First Amendment advocates said the Justice Department’s use of business records to find out about Risen’s sources was troubling. Those records, they argue, could potentially expose a wide array of Risen’s sources and confidential contacts — information that might fall beyond the initial investigation that led to Sterling’s indictment.
“To me, in many ways, it’s worse than a direct subpoena,” said Jane Kirtley, a University of Minnesota law professor and former director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Third-party subpoenas are really, really invidious…. Even if it is targeted, even if they’re trying to just look at the relevant stuff, they’re inevitably going to get material that exposes other things.”
Feb 25, 2011
U.S. government spies on reporter
In a troubling case for press freedom, federal investigators have probed New York Times reporter James Risen's credit card, telephone and bank records as they try to build a case against an alleged leaker who gave Risen information for his 2006 book "State of War." From a Politico report: