James Risen is not just a phenomenal reporter, he is also an extremely courageous and honorable American patriot. His case is a very disturbing one, and it has justifiably received a great deal of national attention. In a nutshell, the Obama Administration is threatening the pulitzer prize winning journalist with prison unless he reveals the source behind one of his stories. This is something no journalist worth his salt would ever do, but the fact our own government would resort to threats of incarceration in order to instill fear in the press to prevent it from doing its job is quite telling and extremely dangerous.
Mr. Risen understands this danger more than just about anyone else, which is why he has previously stated he is prepared to go to jail in order to defend the First Amendment from Obama, who he calls “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”
I’ve covered Risen’s struggle in the past…….
Now the Guardian gets us up to speed on his latest thoughts:
The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.
Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government.
Obama and Holder said journalists should not be arrested or harassed for doing their jobs and covering “a story that needs to be told”. In May, Holder said of the Sterling case: “No reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.” Risen, however, could be behind bars within weeks.
Dowd asked Risen how the Obama administration could use the Espionage Act to imprison reporters and whistleblowers while not acting on the acknowledged use of torture by the CIA on terrorism suspects and the same agency spying on the US Senate.
“It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistleblowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”
Last week, groups campaigning for press freedom handed a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the Justice Department, urging it to drop the case against Risen.
“It’s surreal to be caught up in a news story instead of writing about one,” he told Dowd.