Obama attacks rights of the free press. What is he doing?
CHMOND, Va. -- The Obama administration
Friday morning continued its headlong attack on the right of reporters
to protect their confidential sources in leak investigations.
Before a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, a Department of Justice lawyer argued that New York Times reporter
James Risen should be forced to testify in the trial of former CIA
agent Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with leaking classified
information to Risen about a botched plot against the Iranian
Rather than arguing the specifics of the case, DOJ appellate lawyer
Robert A. Parker asserted that there is no reporter's privilege when a
journalist receives an illegal leak of national security secrets.
When Judge Robert Gregory asked Parker to explain why the public's
interest in a free press was outweighed by the specific circumstances in
this case, Parker declined.
"I don’t think there would be a balancing test because there's no
privilege in the first place," Parker said. "The salient point is that
Risen is the only eyewitness to this crime."
Gregory told Parker that the Supreme Court's Branzburg v. Hayes
decision -- which Parker cited as precedent for forcing journalists to
testify when they had witnessed a crime -- involved the witnessing of a
different crime, "not the disclosure itself."
Parker said what Risen did was "analogous" to a journalist receiving
drugs from a confidential source, and then refusing to testify about it.
"You think so?" Gregory asked, clearly unconvinced.
"The beneficiary of the privilege is the public … the people's right
to know," Gregory said. "We need to know what the government is doing,"
If Huffington Post is concerned you know it must be bad. They are big Obama supporters.
See Votes by State
News & Politics