Journalist seeks law to protect sources

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"Even flawed reporters should not be jailed for protecting even flawed sources," she toldthe Senate Judiciary Committee - a reference to her erroneous reports in the run-up to the Iraq war, suggesting that Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction.

Ms Miller spent 85 days in prison earlier this year after refusing to identify a source to federal prosecutors investigating the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent.

The investigation, whose conclusions are due in a few days, has tried to determine whether Ms Plame was deliberately exposed by Bush administration officials.

"We need a federal shield law," Ms Miller said. "That's why I'm here. I went through a lot to be able to make this statement." The Senate panel largely appeared to agree with her.

The special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, could issue indictments against Karl Rove, George Bush's adviser, and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney.