James Risen, a journalist for The New York Times who won the Pulitzer Prize and author of the book entitled State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, is required to testify in court in connection with the identity of former CIA operations officer Jeffrey Alexander Sterling as the source for his book.
According to Bloomberg, the United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia overturned the ruling of the a lower court judge who found that James Risen is protected by the First Amendment. The judges in the court of appeals voted 2-1.
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James Risen fingered as only credible source of perpetrated offenses
Based on the majority opinion of the court, U.S. Circuit Judge William Traxler stated, “He is the only one who can identify Sterling as the perpetrator of the charged offenses, and he is the only one who can effectively address Sterling’s expected efforts to point the finger at others.”
James Risen fought subpoenas
In 2008, James Risen fought the subpoena compelling him to reveal the source of the information for a specific chapter in his book in an effort to keep his commitment of confidentiality.
The United States government filed a lawsuit against Sterling for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. He was accused of leaking information regarding a CIA covert operation called “Operation Merlin” to delay the nuclear weapons program of Iran by supplying flawed plans for nuclear weapons.
James Risen caught up in dramatic Espionage Act
James Risen’s connection with Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is in question. Sterling was one of the seven Americans facing charges for violating the Espionage Act under the administration of President Barack Obama. The defendants are accused of leaking secret information to journalists. The law prohibits intelligence officials from revealing any national security information to anyone who is not authorized to receive such information.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act of 1917. The law was used against some of the most damaging double agents in the history of the United States. Some of the CIA agents convicted in violation of the law were Aldrich Ames who was found guilty spying for Russia, and Robert Hansen, a former FBI agent who was convicted for the same offense in 2001.
Bloomberg LP, parent company of Bloomberg News, was one of news organization filing court papers on behalf of James Risen.