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Appeals court: Reporter can't protect source in CIA leak case

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, July 19, 2013 - 2:54 pm

RICHMOND, Va. — A divided federal appeals panel in Virginia has rejected a reporter's bid to protect a source who gave him information about a secret CIA operation.

The 2-1 ruling Friday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's decision. It had allowed reporter James Risen to keep his source confidential during testimony in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with leaking classified information.

Prosecutors allege that Sterling gave Risen secret information that appeared in the writer's 2006 book, "State of War."

The court agreed with federal attorneys that the First Amendment doesn't shield journalists from disclosing their sources during criminal prosecutions. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Roger Gregory wrote that the majority opinion is contrary to the views of the nation's founders.