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Tag: New York Times

FBI Agent: No Direct Evidence Ex-CIA Officer Leaked Info to New York Times

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An FBI agent testified Wednesday that there is no direct evidence that an ex-CIA officer leaked classified information to a New York Times reporter, the Associated Press reports

But the agent said CIA man Jeffrey Sterling was often in contact with journalist James Risen as prosecutors finished up their case based on phone and email contacts. Prosecutors recently declined to force Risen to testify.

Sterling is charged with leaking information about a classified mission that Risen wrote about in his 2006 book “State of War.”

Sterling has long denied being the source.

FBI Chief: New York Times Gave Platform to Terrorists by Quoting Anonymous Source

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 
 
The New York Times’ decision to quote an anonymous source from a terrorist group about the bloody attacks last week in France was in poor taste and provided a platform for violent extremists, FBI Director James Comey said in a sharply worded letter to the Times, the newspaper reports. 

The front page story Thursday quoted a member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula about the timing of the attacks.

“Your decision to grant anonymity to a spokesperson for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula so he could clarify the role of his group in assassinating innocents, including a wounded police officer, and distinguish it from the assassination of other innocents in Paris in the name of another group of terrorists, is both mystifying and disgusting,” Mr. Comey said in a letter to The Times.

He added: “I fear you have lost your way and urge you to reconsider allowing your newspaper to be used by those who have murdered so many and work every day to murder more.”

Michael Slackman, the international managing editor for The New York Times, stood behind the decision to use anonymity.

“The individual quoted anonymously has for several weeks provided accurate insight and information into the thinking and actions of AQAP,” Mr. Slackman said. “The material was generally central to the news, in one case noting that Al Qaeda and the Islamic State had not jointly planned the attacks in Paris.”

Defiant NYT Reporter James Risen Dodges Testimony in CIA Leak Case After Years of Wrangling

Reporter James Risen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James Risen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who pledged to go to jail before revealing a government source, won’t be called to testify in the case of the former CIA officer suspected of being the leak, the Washington Post reports.

Since the ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was charged with leaking the information to Risen, the New York Times reporter was the star witness.

It’s unclear whether enough evidence exists to convict Sterling without Risen’s testimony.

The 2010 case has stalled for years as Risen fought efforts to subpoena him.

The information gathered from the source was used in Risen’s 2006 book, “State of War,” which documented what Risen depicted as a heavily flawed effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapon.

Prosecutors announced their decision not to pursue Risen’s testimony in a court filing Monday.

Justice Department Won’t Force New York Times Reporter James Risen to Reveal Source

Reporter James Risen

By Pete Williams
NBC News

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder has decided against forcing a reporter for The New York Times to reveal the identity of a confidential source, according to a senior Justice Department official.

The reporter, James Risen, has been battling for years to stop prosecutors from forcing him to name his source for a book that revealed a CIA effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

The government wanted Risen’s testimony in the trial of a former CIA official, Jeffrey Sterling, accused of leaking classified information.

But now, according to the Justice Department official, Holder has directed that Risen must not be required to reveal “information about the identity of his source.”

To read more click here.

Federal Judge Sets Deadline on DOJ’s Decision to Subpoena NYT Reporter

Reporter James Risen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A federal judge has given the Justice Department until Tuesday to decide whether to subpoena New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against a CIA operative who allegedly leaked classified information to the journalist, the Huffington Post reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema issued the order Tuesday.

Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling is accused of supplying Risen with classified information that was used for the journalist’s book, “State of War: The Secret History of the Cia and the Bush Administration.”

The book sparked the legal battle.

But now the judge is growing impatient and wants a decision on whether Risen will be ordered to testify.

“Since June 2, 2014, the United States has had over six months to decide whether it will subpoena James Risen to testify at this trial, which is scheduled to begin Monday, January 12, 2015,” the order read. “Because Mr. Risen’s presence or absence at the trial will have a significant impact on how the parties present their case, a decision about Mr. Risen must be made sufficiently before trial to enable the parties to prepare adequately.”

