@ Democracy Now!

Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden has said he does not believe the (US) government should prosecute New York Times reporter James Risen*. Risen faces potential jail time as the Obama administration seeks to force him to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer accused of giving Risen classified information. Risen’s book, “State of War,” details a failed CIA operation to deliver faulty nuclear bomb blueprints to Iran. General Michael Hayden, who led the CIA until 2009, and, before that, led the NSA, told Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes he does not think Risen should be forced to divulge his source.

General Michael Hayden: “I am, like America, conflicted. OK?”

Stahl: “Really?”

General Michael Hayden: “I am. I am. You’re talking about ruining lives over things about which people are acting on principle, so I’d be very careful about it.”

Lesley Stahl: “So you would not be pursuing Jim, if you had the decision to make?”

General Michael Hayden: “Frankly, Lesley, I don’t understand the necessity to pursue                                                     Jim.”

* James Risen, the journalist at the center of one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades. In 2006, Risen won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the National Security Agency. He has since been pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations in a six-year leak investigation into that book, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”