A U.S. appeals court has upheld contempt citations against two reporters for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating who leaked the name of a CIA operative.

The decision by the three-judge panel in Washington means Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller could face jail unless they agree to discuss their confidential sources.

The reporters were looking into who exposed undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. Another reporter, Robert Novak, published her name in his 2003 newspaper column.

In Tuesday's ruling, the appeals court rejected arguments that Mr. Cooper and Ms. Miller are privileged under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment to keep their sources a secret.

Ms. Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, has said he believes the White House exposed his wife's undercover work because of critical comments he made about President Bush.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters and Bloomberg.