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NYT reporter: Obama administration was the most ‘anti-press’ since Nixon

James Risen, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter with the New York Times, addresses a luncheon at the Associated Press Media Editors conference in Chicago. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

New York Times journalist James Risen criticized President Barack Obama's eight-year relationship with the press in a recent interview, calling it the worst in decades.

For seven years during the Obama administration, Risen was pressured to name his sources in a leak case. On CNN's "Reliable Sources," Risen described what he experienced as "criminalization of the press."

The Obama administration was “the most anti-press administration since the Nixon administration,” Risen said.

The government considered charging Risen with obstruction of justice or espionage, as well as making him a subject of the investigation, he said. Risen said that he plans to fight the damage Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder did to press freedom for the rest of his life.

"They try to take essentially stories that they don't like and try to find some classified information that might be a part of that and then turn it into a criminal leak investigation in which they say someone mishandled or disclosed classified information," he said. "As you know, you could do that with virtually any story in Washington."

CNN host Brian Stelter asked Risen if the administration was sincere in saying that officials regretted how they handled press freedom cases.

"I don't think eight years of a pattern of behavior is something that's misunderstood," he said.

Obama and Holder have left President-elect Donald Trump a "clear path on how to do this," Risen added.

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