Mother Jones Magazine Asks Army to Back Off Sarah Olson and Other Journalists

Lt. Gen. James Dubik
Commanding General
Fort Lewis and I Corps
Bldg 2025 Stop 1
Fort Lewis WA 98433

January 24, 2007

Lt. General Dubik,

We write to object to the Army's efforts to compel journalists to testify in the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada.

As an investigative reporting magazine, Mother Jones values journalists' ability to speak freely with sources. This relationship is threatened when reporters are subpoenaed to testify against their sources and act as "the eyes and ears of the government," in the words of subpoenaed journalist Sarah Olson. It is especially objectionable when reporters are asked to assist in the prosecution of a source's political speech.

The Army has presented no evidence that the circumstances of this case warrant taking this extraordinary step. This is simply not a case of national security, nor is the public safety at risk. This is a case of prosecuting an officer's political speech as reported in multiple news outlets. The Army should not establish the dangerous precedent of conscripting the civilian press into participating in this kind of court-martial.

We ask that the Army immediately cease its attempts to force reporters to testify in this case.


Monika Bauerlein, Editor
Clara Jeffery, Editor
Jay Harris, Publisher and President
Mother Jones magazine