DOJ Targeted Fox News Reporter by Monitoring Movements

Katie Pavlich

5/20/2013 11:08:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

It turns out President Obama's Department of Justice wasn't just targeting Associated Press reporters. The Washington Post has revealed DOJ specifically targeted Fox News' Reporter James Rosen, who covers the State Department. DOJ not only monitored Rosen's phone calls, but his movements.

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.

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.

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.”

Last week during testimony on Capitol Hill, Attorney General Eric Holder denied any involvement in the secret monitoring of AP reporters and said he recused himself from the case. Holder said his Deputy Attorney General James Cole signed off on the subpoenas allowing for the secret monitoring of personal and work phones of AP editors and reporters. So, who exactly signed off on the creepy monitoring of Rosen? Was it Holder? Or did he "recuse" himself from that case too? The law requires the Attorney General to sign off on intrusive monitoring of the press.

The big question after the revelations of the AP being monitored came out nearly two weeks ago was, "How far does this go? What other media outlets were monitored?" It turns out, this wasn't just an overreach into the Associated Press, but an overreach into the press in general. You can bet this isn't the end of this thing.