Fredrik Linge. Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)Jan. 12, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- New York Times reporter James Risen prevailed over the U.S. government in its effort to force him to reveal a confidential source as part of a CIA leak prosecution.
The request today by prosecutors that Risen be dropped as a witness caps his three-year battle to avoid testifying about his sources. The legal battle reached the U.S. Supreme Court and focused attention on the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of leaks. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in February reacted by issuing guidelines restricting the use of subpoenas and search warrants for journalists.
Risen told a judge Jan. 5 he wouldn’t answer questions that could help identify sources for his report on a bungled Central Intelligence Agency program to give Iran false nuclear weapon development data. Jeffrey Sterling, an ex-CIA agent, faces trial tomorrow in Alexandria, Virginia, federal court accused of leaking the secret information to Risen for his 2006 book, “State of War.”
Calling Risen as a witness “would simply frustrate the truth-seeking function of the trial,” prosecutors wrote in today’s court filing.