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Ex-NSA head says gov’t shouldn’t pursue reporter

October 12, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former director of the National Security Agency says he doesn’t see the need for the U.S. government to prosecute the New York Times reporter who revealed the agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans.

Michael Hayden says he is “conflicted” about whether reporter James Risen should be compelled to reveal his sources.

Risen is facing potential jail time as he battles government efforts to force him to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer accused of leaking classified information.

Hayden tells CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Risen’s story damaged national security. But Hayden also says it’s “wrong” if “the method of redressing that actually harms the broad freedom of the press.”

Hayden says “government needs to be strong,” but not so strong that it threatens individual liberties.

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