James Rosen, a Fox reporter, has been named a co-conspirator in a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the 2009 illegal leaks of classified information regarding North Korea. Although the investigation took place in 2010, an indepth report yesterday from The Washington Post — complete with a copy of the search warrant — has shed new light into the probe into the journalist’s life.
The short version is that State Department security adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim was thought to be passing the classified material to Fox News through Rosen. The WaPo said that court documents don’t name James Rosen, but that his identity was confirmed to them by several officials as being the Fox reporter who accepted the classified information.
Kim himself is currently facing federal charges for the 2009 leaks.
Since DOJ believed that Rosen is almost certainly the Fox reporter who received the leaked documents, FBI agent Reginald Reyes filed an affidavit with a federal judge stating that there was probable cause to believe that James Rosen was a co-conspirator in the crime. A reporter’s privilege doesn’t hold in cases where he knowingly broke the law.
Therefore, a federal judge signed the search warrant, which allowed DOJ investigators to obtain James Rosen’s emails. They were also able to track security badge records to show when he visited State Department offices.
Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente issued this statement:
“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.”
The DOJ fired back with their own statement that leaking classified information can represent “serious risk of harm to our national security and it is important that we pursue these matters using appropriate law enforcement tools.”
James Rosen hasn’t been indicted, and Attorney General Eric Holder hinted that he wouldn’t be.
That didn’t stop some folks from expressing outrage.
Accusing James Rosen of committing crimes – for basic reporting – may be the most dangerous thing the Obama DOJ has done yet
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) May 20, 2013
— Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) May 20, 2013
— james queen (@LibertySurfer) May 20, 2013
Well, maybe. I’m not real clear how exactly the man has been chilled by having some emails read or his security badges tracked. What’s your opinion of the James Rosen, Fox reporter, “co-conspirator” brouhaha?
[James Rosen interviewing John Kerry photo by the US State Department via Wikimedia Commons]