November 28, 2006
New York Times loses
The New York Times has lost another major case regarding journalists' right to protect the confidentiality of its sources.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled against The New York Times on Monday, refusing to block the government from reviewing the phone records of two Times reporters in a leak investigation of a terrorism-funding probe.
The one-sentence order came in a First Amendment battle that involves stories written in 2001 by Times reporters Judith Miller and Philip Shenon. The stories revealed the government's plans to freeze the assets of two Islamic charities, the Holy Land Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation
Theoretically, this should make it easier for the government to pursue its investigations against the paper for its serial leaks of classified information.
Unfortunately, as we noted sometime ago, the paper foresaw this eventuality and in future such cases, its reporters will certainly utilize communication methods which make examination of reporters' phone records less fruitful source material for investigators.
Its reporters will be keeping no records, using disposable phones and generally leaving no trace of their contacts.