Judge Subpoenas Reporter Records Over China Spy Case Story

A Washington Times reporter has been subpoenaed by a federal judge who wants him to reveal the sources for a story he wrote about an engineer convicted of conspiracy to export U.S. defense technology to China.

National security reporter Bill Gertz was ordered to appear before U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in June, the newspaper reported Saturday. The judge has also requested e-mail messages, files and correspondences.

Gertz cited U.S. government sources in a 2006 story saying that Justice Department officials approved an indictment against Tai Mak and that four of Mak's relatives would also be charged.

Mak's attorneys had objected to Gertz's story, contending the government violated a federal rule barring federal officials from giving information about grand jury proceedings to outsiders. Carney ordered an investigation to determine who leaked the information.

"We will be presenting our case to the judge and we remain hopeful that he will be receptive to the arguments we present to him in trying to preserve Bill's and the Times' First Amendment right to report the news and his other legal rights as well," Times executive editor John F. Solomon said.

The four family members were eventually indicted. All have pleaded guilty to related offenses in exchange for leniency. Mak is serving a 24-year sentence in federal prison.