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Justice Dept. Being Hard-nosed About Leaks: Still Fighting to Get NY Times Reporter to Disclose Sources

Reporter James Risen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nearly three years into the Obama administration, the Justice Department appears to be as hard-nosed about challenging reporters’ rights to protect confidential sources as it was under the Bush administration.

The latest: The Justice Department has gone to the Court of Appeals to challenge District judge, who ruled that New York Times investigative reporter James Risen did not have to disclose his sources at the trial of a CIA officer accused of leaking top secret info, Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported.

The Justice Department on Wednesday filed the papers challenging U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema’s ruling in July.

At the time, the judge ruled that Risen’s testimony was covered by a “reporter’s privilege,” and that the government failed to show that information was essential to proving its case, Politico reported. Risen works out the Time’s Washington bureau.

Politico reported that ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was indicted last year on charges of disclosing to Risen info about the agency’s efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Trial, which was set to begin this month, has been delayed because of the appeal.

The executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Lucy Dalglish, called the appeal troubling but not surprising.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Dalglish told Politico.  “The Obama administration has made it absolutely clear they detest leakers and they are going to be very aggressive against leakers.”

 


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