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CIA Vs James Risen : The First Amendment Prevails

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CIA Vs James Risen : The First Amendment Prevails

In 2006, New York Times reporter James Risen released his book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

The book chronicles the missteps and oversteps of U.S. intelligence, which range from illegal wiretapping and secret prisons, to a blatant misinformation campaign.

Since its release, the book has received great reviews from most of its readers. The Starred Review described State of War as:

“Lucid, balanced and brimming with surprises, this is a-to borrow a notorious phrase-slam dunk exposé of the CIA’s recent snafus.”

However, it is those snafus, and the information about them, that has government officials up in arms.

The Story of Jeffrey Sterling

In December 2010, Jeffrey Sterling, who worked for the CIA from May 1993 until he was fired in January 2002, was indicted on 10 counts, including six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and one count of obstruction of justice, for allegedly leaking classified information to Risen.

The information that really seemed to hit a nerve with government officials appears in Chapter 9, and describes a botched operation in Iran.

Since the former CIA agent’s indictment, Risen has been subpoenaed several times to reveal his source.

Prosecutors filed a motion on May 23 stating:

“His testimony is directly relevant to, and powerful evidence of, facts that are squarely at issue in this trial — including the identity of the perpetrator.”

Risen has kept his source of this information anonymous, and plans to keep it that way.

On July 29, 2011, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Va., decided to quash a portion of that federal subpoena.

Risen only must testify to information that is known and published, but will be allowed to keep his own source secret.

This seems more than fair, since the U.S. intelligence community itself often tries to keep its own “secrets” classified and out of many court cases when it is charged with wrongdoing.

Joel Kurtzberg, Risen’s attorney stated, “I think this is an important victory for the First Amendment and for investigative reporting everywhere.”

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of State of War.

Originally published on

Government Intelligence

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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