Week In Review With Daniel Schorr This week, a disastrous explosion aboard an oil rig left 11 workers missing and presumed dead and caused a catastrophic oil spill. Congress started debating financial regulation, and the Justice Department issued a subpoena against Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen. Host Scott Simon reviews the week in the news with NPR Senior News Analyst Dan Schorr.
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Week In Review With Daniel Schorr

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Week In Review With Daniel Schorr

Week In Review With Daniel Schorr

Week In Review With Daniel Schorr

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This week, a disastrous explosion aboard an oil rig left 11 workers missing and presumed dead and caused a catastrophic oil spill. Congress started debating financial regulation, and the Justice Department issued a subpoena against Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen. Host Scott Simon reviews the week in the news with NPR Senior News Analyst Dan Schorr.

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Hello, Dan.

DAN SCHORR: Hi, Scott.

SIMON: And let's begin, Dan, with this disastrous explosion aboard an oil rig that left 11 workers missing and presumed dead.

SCHORR: Right.

SIMON: And it's caused a catastrophic oil spill. We've got millions of gallons of oil spreading throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

SCHORR: Right.

SIMON: Some have already landed on the Gulf Coast. This is not long, of course, after President Obama announced the authorization of offshore drilling.

SCHORR: That's right, which I have a feeling is being put on hold now and may be on hold for some time.

SIMON: Well, tell us how you think this might affect national policy.

SCHORR: Which is to say that everybody remembers that the administration was criticized on Katrina for reacting too slowly. They didn't react slowly this time. And there are several different government departments involved, all working together very fast and so on.

SCHORR: let nobody ever say that we didn't react speedily.

SIMON: Congress has started debating financial regulation.

SCHORR: Yes.

SIMON: A lot of Republicans in Congress had hoped not to have that debate now. What happened?

SCHORR: And after it had gone on for a few days, they thought they'd better retire as gracefully as they could, because this country wants something done about Wall Street and regulation.

SIMON: Let me ask you about something that came up that in a sense you have a personal interest in - you personally, but all news organizations perhaps. Justice Department issued a subpoena this week against James Risen.

SCHORR: Oh yes.

SIMON: Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter who refused to testify about confidential sources he used in a 2006 book that included descriptions of covert CIA operations. It's a case that began at the end of the Bush administration.

SCHORR: That's right.

SIMON: There are freedom of speech and freedom of the press advocates who complain that President Obama - despite protestations to the contrary - is simply ratifying the Bush policy by going into court.

SCHORR: I recall this very vividly, because back in 1975 I was asked for a source on a report on the CIA which I had, couldn't give it, and was called before the House Ethics Committee, which demanded to know my source. And I was not able to give my source, citing the First Amendment. And they threatened me with a couple of years in jail and maybe a $10,000 fine. But in the end they went in and deliberated and decided by a vote of six to five only not to send me to jail. So when you talk about trying to protect sources, I'm very, very up on that.

SIMON: And why is it important to the Obama administration?

SCHORR: That's the eternal struggle between the bureaucrat and the journalist.

SIMON: Finally this. Ukraine this week - members of parliament ratified an agreement to renew Russia's lease of a Ukrainian port for another 25 years. But next time you think that Republicans and Democrats can't get along in our Congress, I want you to recall the scene this week in the Ukrainian parliament.

SCHORR: But the result of that was that Ukraine gets Russian gas, and I guess maybe an umbrella is worth it.

SIMON: Thanks very much, Dan.

SCHORR: Sure thing.

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