NEWS BRIEF After the Boston Marathon bombing, Glenn Beck, the conservative radio host, said his producer received a tip. Two officials from the Department of Homeland security, Beck said, told the producer a Saudi man seen in a video at the scene financed the 2013 bombings.
But that man, Abdulrahman Alharbi, was cleared in congressional testimony of any role in the attacks by Janet Napolitano, who was Homeland Security secretary at the time. Despite that, Beck repeatedly insisted otherwise. Alharbi sued Beck and TheBlaze radio network, which Beck owns, for defamation. This week, a federal judge ruled Beck must reveal the sources who allegedly provided the information Alharbi was the “money man” behind the attacks.
The case has set up a fight over First Amendment rights, and the ethical obligations of the media when dealing with private figures.
Judge Patti Saris, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, released her 61-page decision Tuesday, in which she said all other means to learn if Homeland Security did indeed consider Alharbi a suspect had been exhausted. A freedom-of-information-records request turned up no evidence linking Alharbi to the attacks, so she requested Beck turn over his sources.