First Amendment

Reporters Ordered to Reveal Sources

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A federal judge has ordered five reporters to reveal their law enforcement sources in a lawsuit filed by a bioterrorism expert once identified as a person of interest in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Steven J. Hatfill claims the government violated the Privacy Act by leaking information about him. He has never been charged in the case and denies involvement. Judge Reggie B. Walton of Washington, D.C., said the information he seeks from the reporters is central to his claims, the New York Times reports.

The decision is another blow to journalists seeking to shield anonymous sources, the Washington Post reports. Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press told the newspaper the case could have “horrifying” repercussions on reporters’ ability to report on government investigations.

The reporters are Allan Lengel of the Washington Post; Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek; Toni Locy, formerly of USA Today; and James Stewart, formerly of CBS News.

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