New York Times: FBI Deception Goes Too Far in Investigating Gambling Ring

New York Times 
Editorial Board

If your Internet service goes down and you call a technician, can you be certain that the person who arrives at your door is actually there to restore service? What if he is a law enforcement agent in disguise who has disabled the service so he can enter your home to look around for evidence of a crime?

Americans should not have to worry about scenarios like this, but F.B.I. agents used this ruse during a gambling investigation in Las Vegas in July. Most disturbing of all, the Justice Department is now defending the agents’ actions in court.

During the 2014 World Cup, the agents suspected that an illegal gambling ring was operating out of several hotel rooms at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, but they apparently did not have enough evidence to get a court-issued warrant. So they enlisted the hotel’s assistance in shutting off the Internet to those rooms, prompting the rooms’ occupants to call for help. Undercover agents disguised as repairmen appeared at the door, and the occupants let them in. While pretending to fix the service, the agents saw men watching soccer matches and looking at betting odds on their computers.

There is nothing illegal about visiting sports-betting websites, but the agents relied primarily on that evidence to get their search warrant. What they failed to tell the judge was that they had turned off the Internet service themselves.

Of course, law enforcement authorities regularly rely on sting operations and other deceptive tactics, and courts usually allow them if the authorities reasonably believe they will find evidence of a crime. Without that suspicion, the Constitution prohibits warrantless searches of peoples’ residences, including hotel rooms. The authorities can jump that hurdle if a home’s occupant consents to let them enter, as when an undercover officer is invited into a home to buy drugs.

The Las Vegas case fails on both counts, according to a lawyer for the defendants. Although one of the defendants in the case, Wei Seng Phua, a Malaysian citizen, had been arrested in Macau earlier this year for running an illegal sports-gambling business, the agents did not have probable cause to believe anything illegal was happening in two of the rooms they searched. And a federal prosecutor had initially warned the agents not to use trickery because of the “consent issue.” In fact, a previous ruse by the agents had failed when a person in one of the rooms refused to let them in.

To read more click here.

14 Pulitzer Prize Winners Ask Justice Department Not to Jail Reporter

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen Pulitzer Prize winners urged the Justice Department on Monday to stop trying to force New York Times reporter and author James Risen to identify a confidential source, the US News reports.

Risen has said he’d go to jail before testifying at the trial of former CIA employee Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of providing a tip for Risen’s book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”

Prosecutors allege Risen divulged a CIA scheme to provide flawed nuclear weapons designs to Iran.

Fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners issued a statement in support of Risen.

“Enough is enough,” said three-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow of The New York Times. “The relentless and by all appearances vindictive effort by two administrations to force Jim Risen into betraying his sources has already done substantial and lasting damage to journalism in the United States. I’ve felt the chill firsthand. Trusted sources in Washington are scared to talk by telephone, or by email, or even to meet for coffee, regardless of whether the subject touches on national security or not.”

Rem Rieder: Leave New York Times Reporter Jim Risen Alone

Reporter James Risen

By Rem Rieder
USA Today

The New York Times ran a story the other day about a dilemma facing the Obama administration: whether to pursue its efforts to force Times reporter James Risen to testify in its prosecution of a former CIA agent suspected of leaking classified material.

If it does so, it’s clear that Risen will refuse to violate his promise of confidentiality to his source and face the prospect of going to jail, reinforcing the administration’s image as no friend of the First Amendment or powerful investigative reporting. If it backs off, it clearly would disappoint the prosecutors in the case of Jeffrey Sterling and those in the intelligence community who relish the administration’s unprecedented zeal in pursuing those who leak classified information.

Well, I can make this simple: Team Obama, leave James Risen alone. Don’t turn legitimate public-interest journalism into a criminal activity.

To read complete column click here.