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James Risen: Obama the 'Greatest Enemy to Press Freedom,' Reporter Says

Image: James Risen: Obama the 'Greatest Enemy to Press Freedom,' Reporter Says
New York Times reporter James Risen. (Alejandro Davila Fragoso/MCT/Landov)

By    |   Monday, 18 Aug 2014 05:15 PM

New York Times reporter James Risen says President Barack Obama is "the greatest enemy to press freedom" as Risen battles the Department of Justice to keep a confidential source secret.

Speaking to The New York Times' Maureen Dowd, Risen called out Obama and his administration on the way reporters and whistle-blowers are being handled.

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Risen has been fighting a subpoena for years to testify before the DOJ to give up the name of a confidential source. The subpoena expired in 2009, but it was renewed, “kicking off (the administration’s) strange and awful aggression against reporters and whistle-blowers,” Dowd wrote.

While Attorney General Eric Holder has said reporters shouldn’t go to jail just for doing their jobs, that’s not how the situation is playing out.

Add in comments from Holder and Obama about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, with both men speaking out against the arrest of reporters who were there covering a teenager’s death, and Risen told Dowd the situation is “hypocritical.”

“A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin,” Risen told Dowd. “They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

Groups in support of press freedom have submitted petitions to the DOJ with more than 100,000 signatures, demanding that the government drop its action against Risen, McClatchy D.C. reported.

“There’s just no way to conduct aggressive investigating reporting without a reporter’s privilege of some kind, without confidential sources,” McClatchy quoted Risen from a National Press Club speech.

“There is an attitude shift that says it’s OK to go after reporters to get information to use in litigation. That is very dangerous and has a real potential for chilling free speech and free press and reporting on important issues,” Theodore Boutrous, a longtime First Amendment lawyer, told McClatchy.

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New York Times reporter James Risen says President Barack Obama is "the greatest enemy to press freedom" as Risen battles the Department of Justice to keep a confidential source secret.
james risen, obama, enemy, press, freedom
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2014-15-18
Monday, 18 Aug 2014 05:15 PM
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