Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed New York Times reporter James Risen to testify at the trial of a former CIA operative who allegedly leaked classified information that appeared in Risen’s 2006 book.
The trial of Jeffrey Sterling, set to begin in September, is one of five leak cases brought so far by the Obama administration, which has aggressively sought to stem the flow of government secrets to the press and public.
Risen said he would fight the subpoena, issued late Monday by prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia. “I will always protect my sources,” he said, “and I think this is a fight about the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.”
A similar subpoena to compel Risen to appear before a grand jury late last year was quashed by U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in Alexandria. Sterling was indicted in January.
The string of cases, all brought under the 1917 Espionage Act, threatens to undermine the public’s right to be informed on legitimate matters of government policy, according to advocates for the press and transparency issues.