ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling told a federal judge that that the four subpoenas he wants to serve the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence do not constitute what prosecutors call “a fishing expedition.”
Sterling faces prosecution for allegedly leaking classified national defense information to New York Times reporter James Risen.
He hopes to subpoena the committee and former staff members Donald Stone, Vicki Divoll and Lorenzo Goco, regarding the national defense program that he allegedly discussed with Risen, unauthorized.
Responding to the government’s opposition of the subpoenas, Sterling said the discovery would be moot if the committee voluntarily releases the information.
“Given the timing of Mr. Sterling’s lawful disclosure to Mr. Stone and Ms. Divoll and Mr. Risen’s apparent unlawful receipt of information about this program, documents pertaining to Mr. Sterling’s lawful disclosure, what SSCI staff did with that information, and contacts between SSCI staff and Mr. Risen are critical to potential defenses that Mr. Sterling may pursue at trial,” Sterling’s attorneys said.
Risen’s 2006 best seller, “State of War,” reported numerous allegations of CIA mismanagement under several presidential administrations. Sterling argues that the classified information in Risen’s book could have come from Stone, Divoll or Goco, and the government ruled them out as Risen’s sources exclusively on the basis of their individual statements.
“While the government has previously represented to this court that it investigated and eliminated potential sources other than Mr. Sterling, it would appear that this elimination was based on nothing more than cursory interviews and summary denials, without any examination of the documentary record,” Sterling’s response states. “Having never itself reviewed the complete documentary record, the government now seeks to preclude Mr. Sterling from obtaining access to the relevant documents.”
Prosecutors called Sterling’s subpoena requests “a fishing expedition.”
Last month, the court limited a subpoena served on Risen, who will not be forced to give up his sources at Sterling’s trial.