Report: 'Open season' on U.S journalists

July 4, 2005 at 12:52 PM

WASHINGTON, July 4 (UPI) -- The ongoing U.S. legal battle over who leaked a covert CIA official's name to reporters indicates a new "open season" on journalists, a rights lawyer says.

In the last year, more than two dozen reporters across the country have been subpoenaed or questioned about their confidential sources in cases before federal courts, the Newspaper Association of America said.

Now, a Congressional inquiry is trying to determine who leaked covert CIA official Valerie Plame's name to the media in 2003.

"It does feel like open season," Laura Handman, a First Amendment lawyer based in Washington told The New York Times. "There are more instances of courts ordering confidential sources to be disclosed."

In 1991, a reporter for Newsday and another for National Public Radio broke the news that Anita Hill had accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

A special Senate counsel tried unsuccessfully to subpoena the reporters' telephone records to unmask their confidential source.

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