University of Minnesota, East Bank
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, government officials often justify secrecy as necessary to protect national security. But without information, how can citizens hold their government accountable? To gather the news the public needs to know, journalists may turn to sources who will speak only on the condition that their identities are kept confidential. When leaks trigger criminal investigations, zealous prosecutors subpoena reporters to force them to reveal their sources. Journalists who refuse to testify face the threat of fines and jail. The result is a no-win situation for sources, for journalists, and for the public. One journalist who has faced this predicament is New York Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner James Risen. Risen and his attorney, Joel Kurtzberg, will discuss the legal and journalistic challenges that arise when reporting the national security beat and using confidential sources.