Subpoenas Issued to N.Y. Times in Cuban Militant Case Dropped

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The federal government has dropped subpoenas that sought notes from The New York Times (search) and the writer of a series of 1998 articles about a former CIA operative and Cuban militant.

The attorney for the newspaper and writer Ann Bardach (search) said Tuesday that U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta had notified him that Homeland Security "will not seek to enforce" the subpoenas.

"We're very pleased," said attorney Tom Julin. The decision in effect upheld First Amendment privileges, he said.

The subpoenas, issued in May, requested copies of all tape recordings and documents relating to a 1998 interview Bardach conducted with Luis Posada Carriles.

After that interview, Bardach wrote that Posada had "admitted to masterminding" a 1997 bombing campaign in Cuba, something Posada later denied.

Posada, 77, has also been accused of involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner. His involvement in the Iran-Contra affair has been detailed in U.S. government documents, and his lifetime of militancy against Cuban President Fidel Castro (search) and other leftist Latin American governments is well known.

He is currently in an immigration facility in Texas, facing deportation on charges of entering the United States illegally earlier this year.

Posada is claiming U.S. residency status and political asylum, in part because of his past work for the CIA. Venezuela wants to extradite him for a prison escape while he awaited a third trial in the 1976 airliner bombing that killed 73 people off Barbados.

Bardach said the government wanted her notes, tape recordings and other documents to help prosecute Posada, who has said he fears persecution if he is not given U.S. protection.

Acosta's letter said Homeland Security "reserves the right to issue and serve new subpoenas upon your clients at a future point in time."

But Julin said Tuesday, "I really don't think it will happen."

Bardach, now a visiting professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said she was "thrilled" with the decision.

"It's a slippery slope to start turning over material to the government," she said. "We're very grateful. It's a clean, total victory ... We won."