Attorney General approved warrant for Fox reporter's emails
In defense, officials say reporter allegedly appealed to intelligence analyst's ego
In the latest development in an ongoing controversy, it has been revealed that Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a "possible co-conspirator" in violations of the Espionage Act. The warrant authorized seizure of Rosen's private emails.
Attorney General Eric Holder approved the investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen, who reportedly appealed to security analyst Stephen Kim's vanity in order to research an article on North Korea.
"I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable," Obama said. "Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs."
Rosen was the target of a search warrant that enabled Justice Department investigators to secretly seize his private emails after an FBI agent said he had "asked, solicited and encouraged . (a source) to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information." He has not yet been charged in the incident.
In separate investigations in the leaks of classified information, the Justice Department has reportedly obtained private emails that Rosen exchanged with a source along with the phone records of Associated Press reporters.
Holder extracted himself from the AP subpoena as he had been questioned as a witness in the underlying investigation into a leak about a foiled bomb plot in Yemen. At that time, his role in personally approving the Rosen search warrant had not been previously reported.
The Department of Justice later issued a statement about the review of media guidelines. "This review is consistent with Attorney General Holder's long-standing belief that freedom of the press is essential to our democracy," it said.
"At the same time, the attorney general believes that leaks of classified information damage our national security and must be investigated using appropriate law enforcement tools. We remain steadfast in our commitment to following all laws and regulations intended to safeguard national security as well as the First Amendment interests of the press in reporting the news and the public in receiving it."
Holder's approval of the Rosen search, in the spring of 2010, came after senior Justice officials concluded there was "probable cause" that Rosen's communications with his source, identified as intelligence analyst Stephen Kim, met the legal burden for such searches.
Kim has since denied charges that he leaked classified information to Rosen about how North Korea would respond to a United Nations resolution condemning the country's nuclear program.
In an affidavit an FBI agent wrote that Rosen, identified only as "the Reporter" had "asked, solicited and encouraged Mr. Kim to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information.
"The Reporter did so by employing flattery and playing to Mr. Kim's vanity and ego," it continued. "Much like an intelligence officer would run a clandestine intelligence source, the Reporter instructed Mr. Kim on a covert communications plan that involved" emails from his Gmail account.
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