Saying such subpoenas should not be routine, he also said that when the reporter is the eyewitness to the crime, he knew of no other way to get the information."