Public Comment

James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Hero , is Threatened with Jail for Protecting Source

Jagjit Singh
Friday October 24, 2014 - 11:18:00 AM

In a determined effort to punish James Risen, the New York Times investigative reporter, the Bush and now the Obama administration has threatened him with imprisonment unless he reveals his source who provided him details of the massive illegal warrantless wiretapping conducted by the National Security Agency. This case will undoubtedly become the most significant challenge to press freedom in decades. 

In 2006 Risen won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting and has more recently published a book, “State of War” which provides startling details of the long dark history of the CIA and the Bush administration. The government accuses the CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, of giving Risen classified information about the agency’s role in disrupting Iran’s nuclear program, which Risen argues effectively gave Iran a blueprint for designing a bomb.  

In what appears to be a crude effort to silence Risen to prevent the botched ‘Sterling Affair” coming to light, the Obama administration has intensified its effort to compel Risen to reveal his source. In a gesture of defiance, Risen responded to the Justice Department highhandedness by releasing another book, titled "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War." He stated that "you cannot have aggressive investigative reporting in America without confidential sources — and without aggressive investigative reporting, we can’t really have a democracy." This may prove to be a landmark case which may eventually determine the future of journalism.