Senate considering reporter shield - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Senate considering reporter shield

 CAPITOL HILL (AP) - Taking heat over adviser Karl Rove's role in the leak of an undercover CIA agent's identity, the White House is labeling as "bad policy" a bill that would keep reporters out of jail for refusing to reveal sources.

The proposal would stop short of giving reporters absolute immunity. It wouldn't apply to cases considered essential to national security. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard today from Time magazine's Matt Cooper, who was nearly sent to jail for initially refusing to reveal his source in the Valerie Plame leak.

Cooper says the issue isn't about "journalists as some priestly class" but rather about democracy. He says protecting sources is key to the media's ability to focus on government wrongdoing.

Deputy Attorney General James Comey declined to testify before the panel but in prepared remarks said the measure would hamper efforts to fight terrorism.

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