Department of Justice Subpoenas a New York Times Reporter

The government wants to force James Risen to reveal a source at the CIA

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A New York Times reporter was served a subpoena Monday in an effort to force his disclosure of a source who gave him information about the CIA's plot to sabotage Iran's nuclear program. The reporter, James Risen, is going to resist the order, he tells the Times. “I am going to fight this subpoena,” Risen said. “I will always protect my sources, and I think this is a fight about the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.” Risen is being ordered to testify at the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling who's been charged with leaking information to the press, reports the Times. The work that Risen's coming under questioning for is a chapter in his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. Sterling allegedly told Risen about a CIA operation in 2000 designed to break Iran's nuclear program by having an undercover Russian scientist sell the Iranians a faulty nuclear triggering device designed to disrupt the system. Risen described the operation as a botched plan.

The Times describes Risen's subpoena as the latest crackdown on government leakers under the Obama administration. Other government whistler-blowers prosecuted in recent years include the former National Security Agency official Tom Drake, whose prosecution was recently chronicled in The New Yorker and 60 Minutes, FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz and the yet-to-be-charged Amy intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, whose travails were recently covered on PBS's Frontline.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.