Journalism

Pulitzer Winners Call for End of DOJ Pursuit of Journalist's Testimony, Not That the Feds Will Care

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James Risen, still currently not in jail.
"Meet the Press"

Given the way the Obama administration has treated journalists, they might be better off getting celebrities to speak out. Nevertheless, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has gotten 14 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists to speak out against the administration's terrible treatment of New York Times reporter and author James Risen. The Department of Justice has been trying to force Risen to give the name of a leaker who provided information to him that detailed the government's effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear program for a book. The government believes the source to be Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official, and he's one of the guys the administration has targeted under the Espionage Act.

The Supreme Court has declined to get involved in the case, so Risen's supporters are left with little but to try to pressure the administration and Department of Justice to let the matter drop. Here's what two-time Pulitzer winner David Barstow (also of The New York Times) had to say:

"Enough is enough. The relentless and by all appearances vindictive effort by two administrations to force Jim Risen into betraying his sources has already done substantial and lasting damage to journalism in the United States. I've felt the chill first hand. Trusted sources in Washington are scared to talk by telephone, or by email, or even to meet for coffee, regardless of whether the subject touches on national security or not. My fellow investigative reporters commiserate about how we're being forced to act like drug dealers, taking extreme precautions to avoid leaving any digital breadcrumbs about where we've been and who we've met. If you value a vibrant free press, you want the Jim Risens of the world out hunting for the toughest truths about how power is used and abused. You don't want them rotting in jail cells. Do we really want to be that kind of country?"

Depends on who you ask. But the only answer that matters is the one from the guys with the guns and the prisons.

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