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'Times' Reporter To Challenge Subpoena In Leak Case

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'Times' Reporter To Challenge Subpoena In Leak Case

Law

'Times' Reporter To Challenge Subpoena In Leak Case

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Today a reporter for the New York Times will ask a court to throw out a subpoena from the Justice Department. He doesn't want to testify against a CIA agent who's accused of leaking classified information. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports on the government's ongoing battle against leaks.

CARRIE JOHNSON: New York Times reporter Jim Risen has a history of digging for government secrets and finding pay dirt. Risen helped expose the government's warrantless wiretapping program. And he ventured into the shadows again to write a history of the CIA in the Bush years. That book has landed him in the Justice Department's cross hairs. Prosecutors say it includes material from a former CIA agent, Jeffrey Sterling. He's getting ready to go to trial for disclosing classified information.

Ms. LUCY DALGLISH (Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press): My name is Lucy Dalglish. I'm the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

JOHNSON: Dalglish says she's talked with Jim Risen about the case.

Ms. DALGLISH: His stance is, he's not going to identify his confidential sources. Period.

JOHNSON: Prosecutors have floated something of a compromise. They want Risen to testify that he interviewed Jeffrey Sterling, who's accused in the leak case, on another subject. But Risen hasn't jumped at that idea. And that's setting up a showdown. A judge could throw out the subpoena, embarrassing the Justice Department; or the judge could uphold the subpoena, a decision that could send Risen to jail instead of the witness stand.

Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.

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