I’ll probably have several things to say about the James Risen filings of the past week. But for the moment, I wanted to focus on his assertions about the government’s access of his phone records.

Remember, these assertions are not new: Josh Gerstein reported them in February.

Risen said the government never notified him that they were seeking his phone records. But he said he got an inkling in 2008 that investigators had collected some information about his calls.

“We heard from several people who had been forced to testify to the grand jury that prosecutors had shown them phone records between me and those people—not the content of calls but the records of calls,” he said. “As a result of what they told us, my lawyers filed a motion with the court as asking how the Justice Department got these phone records and whether or not they had gotten my phone records.”

“We wanted the court to help us decide whether they had abided by the attorney general’s guidelines,” Risen said. “We never got an answer from the court or the government.”

But Risen’s affidavit discussion of the government accessing his phone records includes a few interesting new details. First, the earliest chronological mention he makes of the government accessing his phone records–he makes it very clear he’s talking about records, not content–dates to 2006.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.