Media contests secrecy order in CIA leak case

[JURIST] Major US media organization Dow Jones & Co. [corporate website], publisher of the Wall Street Journal and other publications, on Monday challenged efforts by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] to keep documents secret in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive], asking a federal court to deny Fitzgerald's motion to bar public disclosure of documents. The proposed protective order was agreed to by Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [NYT profile], and if granted, would cover documents such as grand jury transcripts and witness statements. The order warns that leaks could result in civil and criminal fines. In the motion, Dow Jones noted that the company "has a substantial interest in ensuring timely access to information of importance to its readers and the general public." Libby, who has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report], was indicted [PDF text; JURIST report] on October 28 for obstructing justice, perjury and lying to the grand jury in the two-year investigation into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame [JURIST news archive] and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted. Lawyers involved in the case said other media organizations could join Dow Jones in challenging Fitzgerald's proposed order. Reuters has more.

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