DOJ Highlights Media Subpoenas From 2014

     WASHINGTON (CN) – In its first annual report on its interactions with the media, the Department of Justice highlighted its attempts at forcing testimony from New York Times reporter James Risen.
     The four-part report released late Friday rings in at just over three pages.
     It is the result of former Attorney General Eric Holder’s pledge last year to publicize “data regarding the department’s use of certain law enforcement tools to obtain information from, or records of, members of the news media; and regarding questioning, arresting, or charging members of the news media,” the report states.
     Risen’s dealings in the Eastern District of Virginia are the first item of the 2014 report.
     It was Risen’s 2006 book “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration” that led federal prosecutors to charge former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling with unlawful disclosure of classified information, among other charges.
     The government claimed that Sterling had leaked information to Risen about a top-secret CIA mission to thwart the Iranian nuclear program because he wanted to get back at the agency for firing him.
     Attempts to compel Risen’s testimony delayed Sterling’s trial for years, but the government dropped the pursuit after the reporter gave limited pretrial testimony and managed to convict Sterling with other evidence this past January.
     Prosecutors did call Condoleezza Rice to testify against Sterling, and the former national security adviser noted that the program Sterling divulged was among the few options that the United States had to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
     Last month, President Barack Obama reached a comprehensive agreement with Iran to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
     The second item on the Justice Department’s report Monday is its contemplation of subpoenaing a journalist for the terrorism trial of Khalid al-Fawwaz.
     Media reports last year identified the witness in question as “60 Minutes” news producer Richard Bonin.
     The DOJ says it wanted the producer to testify about anti-American and anti-Semitic statements al-Fawwaz made to him, but that prosecutors ultimately decided not to issue the subpoena when the producer said he would contest it.
     A federal jury in Manhattan convicted al-Fawwaz this past February for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
     The New York Times reported that Bonin never spoke to anyone from the prosecutor’s office about the subpoena, and that CBS attempted to persuade the DOJ not to subpoena Bonin.
     Another point on the government’s report describes the subpoenas issued to CNN and another media outlet for their audio and video recordings of the finish line at the 2013 Boston Marathon, where Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev set off homemade bombs.
     The news outlets “expressly agreed to provide the requested recordings,” according to the report.
     In another case, the DOJ authorized a subpoena for materials relating to threats made against a reporter by William White, the report said.

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