A New York Times reporter who has been fighting off a US government demand that he reveal a confidential source has described the Obama administration as “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”
James Risen, who has been ordered to testify in the criminal trial of a former CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, was speaking at a New York conference, “Sources and secrets” .
He argued that he administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” and that its prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act.”
In July last year, a US appeals court ruled that Risen could not claim a reporter’s privilege under the first amendment to win exemption from being compelled to testify. In other words, he must reveal his source.
Earlier this year, the New York Times’s editor, Jill Abramson, called the Obama White House the “most secretive… that I have ever been involved in covering.”