Federal prosecutors had wanted James Risen's testimony
because they think information in his 2006 book "State of War"
was leaked by former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is facing
trial. In 2010, Sterling was indicted on 10 charges relating to
Risen's book, including unauthorized retention and communication
of national defense information.
The source, who is not authorized to discuss the matter
publicly, said Holder has ruled out forcing Risen to disclose
his contact but has not made a final decision on whether the
Justice Department may ask Risen to testify in Sterling's trial
on several other questions.
A federal judge has given the Justice Department until next
Tuesday to make a decision on its efforts to force Risen to
Representatives for the New York Times and Risen could not
immediately be reached for comment.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by
Risen, leaving intact a July 2013 ruling by the Richmond,
Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said Risen
must testify. The appeals court ruled that there is no
"reporter's privilege" under the First Amendment's guarantee of
freedom of speech, meaning journalists do not receive special
Holder earlier this year told a group of media executives that
no reporter would ever be jailed while he is in office for
carrying out news gathering duties, according to a Justice
Department summary of the meeting.
(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing
by Ken Wills)
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