Risen rules

In an email message over the weekend, Gabriel Schoenfeld writes to raise a question close to my heart:

Should journalists be free to choose which laws they are required to observe and which ones they can break at will? That, essentially, is what James Risen, Pulitzer-prize winning reporter at the New York Times, is demanding as the trial of alleged CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling draws near.

Is the Justice Department going to send Risen to jail if he refuses to testify as a key prosecution witness? Or will Eric Holder wither under the certain-to-come ferocious criticism from the press? The Sterling case is likely to turn out to be the most important and controversial of the many leak prosecutions that the Obama administration has brought. As I argue in “A Privileged Press?” in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard, at stake in the outcome are a couple of no small things, like our national security and the rule of law.

Mr. Schoenfeld, it should be noted, is the author of Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media and the Rule of Law, which I believe to be the best book out on the subject.


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