Justice Department prosecutors would like to call a New York Times reporter to testify in a national security leak case, but they plan to seek only limited information and will not require him to identify his source, a U.S. official confirmed to CBS News.
Federal prosecutors were appearing Tuesday before a federal judge in Virginia to explain what role they want journalist James Risen to play in their case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of disclosing government secrets.
The official said prosecutors plan to ask Risen questions limited to confirming that he is the author of the book "State of War" as well as two related New York Times articles in late 2001 and early 2002. They will ask him to confirm that both the book and articles are accurate, as far as he knows.
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They will also ask Risen to confirm that Sterling was an on-the-record source for his 2002 article, though they will acknowledge that Risen's book included confidential arrangements with his source. The U.S. official said that Risen has previously said in a public court filing that he would be willing to answer these questions.
Attorney General Eric Holder has approved a limited subpoena to compel Risen to testify, but it does not permit prosecutors to ask Risen the identity of his source.
Prosecutors allege that Sterling, who is scheduled for trial next month in federal court in Virginia, was a key source in Risen's 2006 book "State of War," which detailed a botched CIA effort during the Clinton administration to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Risen has refused to reveal his sources despite being subpoenaed by the government and did not testify before the federal grand jury that indicted Sterling in 2010.