SF Chronicle reporters jailed

Here’s the story:

Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters were sentenced to a maximum 18 months in prison Thursday, pending an appeal, for refusing to testify about who leaked them secret grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds and other elite athletes.

Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada published a series of articles and a book based partly on the leaked transcripts of the testimony of Bonds, Jason Giambi and others before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a Burlingame-based nutritional supplement company exposed as a steroid ring two years ago.

Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White to send the pair to prison for the full term of the grand jury investigating the leak, or until they agree to testify.

Will we see an outcry by the NYT on this like we did when Judy Miller was jailed for her refusal to name her pLamegate source? Don’t hold your breath.

Update: ST reader Severian, whose brain obviously functions better in the morning than mine does (heh), makes a good point in the comments:

Wonderful. Not that I think these two don’t deserve to get jail time for what they did, leaking grand jury testimony and publishing it. But, and it’s a big but, where is the similar justice for those who leaked and published critical national security information, such as the NYT and their stories on NSA telecommunications surveillance and terrorist finance tracking? Why is it that we can get serious about someone leaking and publishing something as basically insignificant as information about steroids in baseball and not get as upset and serious about leaks that damage national security?

That’s the million dollar question – why, indeed?

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