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Friday, February 25, 2011

Justice Department obtains reporter's phone and bank records in leak probe...

DOJ gets reporter's phone, credit card records in leak probe
Trying to show ex-CIA officer leaked agency secrets, feds target newspaperman
By Michael Isikoff
National investigative correspondent
NBC News NBC News
updated 2 hours 50 minutes ago 2011-02-26T00:11:51

WASHINGTON — A court filing in the case of a former CIA officer accused of spilling secrets about Iran’s nuclear program provides new details about the extraordinary measures Justice Department prosecutors are using to identify government leakers.

The former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, was indicted in December on charges that he disclosed “national defense information” to New York Times reporter James Risen.

In a court filing this week, Sterling’s lawyers revealed that, as part of the investigation, prosecutors obtained Risen’s telephone, credit and bank records. They also obtained credit reports on Risen conducted by three credit agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — as well as records of his airline travel, the filing states.

Those records, as well as other material, have been turned over to Sterling’s lawyers as part of pre-trial discovery in the case, the lawyers said.

“I find this every disturbing,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This tells us the Obama administration will do almost anything to figure out who is leaking government information.”

Matt Miller, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment on the court filing or say whether department subpoenas for Risen’s bank and credit reports occurred under President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, or earlier, during the Bush administration, when the investigation into Sterling began. A lawyer for Risen also declined comment....

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