Obama’s DoJ Targeted Fox News Reporter

5 Comments

The job of a free press to keep the government in check. The DoJ is utterly compromised under an out-of-control president. We need Congressional hearings and a special prosecutor. This is unconstitutional — it is a violation of our most basic freedoms. Where is the media on this?

The Washington Post published an explosive story about the Justice Department’s monitoring of James Rosen, a Fox News reporter based in Washington. Rosen allegedly spoke to Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor, for a story about North Korea’s nuclear program. The Justice Department charged Kim with violating the Espionage Act for his contact with Rosen.

Kim’s case has already been condemned by critics of the White House’s hyper-aggressive approach to leaks, but the details of the DOJ’s tracking of Rosen have not been known until now. The Post’s Ann E. Marimow laid out the intensity of that monitoring in her article:

The Justice Department used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal emails.

 

(Read the DOJ’s request for searching Rosen’s records at the bottom of the post.)

 

That goes above and beyond what the Justice Department did when it monitored the Associated Press. There, it looked at phone records, not the actual contents of emails.

Perhaps more chilling, the Post reported that, in order to justify its search warrants for Rosen’s private correspondence, the Justice Department labeled Rosen a “co-conspirator”


A rare peek into a Justice Department leak probe

Washington Post, (hat tip Drudge)

When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.

They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.

Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt called the Justice Department’s seizure of some AP telephone records “unconstitutional,” saying “I really don’t know what their motive was, I know what the message they are sending was — if you talk to the press we are going to go after you.”

Can Congress productively legislate and conduct oversight investigations of a sitting president at the same time? This week will be the test.


The case of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the government adviser, and James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News,
bears striking similarities to a sweeping leaks investigation disclosed last week in which federal investigators obtained records over two months of more than 20 telephone lines assigned to the Associated Press.
At a time when President Obama’s administration is under renewed scrutiny for an unprecedented number of leak investigations, the Kim case provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one such probe.

Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist — and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.
“Search warrants like these have a severe chilling effect on the free flow of important information to the public,” said First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin, who has represented the Associated Press, but not in the current case. “That’s a very dangerous road to go down.”

Obama last week defended the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation involving the AP, which is focused on who leaked information to the news organization about a foiled plot involving the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. AP executives and First Amendment watchdogs have criticized the Justice Department in part for the broad scope of the phone records it secretly subpoenaed from AP offices in Washington, Hartford, Conn., and New York.

“The latest events show an expansion of this law enforcement technique,” said attorney Abbe Lowell, who is defending Kim on federal charges filed in 2010 that he disclosed national defense information. A trial is possible as soon as 2014. “Individual reporters or small time periods have turned into 20 [telephone] lines and months of records with no obvious attempt to be targeted or narrow.”

The president said press freedoms must be balanced against the protection of U.S. personnel overseas. According to the office of Ronald Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District, its prosecutors followed federal regulations by first seeking the information through other means before subpoenaing media phone records. Machen’s office is investigating both the Kim and AP cases. The Justice Department said in a statement that in both cases it had abided by “all applicable laws, regulations, and longstanding Department of Justice policies intended to safeguard the First Amendment interests of the press in reporting the news and the public receiving it.

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  • Larry S.

    They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.
    I do not see a problem with this. If the government has the right to keep secrets- and I think it does- then it must be able to monitor people with access to classified information, particularly when they are suspected of compromising that information. So long as DoJ abided by “all applicable laws, regulations, and longstanding Department of Justice policies blah blah blah” I see no issue here. If you do, take it up with your Congressman.
    Investigators here did get a search warrant. I hope the warrant was used properly. But if Rosen was dealing with a suspected leaker who may be acting contrary to the interests of the US of A, his communications are reasonably of interest to the FBI.
    A great deal of damage has been done by people who, for a variety of reasons, have compromised our nation’s secrets. That includes the torture and murder of our people in the field. Those playing loose with classified information get precious little sympathy from me.

  • Chris Wolf

    obama is laying waste to our Constitution, our society and our self-respect, since we apparently keep buying his most pathetically transparent bullshit, as in his most recent phony exasperated appeals as to “who does a cover-up for three days,” re: Benghazi.
    And The Answer Is: You do, jihad, when your initial desperate attempts are exposed as obvious LIES and you have to throw up some other way too-clever-by-half canard in the face of the American people and see if that sticks.
    We’ve all eye-witnesses to the command of mohammed in action for muslims to LIE directly and without reservation or shame to the “infidels” in pursuit of the sharia, including its rape, murder & mayhem, where obama is leading us.

  • JakeTobias

    Excellent comment, Larry. But then the question is, are they concerned about national security, or Obama? When it was national security under Bush, the press didn’t care. And they still don’t. So, what was the Fox reporter after?

  • Larry S.

    Thanks, JT-
    I was expecting a cacophony of boo-hisses more than an accolade :~.
    Unfortunately, given the immensely deceptive nature of this administration, it is difficult to take their claim they abided by “all applicable laws, regulations …” when conducting this investigation. Hence, congressional oversight is needed.

  • http://atlasshrugs.com Drew the Infidel

    During the Watergate scandal, remember Nixon’s “plumbers unit” who was trying to stop leaks? Obhammud has more prosecutions for leaks than all other presidents combined. But what constitutes a government secret anymore? After the UBL raid the WH staffers were all over the map with 18 different versions of it to the point SecDef Robert Gates had to tell them to STFU.