Judge To Holder: You Have One Week To Decide On NYT Reporter’s Subpoena

AP

Attorney General Eric Holder was given a tight deadline on Tuesday to make a decision whether to move forward with the longstanding subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen.

As Politico reported, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema gave the Justice Department until next Tuesday “to commit to a position on whether it will be seeking Mr. Risen’s testimony” in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

Prosecutors allege that Sterling provided Risen with classified information that the reporter used in his 2006 book.

The Bush administration subpoenaed Risen in 2008 to identify a source who gave the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist information about a botched U.S. effort to damage Iran’s nuclear program. Risen detailed the operation in his book, “State of War,” after the Times passed on the story.

The newspaper’s former executive editor, Jill Abramson, said in October that she regrets her decision not to run Risen’s reporting.

Holder has vowed that no reporter will go to jail as long as he’s attorney general, and in September he said he would not seek jail time for Risen.

Nevertheless, Risen, who has repeatedly said he will not identify his sources, has been kept waiting. The Supreme Court rejected his petition in June to protect his sources.

To that end, Brinkema said it’s time for the DOJ to make a decision.

“Since June 2,2014, the United States has had over six months to decide whether it will subpoena James Risen to testify at this trial,” Brinkema wrote in her order.

Risen has been extremely critical of the current administration. Earlier this year, he described President Obama as “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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