NR Digital

Saving Truth

by Shannen W. Coffin
Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law, by Gabriel Schoenfeld (Norton, 309 pp., $27.95)

The government’s struggle to protect sensitive national-security information continues, even in the age of Obama. In April, a federal grand jury indicted Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency official, on ten felony charges arising from his alleged leaking of classified information about secret NSA programs to a Baltimore Sun reporter.

A few weeks earlier, Attorney General Eric Holder had approved a subpoena addressed to New York Times reporter James Risen, ordering him to appear before a grand jury to answer questions regarding his confidential source for a chapter in his 2006 book, State of War, about the CIA’s attempts to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear program. His lawyer vowed to fight the subpoena, asserting that, in reporting the classified information, Risen “adhered to the highest standards of his profession.” Risen was no stranger to reporting on leaked national-security information: Sharing a byline with Eric Lichtblau in a December 2005 front-page Times story, Risen blew the cover off the NSA’s electronic terrorist-surveillance program.

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