Justice Backs Less Protective Ruling on Reporter Privilege : The Two-Way : NPR
In a case closely watched by the intelligence community and the media, the Justice Department urged a federal appeals court on Monday to leave in place a court ruling that gives reporters little protection from testifying against their sources in criminal prosecutions.
Federal prosecutors told the Virginia-based U.S . Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that its ruling earlier this year in the case of former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling should stand. Sterling’s accused of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, whom prosecutors describe as the “only eyewitness to the crimes charged in the indictment.”
Risen’s been compelled to testify under orders that began under George W. Bush and continued into the Barack Obama administration. But his lawyers, citing new Justice Department guidelines that give reporters more protection from subpoenas, have pressed both Attorney General Eric Holder and the full 4th Circuit Appeals court to take another look at the issue. Risen’s position has attracted support and friend of the court briefs from media coalitions that include NPR.
But the Justice Department, for now at least, has refused to budge.