Court declines first amendment case
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene on behalf of a New York Times reporter who has been subpoenaed and could face jail time for not identifying a confidential source. The court turned down requests from reporter James Risen and a host of media organizations, including that it overturn a lower court order and find that reporters are protected by the Constitution from testifying about their sources. The justices offered no reason for turning down the case.
Federal prosecutors want Risen to testify in the case of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA analyst, who they believe gave Risen information for his book “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,” In that 2006 book, Risen detailed classified information about the CIA’s efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
A district judge said Risen did not have to testify. But a U.S. Court of Appeals panel later disagreed. The majority said that under Supreme Court precedent, the First Amendment does not protect reporters from revealing who supplied them with unauthorized leaks.