Tags: Barack Obama | James Risen | New York Times | reporter | Barack Obama

Gen. Hayden: 'Conflicted' in James Risen Case

By    |   Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 08:49 PM

Gen. Mike Hayden, the former National Security Agency chief, isn't convinced that charges should be brought against a New York Times reporter who uncovered a covert military operation against Iran.

James Risen faces possible jail time if he does not reveal the sources who leaked information to him regarding a mission that targeted Iran's nuclear weapons program. But during an interview with "60 Minutes" that will air Sunday, Hayden said he's "conflicted" over how the U.S. government should proceed with Risen.

"I am, like America, conflicted. You’re talking about ruining lives over things about which people are acting on principle, so I'd be very careful about it," Hayden said. "I don't understand the necessity to pursue Jim."

Risen was subpoenaed to reveal his sources, but he refused and fought the mandate through the court system until he reached the Supreme Court. But the nation's highest court rejected his petition, leaving Risen with two choices: Give up your sources, or face jail time.

Risen has continually said he would rather go to jail instead of name the anonymous sources he used for his 2006 book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," because that would compromise the freedom of the press.

"I'm conflicted. I know the damage that [the leak to Risen has] done. But I also know the free press necessity in a free society," Hayden said. "And it actually might be that I think, no, [Risen is] wrong … America will suffer because of that story.

"But then I have to think about, so how do I redress that? And if the method of redressing that actually harms the broad freedom of the press, that’s still wrong. The government needs to be strong enough to keep me safe, but I don’t want it so strong that it threatens my liberties."

A subpoena against Risen expired in 2009 but the Obama administration renewed it a year later, which has caused the reporter to be very critical of Obama's actions toward the press.

"A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin," Risen said recently. "They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistleblowers. But he does. He's the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation."

Last weekend while speaking at Colby College in Maine, Risen continued to press the issue.

"I think Obama hates the press. I think he doesn’t like the press and he hates leaks," Risen said. "I would go to jail to protect the confidentiality of my sources."

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Gen. Mike Hayden, the former National Security Agency chief, isn't convinced that charges should be brought against a New York Times reporter who uncovered a covert military operation against Iran.
James Risen, New York Times, reporter, Barack Obama
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2014-49-09
Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 08:49 PM
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