Obama Administration: Drop Efforts to Force James Risen Testimony
The Supreme Court’s decision today not to take up James Risen’s case is deeply disappointing. The Obama Administration should prove its respect for freedom of the press by immediately dropping its efforts to force Risen to identify a confidential source.
Being able to promise sources that they will not be identified is crucial to reporters’ ability to do their jobs. If James Risen is forced to testify, whistleblowers with information about government wrongdoing may be more reluctant to talk to the press, knowing they will have no protection if they do. As a result, the public could receive far less information about some of the most pressing issues of our time—torture, surveillance, and privacy rights among them.
“The public has a right to know what the government does in its name. If the Obama Administration moves forward with this deeply misguided and damaging effort to compel Risen to identify his source, our ability to demand government accountability will be harmed, and our democracy will suffer as a result,” said Suzanne Nossel, PEN’s Executive Director.