James Risen, the award-winning national security reporter for the New York Times who has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors to testify in a case against a CIA whistleblower, accused the government of attempting to intimidate him and his sources in an affidavit he filed to quash the subpoena.
“I take very seriously my obligations as a journalist when reporting about matters that may be classified or may implicate national security concerns,” Risen wrote. “I do not always publish all information that I have, even if it is newsworthy and true. If I believe that the publication of the information would cause real harm to our national security, I will not publish a piece.”
Risen has been called to testify against Jeffrey Sterling, who the government says gave Risen classified information that he used in his book “State of War.” The government has argued that Risen could testify about his previous relationship with Sterling without violating any confidentiality agreement with the former CIA agent.
But he wrote that he had found that the government “all too frequently” claims disclosure of certain information would harm national security, “when in reality, the government’s real concern is about covering up its own wrongdoing or avoiding embarrassment.”