Tag Archives: James Risen

Jeffrey Sterling Gets 3 Years in Prison, David Petraeus No Prison Time For Worse Crime

Washington D.C.- Critics are voicing concerns over Monday’s ruling on CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling, questioning how the government can convict Sterling and give him a 3.5-year sentence compared to the light sentence that David Petraeus received for leaking information to his biographer and mistress.

Ben Swann speaks with Norman Solomon from the Institute for Public Accuracy about the case.

Sterling was given an additional two years of supervised release after he finishes his time in jail. The government had sought a prison term of more than 20 years for Sterling, but the judge told prosecutors at the sentencing that was too harsh a punishment.

The former CIA officer, who was fired in the early 2000s, was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA’s Iranian plot “Operation Merlin” in his 2006 book, ‘State of War’. The plan was designed to project a negative image of Iran’s nuclear program, learn more about it program and impair its progress. Flawed nuclear weapon schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename “Merlin.”




Justice Department Will No Longer Try To Compel James Risen To Reveal CIA Whistleblower

The Department of Justice has announced it will not subpoena and pursue criminal charges against New York Times journalist James Risen in an effort to force the writer to reveal a confidential source.

Free speech and civil liberties advocates have long lambasted the federal government for its coercion efforts against the veteran reporter, and are welcoming the move as a victory for journalistic freedom and government transparency.

In this video, RootsAction.org’s Norman Solomon tells Ben Swann why this victory is so important.

Freedom of The Press? Condoleezza Rice Asked NY Times To Stop CIA Story

Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson told 60 Minutes that she had a meeting with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who appealed to her to censor Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen from finishing an article concerning a CIA effort to disrupt Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Abramson called the meeting “surreal” and said that Rice never looked up, but read from a yellow legal notebook of reasons Risen’s story was a threat to national security.

“Her bottom line … was to make sure that Jim cease all reporting on this story, which was really an extraordinary request,” said Abramson.

“I regret it now, but I think that I leaned towards not publishing. It seemed, in the calculus of all of the major stories we were dealing with at that point, not worth it to me and I regret that decision now. I regret that I did not back a great reporter, Jim Risen, who I’ve worked with and who then worked for me and whose work I knew was solid as a rock,” she continued.

The New York Times killed the story.

Watch Abramson’s interview here.

Government intimidation is not stopping journalist James Risen from speaking out though. Risen’s new book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration may send him to jail.

Risen is being threatened to reveal his sources, identifying who told him about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program.

And, Risen isn’t talking.

“Never, no. Basically, the choice the government’s given me is: give up everything I believe or go to jail. So, I’m not going to talk,” he said to 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl on Sunday.

What Risen learned from those sources were the shadowy dealings of the NSA, which under the guise of listening to al Qaeda in the United States, listened and recorded anyone and everyone without warrants.

“What they were supposed to do was spy on foreigners, electronic eavesdropping of foreign people overseas. Basically, what I found out about it was, they had suddenly turned this giant eavesdropping operation at the NSA onto the American people, in secret. And that’s what the story was,” he explained.

Watch the entire interview here.

Obama Has Sentenced Whistleblowers to 10x the Jail Time of All Prior U.S. Presidents Combined

James Risen, an Investigative Journalist, and veteran New York Times Reporter, is now another name on the list of Journalists being prosecuted by the Obama Administration. Risen, whose reporting on warrantless wiretapping was published in 2006, is now facing jail time for the same material that earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

According to Democracy Now, Risen’s original story was supposed to be published in the New York Times prior to the Presidential election in 2004. However, the report was not published until 2006, because Risen was under “government pressure,” due to the fact that his article could have had an effect of the outcome between candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry.

The same accounts included in the report, were also detailed in a book authored by Risen, titled, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

Now, Risen could face time in prison if he refuses to testify at the trial of ex-CIA analyst Jeffrey Sterling. Prosecutors claim Sterling gave Risen information on the CIA’s role in interfering with Iran’s nuclear program.

In a 2006 article from Risen, which includes excerpts from his book, he addressed the fact that although President Bush had insisted Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, the country received blueprints to build a bomb in 2000, which came directly from the CIA.

According to Democracy Now, because of his revelations, Risen has been “pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations in a six-year leak investigation,” and he has vowed to “go to jail rather than testify at Sterling’s trial, which is set to begin in January.”

When it comes to prosecuting whistleblowers, the Obama Administration holds the record with eight, which is more than double the three who were prosecuted by previous presidents.

The three journalists who were indicted prior to Obama’s presidency were Daniel Ellsberg in 1973, Samuel Morrison in 1985, and Larry Franklin in 2005.

Since Obama’s time in office, those prosecuted include Thomas Drake and Shamai Leibowitz in 2010, Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, and Donal Sachtleben in 2013, and Stephen Kim in 2014. The cases of Jeffrey Sterling and Edward Snowden are currently pending.

In addition to increasing the number of journalists indicted, Obama has also increased the price each one is forced to pay.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), due to press freedom concerns, “sentencing in media leak cases has historically been relatively light,” with only 24 months of jail time for the three whistleblowers prosecuted from 1973 to 2005.

However, ACLU noted that Obama has “secured 526 months of prison time for national security leakers,” with the majority given to Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years.

Despite the fact that the odds of succeeding as a whistleblower, under the current administration, are not in his favor, James Risen told Democracy Now that he refuses to back down.

Risen said that “staying aggressive and continuing to investigate what the government is doing,” is the only thing the government respects, and is ultimately the only way to maintain press freedom.

I want to keep finding out the truth,” said Risen. “It’s the thing I’ve tried to do my whole life, is be a reporter and be a writer. It’s the only thing I know how to do.”