While others debate whether bloggers — even those who traffic in questionably obtained electonics — deserve the same protections as journalists, Times reporter James Risen has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about the anonymous sources for his book, State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration. The paper called the order a “rare step” from Attorney General Holder.
“He intends to honor his commitment of confidentiality to his source or sources,” Mr. Kurtzberg [Risen’s lawyer] said. “We intend to fight this subpoena.”
The subpoena comes two weeks after the indictment of a formerofficial on charges apparently arising from an investigation into a series of Baltimore Sun articles that exposed technical failings and cost overruns of several agency programs that cost billions of dollars.
The lead prosecutor in both investigations is William Welch II. He formerly led the Justice Department’s public integrity unit, but left that position in October after its botched prosecution of Senatorof Alaska.
We’re not surprised that the author of a book called The Secret History doesn’t plan to tell a grand jury where he got his information. We would be surprised, however, if he paid anyone a dime to talk.