Irony Alert: DOJ Leaked To Press Decision Not To Force Reporter James Risen To Reveal Who Leaked Info To Him

from the doj-made-a-lol dept

On Friday, we wrote about reports that the DOJ had decided not to force Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen to reveal an intelligence community source for a story he wrote years ago -- though he still may be subpoenaed and put on the stand about other stuff (and it's not entirely clear if he'll agree to do that). However, there was a bit of irony in all of this: the DOJ leaked this information to the press. Risen's lawyer told reporter Jana Winter that they hadn't received any official word when the stories started appearing in the press, and there hadn't been any official government filing. The NY Times reports the same thing. Instead, it was just reported in the press as "according to a person familiar with the decision."

In other words, it "leaked" from the DOJ.

Or, more specifically, it leaked from the DOJ that it wouldn't seek to put a reporter in jail for refusing to say who leaked other information to him, as it still looks to put that original leaker in jail.

The entire situation was driven by the DOJ's attempt to totally crackdown on leaks that the administration doesn't like. As we've discussed, the Obama administration has (like no other administration in history) declared war on leakers and whistleblowers. It has used the Espionage Act (which is supposed to be used against spies) more than double all other Presidents combined to prosecute those involved in leaks, including journalists. The administration has set up an "Insider Threat Program" and produced a document comparing leaks to "aiding the enemies of the United States."

And, yet... when the government leaks out information that makes the administration look good, suddenly no one has a problem. For years, even when there are leaks that might be said to "compromise national security," so long as they make the administration "look good" no one cares. There are no investigations or freakouts or threats to put reporters or leakers in jail.

And thus, here we are, with the final chapter in the ridiculous Risen intimidation saga involving the DOJ leaking to the press the information that it won't seek to put him in jail for not revealing who leaked him information.

I'm guessing that there will be no investigation at all into who "leaked" this particular information.

Filed Under: doj, eric holder, james risen, leaks, prosecution, subpoena, whistleblowers


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 4:08am

    ...the DOJ had decided not to force Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen to reveal an intelligence community source...

    Very comforting for the other thousands of journalists that haven't acquired a Pulitzer-sized shield against the Police State. Land of the free?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2014 @ 5:52am

    No no...the DoJ is just whistleblowing itself, you see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2014 @ 5:56am

    Perhaps it's time to out this particular leaker

    The US press is entirely too close to the govt.

    Which is why Snowden had to leak to a foreign newspaper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Zos (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 6:07am

      Re: Perhaps it's time to out this particular leaker

      you know he worked with several papers other than the guardian, including an american paper or two, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2014 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re: Perhaps it's time to out this particular leaker

        Except NYT/WaPo were bought in by the *reporters* who received the original docs. Snowden sent docs to GG and Laura Poitras originally

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JWW (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 6:41am

    Careful

    The DOJ better be careful, by doing this they might just create an irony singularity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2014 @ 6:51am

    Slightly offensive comment below but YOLO

    Obama's dislike of leakers must have solidified when he worked as an activist in South Side Chicago. It's the "Snitches Get Stitches" mentality applied in all the wrong ways

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 15 Dec 2014 @ 8:47am

    Where is the irony?

    The DOJ leaks what they want leaked and prosecutes people that leak what they don't want leaked.

    I don't call that irony, I call that just plain bulls***.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 9:29am

    I am still waiting for someone to ask the president if he felt good about leaking info for personal political gain about who killed Osama. That then got said team of 40 odd people killed off.

    its not a crime if those in power do it, because they have the military might to back up their lies and crimes.

    That's the message I get from this

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 11:30am

    Terminology

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 11:32am

    Terminology

    No, you have to understand the terminology. If the government wants the knowledge out there, it's an "unofficial press release"; if the government wanted it to be secret, it's "high treason".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    justme, 15 Dec 2014 @ 12:10pm

    What can you expect from...

    A Justice Department that finds obeying the law an unnecessary obstacle to enforcing the law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2014 @ 1:39pm

    there will be an investigation, not the kind you think.

    Just send the document to be leaked to suspected moles and then see if the leak occurs. After the information is leaked you investigate the select few that had the document and try to determine which one did it.

    Even better is to give a different version to each suspect so that when the document is made public you can track who leaked it.

    but yes the Government does love having good press.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown for basic formatting. (HTML is not supported.)
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.