Justice Department Targets Fox News Reporter, Puts Free Press At Risk

James Rosen

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”First Amendment

Those words are straightforward. The right to free speech was respected so fervently that the framers of the Constitution saw fit to ensure that it was a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Sadly, that fundamental civil liberty was threatened last week when it was revealed that the Justice Department had subpoenaed phone records of reporters at the Associated Press (AP), an action that the news agency’s president said was “unconstitutional.”

It appears that this scandal is worse than was previously feared. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that James Rosen, Washington correspondent at Fox News, was the target of a Justice Department investigation in 2010.

This is pretty creepy:

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.

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.
[…]
In the documents, FBI agent Reginald Reyes described in detail how Kim and Rosen moved in and out of the State Department headquarters at 2201 C St. NW a few hours before the story was published on June 11, 2009.

“Mr. Kim departed DoS at or around 12:02 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:03 p.m.,” Reyes wrote. Next, the agent said, “Mr. Kim returned to DoS at or around 12:26 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:30 p.m.”

The activity, Reyes wrote in an affidavit, suggested a “face-to-face” meeting between the two men. “Within a few hours after those nearly simultaneous exits and entries at DoS, the June 2009 article was published on the Internet,” he wrote.

There are a couple things that are very concerning about this story. First, it’s no secret that the White House doesn’t like Fox News. Back in 2009, then-White House Communications Director Anita Dunn called Fox News a “wing of the Republican Party” during an interview on CNN, a cable news competitor.

“What I think is fair to say about Fox — and certainly it’s the way we view it — is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party,” said Dunn. “They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.”

Secondly, based on what we know, the Justice Department wasn’t targeting AP reporters, but rather trying to found out who leaked information to reporters at the news agency. This was deemed to be just another aspect to the Obama Administration’s troublesome “war on whistleblowers.” But in Rosen’s case, he was just as much a target of this investigation as the alleged source.

Since when did journalists get treated like the Rosenbergs simply because they report the news? This sort of reporting has been going on as long as there has been a media, and it’s likely going on somewhere in Washington, DC right now.

So what did White House Press Secretary Jay Carney have to say about this troubling revelation at yesterday’s briefing? Nothing. He refused to comment.

It’s unlikely that Rosen will be found guilty of doing anything other than his job, as was explained by Judge Andrew Napolitano yesterday on Fox News. But this is another instance of the Obama Administration trying to silence its critics in the media or reporters who write stories that don’t necessarily paint it in flattering light.


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