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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 hcahwk19 on 4/17/2008 9:49:23 AM , Rating: 2
Once again, you are parsing language, this time from a case that has a lot of negative history (though not fully overturned), and using it to try and make the whole point. The Katz case was about truly domestic calls, from one US number to another US within the US. The current issue is NOT about DOMESTIC tapping. The calls tapped by the NSA here were INTERNATIONAL calls. The Katz case also clearly sets out three exceptions to the holding in the case, one of which is from Warden, Md. Penitentiary v. Hayden , which states that "the 4th amendment does not require police officers to delay in the course of investigation if to do so would gravely endanger their lives or the lives of others. Speed was essential here." 387 U.S. 294, 298-99 (1967). That is the basis behind the NSA wiretapping program.

You are crazy if you think that the NSA program does not protect us from grave dangers. You would probably be one of the first to cry like those after 9/11, "What did you know and when did you know it?" or "Why did you not do something to find this information out and save us from attack?" YOU CANNOT HAVE THIS ISSUE BOTH WAYS. In case you have been living in a cave for the last 15 years, you know there are Islamofascist terrorist in this world, both in the US and other countries, that will stop at absolutely nothing to blow themselves up in order to kill even innocent civilians (9/11 is one of many prime examples in just the past 15 years). What happens if the NSA does not do this and we are attacked?

On top of that, the law is such that if the police want to tap your phone for the monitoring of domestic calls, they can do it. They just have 24 hours in which to get a warrant. If they don't, then it cannot be used in court against YOU.

This NSA wiretapping program was passed by Congress, just as FISA was, and it amended the FISA rules specifically for the situations at issue now. As with many other surveillance laws, this one is VERY narrowly tailored to specific situations, and thankfully, will most likely pass constitutional muster, especially with the present composition of the Supreme Court.

RE: Wait a minute...
By Viditor on 4/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wait a minute...
By MrWonka on 4/22/2008 8:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
You really need to stop mumbling; cause’ I can’t understand a word you’re saying.

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