Appeals Court: Reporter Must Reveal CIA Source

Appeals Court: Reporter Must Reveal CIA Source

New York Times foreign affairs reporter James Risen must reveal his secret source while testifying in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent charged with leaking classified information, so says the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. 

Risen utilized a secret source when writing his book “State of War,” not while reporting for the Times. The book included details of an aborted American intelligence mission in Iran.  

The AP reports: “The full appeals court voted 13-1 to deny Risen’s petition for a rehearing Tuesday. In its 2-1 ruling in July, the appeals panel said Risen has no more right than any other citizen to refuse to comply with a subpoena that’s issued in good faith. The dissenting judge, Roger Gregory, was the only supporter of a rehearing.”

Risen intends to take his fight all the way to the Supreme Court. He told the New York Times

I’m determined to keep fighting. My lawyers and I are planning to take this to the Supreme Court. I am not discouraged at all, because I have actually been encouraged by the broad level of support that I have received. I think a lot of people now recognize the significance of this case. I will go to jail if necessary to keep up the fight.

The Times public editor sees this decision as another attack on a free press in the age of Obama:

As the Obama administration has engaged in a historic crackdown on leakers, reporters have found it harder and harder to do their jobs. That “chilling effect” on news-gathering is harmful to the way the nation’s founders intended our democracy to work.

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