State of War

Today, the Times reports that the Justice Department has issued a subpoena to reporter James Risen, to reveal his sources used for a chapter of his 2005 book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration. The chapter, which never appeared in the Times‘ own pages, revealed the CIA’s efforts to pry open Iran’s clandestine nuclear program. State of War was a small book, measuring a slim 256 pages. But the book, and its author, have had a long and complicated relationship with the Times. In 2005, I reported at the New York Observer that Risen wouldn’t reveal the contents of his book to his editors. In the fall of 2004, Risen was steamed that the Times‘ editors had spiked his piece on the NSA’s secret warrantless wiretapping program, which he had reported with fellow Times colleague Eric Lichtblau. Risen left the paper on book leave, and quietly incorporated the NSA reporting into his book project. When the Times learned that material might appear in State of War, he forced their hand, and the story raced onto the front page on December 16, 2005, just days before the book hit stores. More from the NYO here:


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