Earlier today the Wash. Post reported that the Department Of Justice received a warrant to seize the phone records of Fox News’ Rosen as part of a leak investigation.
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.
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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.”
This DOJ action goes a much farther than the Associated Press action. An FBI agent involved reportedly claimed there’s evidence the journalist in question –– Fox News’ James Rosen — broke the law “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.”
“We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter,” Clemente said. “In fact, it is downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press.”
The case has also caught the attention of Congress. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement Monday he was “very concerned” about the reports of “possible criminal prosecution for doing what appears to be normal news-gathering protected by the First Amendment.”
He added: “The sort of reporting by James Rosen detailed in the report is the same sort of reporting that helped Mr. Rosen aggressively pursue questions about the Administration’s handling of Benghazi. National security leaks are criminal and put American lives on the line, and federal prosecutors should, of course, vigorously investigate. But we expect that they do so within the bounds of the law, and that the investigations focus on the leakers within the government — not on media organizations that have First Amendment protections and serve vital function in our democracy.”
The probable reason for identifying Rosen as a “co-conspirator” is so the DOJ could avoid its own rules and regulations for getting records from reporters. By identifying him in a possible criminal action the Obama administration gets to treat Rosen like a suspect (not as a reporter).
In a way Rosen is a lucky man. If the Associated Press action wasn’t revealed first the media wouldn’t have given a damn about the DOJ going after James Rosen but now thankfully the mainstream media is joining in on the Fox broadcaster’s defense.
Lets face it–this Administration has been whining about Fox News since before Obama was first elected in 2008. This Department of Justice subpoena and threat of criminal action is the most frightening assault on the freedom of the press in my lifetime.