A month after a seven-year legal fight with the Justice Department came to an end, New York Times reporter James Risen used Twitter late Tuesday night to assail Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.
Holder had delivered a speech at the National Press Club earlier in the day in which he defended the Obama administration's record on cracking down on those who leak information from the federal government.
The Justice Department has brought more charges in leak cases than have been brought in all previous administrations combined.
Given Holder's speech today, I repeat: The Obama Administration is the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.— James Risen (@JamesRisen) February 18, 2015
This is Eric Holder's true legacy on press freedom: "There is no First Amendment "reporter's privilege." From DOJ brief in my case.— James Risen (@JamesRisen) February 18, 2015
I plan to spend the rest of my life fighting to undo damage done to press freedom in the United States by Barack Obama and Eric Holder.— James Risen (@JamesRisen) February 18, 2015
Requests for comment from the Justice Department and the White House were not immediately returned.
But in response to one tweet, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Holder, said his boss was simply following the law.
.@JamesRisen That's what the law says, Jim. Urge Congress to pass the media shield bill and it will be different.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) February 18, 2015
For much of the last year, journalists around the country have advocated for Congress to pass a federal media shield law. Two proposed measures would provide national reporters privilege while carving out an exception to let the federal government subpoena journalists in order to prevent a national security threat. However, those measures have gained little traction in Congress.
An ex-CIA official who was accused of disclosing details of a covert operation to Risen was convicted last month. Jeffrey Sterling was charged with nine felony counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information.Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times