Times Reporter Ordered to Testify in Leaks Case
James Risen expected to appeal in case with free-press implications
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2013 5:48 PM CDT
The New York Times building.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(Newser) – A reporter for the New York Times has been ordered by an appeals court in Virginia to testify against the man accused of slipping him classified CIA secrets, reports USA Today. James Risen has previously promised to appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court if necessary and to go to jail rather than testify if he eventually loses, reports the Times. The ruling is a "blow to investigative reporting in America," says the story in the UK's Guardian. The background here is that Risen wrote a 2006 book that recounted the CIA's efforts to dupe Iranian scientists. A few years later, the government charged CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling with giving Risen the classified information.

"There is no First Amendment testimonial privilege, absolute or qualified, that protects a reporter from being compelled to testify … in criminal proceedings," says the ruling. A dissenting judge said "the majority exalts the interests of the government while unduly trampling those of the press." The decision comes as Eric Holder has taken steps to ease up on the Justice Department's aggressive legal tactics against journalists.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Jul 21, 2013 6:48 AM CDT
"I plead the 5th Amendment" is what he should say. Then if they say they will prosecute him for not testifying, then simply reply "I have the right to remain silent" and then "I want my attorney".
Jul 20, 2013 11:18 PM CDT
Ummmm........I forget...sorry I can't help you because I don't remember....what? I do remember? No, I don't, sorry I've got to go now.
Jul 20, 2013 5:36 AM CDT
If one suspects too many secrets by government just look at a WH press conference. The American populace is considered by our government to be too stupid to seek the truth by demanding accountability or else. Who goes to jail for the misdeeds attributed to various government heads when they all say it was someone else responsible and we can't be made to say who that was due to secrets. As much as I sometimes hate the press, they are our only stand against secretive government.