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U.S. Government steps up its efforts to track down journalist sources.

A former government official was recently presented with presented with extensive phone records of his interactions with James Risen, a reporter for the New York Times and author of the book, “State of War.”

The investigation concerns a series of leaks, reported by Risen in State of War and with associate Eric Lichtblau in the Times, which lead to the discovery of an “extensive, off-the-books domestic spying program” later confirmed by the Bush Administration. Justice Department officials confirmed that prosecutors subpoenaed Risen’s phone records in an effort to ferret out his sources, and sources close to the investigation indicated that at least one former government official has already been questioned.

The Times’ source, a grand jury witness speaking on anonymity, said he was not clear whose records the DoJ is accessing, noting that it’s possible that investigators could target Risen’s phone records, or the records of the officials he may have spoken with. The Times also reports that it has, thus far, not received any subpoenas, though it notes that it’s possible the government could subpoena its phone company without the giving the Times anynotice.

Justice Department officials served Risen a subpoena earlier this year January, demanding the sources for a specific chapter in State of War that details a CIA plan to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear program.

Joel Kurtzberg, the New York attorney representing Risen on behalf of his employer and publisher, declined to comment.

Risen’s reporting set a climate that helped propel evidence of an AT&T/NSA wiretapping alliance into the limelight, galvanizing the civil rights groups to action and setting telcos and the Bush Administration aflame. The government is currently moving to crush the resulting lawsuits by invoking the State Secrets privilege, which have the potential of quickly ending the battle.

His articles – which won him a shared Pulitzer Prize in 2006 – are just the latest target of a government seemingly intent on punishing reporters that fail to cooperate. Times reporter Judith Miller spent nearly three months in jail after refusing to divulge her sources in a leak that identified a C.I.A. operative, and California freelance reporter Josh Wolf spent over half a year in jail after he refused to testify before a grand jury and hand over videotapes of an anarchist rally in San Francisco that turned violent. In Wolf’s case, a three-judge panel in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that his behavior was in defiance of the “long-established obligation of a reporter to comply with grand jury subpoenas.”

Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press executive director Lucy A. Daiglish warned reporters of the Bush Administration’s “really egregious” efforts at intimidation, telling press members to spur technology and “do your reporting the old fashioned way – meet your sources on a park bench.”

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RE: Wait a minute...
By Darkskypoet on 4/16/2008 4:25:37 PM , Rating: -1
Look... If Iran developed nukes; even if they had them right now. They would not be selling them to 'terrorists'. Any state just achieving nuclear weapons, especially one in such a position as Iran; utilizes these as a deterrent. Why? The U.S, and other powers have shown time and times again; they don't go into and fuck up a country that has nukes.

Who's more dangerous; Iraq vs North Korea? Easy. Iran vs North Korea? A little bit harder, but still DPRK. Why did the US go into Iraq? No Nukes, Weak Military. Why not either other country? Stronger Military, and in the DPRK's case Missile tech and a real possibility of Nukes.

India vs Pakistan? Nukes have very much stopped the possibility of a major war between them again for the forseeable future. Israel? Nukes; deterrent.

If you are leader in Iran, or NK; you don't sell the bombs to a terrorist. You create a deterrent force to keep others from invading conventionally. Especially considering that when just attaining such weapons, a state does not have many. Further, a 'state' can be nuked to oblivion if one utilizes such a weapon against someone else. Such a state would have to be insanely stupid to use such first, and as such yet again, it makes amuch better case for a deterrent. Aside from Hiroshima, and Nagasaki; Nuclear weapons however offensive their capabilities are, are deterrents and defensive weapons.

It, as in many cases before this one, has equalized the realist ideal of relative power in the sense that a certain 'n' size striking capability eliminates the differential existent between conventional forces. Again look at India and Pakistan.

If you want to say the CIA infiltrating Iran's Nuclear Weapons program is important because it gives us the heads up on their development? Fine. Argue that, but don't submit the tripe that they would sell them. That is stupid, and quite revealing of ones inability to critically examine the propaganda they are simply being a conduit for.

The only states that might 'sell' such weapons are those with more then enough to spare, to assuage sovereignty concerns / deterrent projection. USA, Russia, some of the Breakaway republics of yore perhaps, China, and U.K, France, etc. Perhaps Israel. Although, I doubt for a second Israel again would be dumb enough to do so. You never know where it will end up when you sell it. Control of the Nuclear device is as key to their deterrent force policy, as it would be to Iran.

RE: Wait a minute...
By FITCamaro on 4/16/2008 8:04:36 PM , Rating: 3
They don't even have to sell them. All that has to happen is a rogue employee has to sneak some nuclear material out and give it to a terrorist organization. It's already been shown that groups like Hamas are receiving funding from Iran. Is it inconceivable to think that they might be able to get their hands on nuclear material from Iran? I think not.

Nukes are only a deterrent when neither side actually wants to fight and die. And I think terrorist groups have clearly shown they don't care about killing innocents or themselves.

RE: Wait a minute...
By hcahwk19 on 4/16/2008 10:08:49 PM , Rating: 2
They don't have to sell them to terrorists because Iran is a terrorist nation that harbors, trains and funds various Islamofascist terrorist groups. The Iranian government gives millions in money and weapons to Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, you name it. No selling required; just giving.

RE: Wait a minute...
By croc on 4/17/2008 12:08:30 AM , Rating: 2
"And in other news today, President Bush has proscribed the Democratic party to terrorist status by a presidential finding. All congressional records with any Democratic comments shall be declared classified documents, and the Democratic Terrorist Party's fundraising efforts will be tracked down and confiscated"

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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