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Questioning the First Amendment

Provide a 50-75 response to each of these questions.

1. What role does the Intelligence Identities Protection Act play in this matter?
2. What does the threat or exercise of criminal punishment typically have upon journalists? How might punishment conflict with First Amendment protections of freedoms of speech and press?
3. How could Novak's publication of Valerie Plame's identity jeopardize national security?
4. What is contempt of court, and for what reasons are journalists held in contempt? Who was held in contempt in the Plame matter and why?

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Dear Student,
My response to each question is not as limited as I would like as each question merited a far longer discussion. Attached is the word version. Good Luck!

OTA 105878

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1. The Intelligence Protection Act & the Plame Revelation

The Intelligence Protection Act allows the government to prosecute those with access to classified information, in this case the identity of a covert operative Plame, who with intent releases classified information to those who are unauthorized who, in this particular case used his (Novak) journalistic credentials to release said classified information for public consumption. While due investigation will allow Washington to find authorized personnel who leaked the information and prosecute said official, the question that prosecutors, pundits & journalists ask is if Novak can be prosecuted under said act. While there is no question that Novak's actions compromised Plame's work and the missions she is undertaking that does not necessarily need to be revealed for reasons of National Security, the question is, if Novak gets prosecuted, the lines between journalistic privilege and criminal prosecution will be blurred. But then again, one has to understand the merits of this case in terms of journalistic responsibility. While Novak did not disclose the identities of his 'sources on his revelation', the fact that he revealed the identity of a United States Covert Intelligence Agent itself merits punishment as if such an act does not get actioned, it will set a precedent. True, Novak has first amendment rights. But Rights are coupled with responsibility, in this case the journalist in him went for the expose to the gain of political pundits unhappy with the sanctioned work of Plame, jeopardizing her forever as an intelligence agent. The Intelligence Protection Act, I reckon must be amended to include ...

Solution Summary

The solution looks at the various debates & issues behind the First Amendment especially the recent measures taken by the US Government after 9-11 to enhance the nation's fight against terrorism. Specifically, it answers the following questions:
1. What role does the Intelligence Identities Protection Act play in this matter?
2. What does the threat or exercise of criminal punishment typically have upon journalists? How might punishment conflict with First Amendment protections of freedoms of speech and press?
3. How could Novak's publication of Valerie Plame's identity jeopardize national security?
4. What is contempt of court, and for what reasons are journalists held in contempt? Who was held in contempt in the Plame matter and why?

The solution expands the discussion as concisely as possible based on the article by Eunice Eun.

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