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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: Strange?
By Viditor on 4/16/2008 11:41:31 PM , Rating: 0
quote:
They nailed a few people for perjury but nobody was ever convicted for the CIA leak simply because the person was outside of the 5 or so year window at which time it's no longer illegal to give that out


Sorry, but that's total BS! There is no "5 year window", nor should there be any pre-defined window...
Remember that the reason for the law isn't to protect the CIA operative, but to protect that operative's agents (the locals they've recruited). If their ID was ever leaked (as it most assuredly was here), then all of those operatives lives would still be in danger (it's relatively simple to backtrack a known person's movements and discover who they met with).

quote:
Freedom of the press is abused


Agreed...but the answer certainly isn't to eliminate the Freedom, which appears to be what you're suggesting.

quote:
I fail to see how a wiretapping program on calls that are coming in from overseas and from calls here that go overseas is damaging to the people. Perhaps damaging to people who are doing shit and might get caught


I understand...
I grew up when Orwell wrote 1984, and that lesson is probably more ingrained in people from my generation.
But the principle has been around since the contry's founding...
In a 1759 diplomatic document by Richard Jackson, there is a line that is oft attributed to Ben Franklin:

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

quote:
Very rarely do you see a good employee blowing any whistles, usually the malcontents who are looking to stick it to the man


Hmmm...
Daniel Ellsberg
Mark Felt
Dr Jeffrey Wigand
Karen Silkwood
Curtis Lee
Sherron Watkins
Cynthia Cooper
Diann Shipione
Peter Rost

Just to name a few...were these people just general malcontents who created the situation?
Or was their outrage at the company's actions the very reason for their whistleblowing?

Either way, a whistleblower never really knows if anything will happen from their actions...all they know is that they are going to be fired and blackballed (to the extent possible). That's sounds pretty damned courageous to me!


"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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