WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A U.S. appeals court has ruled that four journalists must testify about their sources in the case of former nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee.
In its ruling, the court in Washington refused the appeal to block an earlier order requiring the reporters to testify about their confidential sources, reports The Washington Post.
The 1999 reporting had alleged Lee, who had worked at New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory, was a suspect in the theft of nuclear secrets for China. Most charges were later dropped and Lee sued the government for allegedly leaking information to the media.
Two of the dissenting judges warned that the ruling would damage First Amendment rights.
The New York Times expressed disappointment with the ruling, but also welcomed the dissent, saying it makes clear "that First Amendment values in protecting reporters and assuring public discussion of important issues should trump a civil litigant's need for information in routine cases."