James Rosen reportedly was not the only Fox News Channel correspondent that was spied on by the Obama Justice Department according to report from Megyn Kelly and Shannon Bream (see embed below) on “America Live” today. Reporter William LaJeunesse and producer Mike Levine may have also been separately targeted in connection with leaks in the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.
The US Department of Justice secretly went after Rosen for gaining access to confidential information from a State Department official about North Korea. Google reportedly coughed up Rosen’s Gmail messages to the government. “Investigators looking into disclosures of sensitive information about North Korea got Rosen’s telephone records and a warrant for his personal emails but also used his State Department security badge to track his movements in and out of that building.” Rosen was named as a co-conspirator in the application for a 2010 search warrant that just surfaced.
Rosen was never notified of the search warrant; nor was Fox News. There is a limited exception to the notice requirement under the law if the government can provided a connection to national security. “Rosen was not charged with any crime, but it is unprecedented for the government, in an official court document, to accuse a reporter of breaking the law for conducting the routine business of reporting on government secrets.”
Fast and Furious was a botched Obama administration operation that allowed firearms to fall into the hands of drug cartels and resulted in the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and many others. According to the Megyn Kelly/Shannon Bream report, quotes from LaJeunesse and Levine’s emails appear in an Inspector General’s narrative about the scandal. It has not been determined how those messages showed up in the report.
The Justice Department is also under fire for secretly snooping on phone records of Associated Press reporters. “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.”
Fox News executive Michael Clemente has this to say about James Rosen revelation: “We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter. 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.”
Unlike what happened in either the Rosen or AP cases, which were both handled in secret, Megyn Kelly pointed out that in general the procedure would be for the government and the news organization to appear in court to argue for or against access to the information in question pursuant to a subpoena. A judge would then decide how much, or how little, information the organization would have to release to authorities.
As it stands, the Fox and APA developments implicate potential First Amendment freedom of speech/freedom of the press violations along with a lack of due process. Details are still unfolding.
Added:In a discussion with Shephard Smith (see video below) on FNC, Judge Andrew Napolitano insists that there was no crime committed by James Rosen: ” … for the FBI to tell a federal judge that James committed a crime by receiving classified information and offering to publish it — even by asking for classified information — is absolutely wrong, and brings the Justice Department into an entirely new area of invasion of First Amendment privileges.” He added that Rosen or other journalists have “an absolute constitutionally protected right to seek news of material interest to the public wherever that news may be.”