Reporter Compelled to Testify after DOJ Promises to Back Off Reporters

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press

This is awkward: One week after the Justice Department announced it was narrowing its targeting of reporters as it investigates leaks, one such reporter now faces prison after a court decided he should get no protection for using information the government says was leaked. James Risen, a New York Times reporter whose book State of War used information the DOJ thinks he got from former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, must testify in Sterling’s criminal trial, a three-judge panel decided on Friday. If he refuses, as he’s said he will, he faces prison. Risen will probably appeal the decision, experts told the Times, so he won’t be heading off to the clink just yet. But as the DOJ continues to prosecute the case, the whole scenario makes you wonder how serious it is about protecting journalists from itself.

Reporter Compelled to Testify in Leak Case