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Former Ashcroft spokesman blasts Gonzales for journalist subpoenas

[JURIST] Mark Corallo [corporate profile], a former spokesperson for ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft, filed an affidavit in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday criticizing subpoenas issued by current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] to compel two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to reveal the source of leaked grand jury testimony. The affidavit was filed in support of the reporters' motion to quash the subpoenas. Corallo told the New York Times in an interview that the subpoenas were "the most reckless abuse of power I have seen in years" and insisted Ashcroft would never have issued subpoenas requiring journalists to divulge sources, even in a situation where the source could face criminal charges for leaking such information.

Gonzales has been pushing for a radical re-interpretation of the historical First Amendment protections afforded journalists and their sources. Last week, Gonzales said the government may have authority to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information [JURIST report] under several "statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility." The New York Times has more.

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