REPORTER RISEN MOVES TO QUASH SUBPOENA IN LEAK CASE
Attorneys for New York Times reporter James Risen yesterday asked a court to quash a subpoena requiring him to testify in the case of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of leaking classified information to Mr. Risen.
"Because the information sought by the Government is protected by the reporter's privilege under the First Amendment and federal common law, and the subpoena is part of an effort to harass and retaliate against Mr. Risen for writing things that were critical of the government, Mr. Risen respectfully requests that the Court ... grant Mr. Risen's motion to quash the grand jury subpoena and/or for a protective order," attorney Peter K. Stackhouse wrote (pdf).
Mr. Risen himself submitted a lengthy affidavit (pdf) reflecting on his own career, the function of investigative reporting in the national security domain, and the stakes involved in the Sterling case subpoena.
"I take very seriously my obligations as a journalist when reporting about matters that may be classified or may implicate national security concerns," he wrote. "I do not always publish all information that I have, even if it is newsworthy and true. If I believe that the publication of the information would cause real harm to our national security, I will not publish a piece. I have found, however, that all too frequently, the government claims that publication of certain information will harm national security, when in reality, the government's real concern is about covering up its own wrongdoing or avoiding embarrassment."
His investigative reporting has made him a target for government retribution, Mr. Risen wrote.