The source who pointed New York Times reporter James Risen toward CIA efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program can breathe easy.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will not force Risen to unmask his confidential source, according to an MSNBC report based on a conversation with a senior Justice Department official. This means the journalist will no longer be forced to choose between going to jail and naming his informant.
The government may still subpoena Risen and seek his testimony in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official accused of leaking classified information.
But instead of compelling him to unmask his insider, they would simply ask him to “confirm that he had an agreement with a confidential source, and that he did write the book,” according to the report.
This isn’t the first time the Attorney General has abstained from persecuting journalists.
“Any reporter who is doing his or her job in gathering news is not going to go to jail as a result of that kind of activity,” Holder said in October.