Journalists Having a Rough Time in Plame Affair

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So Judy Miller got tossed in jail for refusing to reveal her Plame sources. Then Bob Novak got busted in the press for making up a cover story about talking to Karl Rove about Valerie Plame’s identity.

Now, the federal judge in the Scooter Libby trial says that he sees possible inconsistencies in the testimony given by Time reporter Matthew Cooper.

In explaining why he was ordering Time to hand over draft articles of Cooper’s to Libby’s lawyers, Judge Reggie Walton said he found “‘a slight alteration between the several drafts of the articles’ Cooper wrote about his conversations with Libby and the reporter’s first-person account of his testimony before a federal grand jury,” USA Today reports.

“‘This slight alteration between the drafts will permit the defendant to impeach Cooper, regardless of the substance of his trial testimony, because his trial testimony cannot be consistent with both versions,'” the paper quotes Walton as writing.

“Impeach,” in this case, means only that the defense can cast doubt on Cooper’s credibility as a witness. It does not imply legal jeopardy.