[JURIST] The New York Times [media website] asked the US Supreme Court [official website] Friday to block a federal investigation into a terrorism probe leak from acquiring the telephone records of two Times reporters until the high court rules on a certiorari petition in the case. A Chicago grand jury is seeking to identify the sources that leaked information of the US government's pending action against two Islamic charities in 2001. The Times filed suit after US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald attempted to obtain records of phone conversations involving Judith Miller [JURIST news archive] and Philip Shenon directly from their telecom providers. In August, the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals [official site] ruled [JURIST report] 2-1 in favor of the government, stating that the interests of law enforcement outweigh the reporters' constitutional protections under the First Amendment [text].
The Supreme Court has not addressed the question of protecting journalists' confidential sources since 1972. Judith Miller has previously been a subject [JURIST report] of a federal grand jury investigation regarding the identity leak [JURIST news archive] of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame. She was imprisoned for 85 days for failing to reveal her sources and has since left the Times. The New York Times has more.