Eric Holder: ‘No reporter is going to go to jail.’

USA Today

n what could have implications for a high-stakes leak prosecution, Attorney General Eric Holder promised Tuesday that “no reporter” would be jailed for doing his or her work.

Holder’s remarks to a media advisory group come as the Obama administration has pressed New York Times reporter James Risen to identify a confidential source for a 2006 book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

Risen’s testimony is demanded in the prosecution of former CIA analyst Jeffrey Sterling. The case centers on classified information about an agency effort to obstruct Iran’s nuclear program that appeared in Risen’s book.

“As long as I’m attorney general, no reporter is going to go to jail for doing his or her job,” Holder told the news group formed last year in wake of disclosures about the Justice Department’s tactics in seeking information from journalists in leak investigations.

After the session, the Justice Department characterized Holder’s remarks as a reiteration of his “longtime assertion that, as long as he is in office, no journalist will be prosecuted or go to prison for performing ordinary news-gathering activities.”

Holder and other Justice officials who attended the session declined to specifically address Risen’s case.

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