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Obama denounced as 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/18/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New York Times reporter James Risen faces jail time over refusing to name sources

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New York Times reporter James Risen now faces jail time over his refusal to reveal a source. Risen also refuses to testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets.

In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, James Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, James Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/18/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: James Risen, president Obama, freedom of the press


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Risen, speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, accused Obama of aggressively pursuing journalists who report on stories that reflect poorly on the federal government.

Risen recently wrote of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has since been pressuring Risen to testify and name the confidential source of the account, contained in his 2006 book "State of War."

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Risen failed an attempt to have the Supreme Court review an order for him to testify. Risen has acknowledged that he has exhausted all his legal options against the Justice Department's pursuit of him under the controversial Espionage Act.

In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New York Times reporter James Risen now faces jail time over his refusal to reveal a source. Risen also refuses to testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets.


Risen would be the first journalist to go to prison for failing to divulge sources since 2005. Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller at that time was jailed for contempt of court, after refusing to testify about a source before a federal grand jury.

"I was nervous for a long time, but they've been after me for six years so now I try to ignore it," Risen told Dowd.

Risen's problems began under the administration of President George W Bush. The Justice Department tried to prosecute him under the Espionage Act for his 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning scoop about the illegal wiretapping of American citizens after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Bush administration had arrested Jeffrey Sterling, whom Dowd on Sunday referred to as a "disillusioned" former CIA operative, and accused him of being the source of Risen's leak about Iran. The Obama administration continues to attempt to force Risen to testify against Sterling and name him as his main source.

Risen has taken exception to statements from Obama and  Attorney General Eric Holder about supporting press freedom - including condemnation of the police in Ferguson, Missouri, for this week arresting journalists reporting on riots there.

Obama and Holder said journalists should not be arrested or harassed for doing their jobs and covering "a story that needs to be told".

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