The Justice Department may offer New York Times reporter James Risen a deal that could enable him to avoid prison time over refusing to testify in a national security investigation and save face for prosecutors under pressure for their handling of First Amendment issues, the Los Angeles Times reports. DOJ was given a deadline of Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia to decide whether to enforce a subpoena requiring Risen to testify in the prosecution of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on charges of disclosing national defense secrets on Iran to Risen.
Risen appealed the subpoena to the U.S. Supreme Court, which turned him down in June. Sterling’s trial is scheduled to begin in January. Justice Department lawyers have asked Attorney General.Eric Holder to approve an arrangement in which Risen does not have to name his source, but will testify about other circumstances surrounding his reporting. Risen reported in his 2006 book “State of War” that Iranian agents of the CIA had been exposed by the agency after a CIA message to one of its agents contained revealing information. Sterling was arrested in 2011.