A damaging Friday news dump before a holiday weekend? Who could have seen that coming? Dump away, Justice Department:
The Justice Department said on Friday that officials up to Attorney General Eric Holder vetted a decision to search an email account belonging to a Fox News reporter whose report on North Korea prompted a leak investigation. In a statement emailed to Reuters, the department said the search warrant for the reporter's email account followed all laws and policies and won the independent approval of a federal magistrate judge.
We're apparently supposed to feel better about everything because the DOJ "followed all laws and policies" and secured their warrant from a judge. That would be the same warrant that designated journalist James Rosen as a potential "criminal co-conspirator" in order to keep it secret. Details about the breadth of the investigation continue to emerge. Via The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, another eye-opening scoop:
The Obama Administration fought to keep a search warrant for James Rosen’s private e-mail account secret, arguing to a federal judge that the government might need to monitor the account for a lengthy period of time...Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, insisted that the reporter should not be notified of the search and seizure of his e-mails, even after a lengthy delay...He argued that disclosure of the search warrant would preclude the government from monitoring the account, should such a step become necessary in the investigation. Machen added that “some investigations are continued for many years because, while the evidence is not yet sufficient to bring charges, it is sufficient to have identified criminal subjects and/or criminal activity serious enough to justify continuation of the investigation.” The new details indicate that the government wanted the option to search Rosen’s e-mails repeatedly if the F.B.I. found further evidence implicating the reporter in what prosecutors argued was a conspiracy to commit espionage...In addition to Rosen’s correspondence with Kim, the government wanted to know about Rosen’s contacts with other government officials, including “records or information relating to the Author’s communication with any other source or potential source of the information disclosed in the Article.”
One stunner after the next. The Justice Department wanted to "repeatedly" monitor Rosen's personal emails for a "lengthy period of time" -- years possibly -- in order to track his "contacts with other government officials" beyond the source at the center of the North Korea leak investigation. In other words, they wanted to troll Rosen's contacts and news-gathering methods indefinitely. And the Attorney General of the United States didn't just sign off of it. He personally "vetted" it. That would seem to preclude relying on the "I don't read my own memos" excuse of which Holder is so fond. Good thing the president has put Eric Holder in charge of investigating the alarming things Eric Holder has done. A final point: Katie raised the possibility that Holder perjured himself during last week's House Judiciary hearing. The Justice Department's admission locks another piece into that puzzle. To review: Holder swore an oath at the beginning of a hearing at which he said he'd *never* been a part of, or even heard of, any *potential* prosecution of a journalist. Now his own department has confirmed that he personally reviewed and approved a warrant that explicitly treated a reporter as a criminal co-conspirator. I'll leave it to the legal experts to determine whether that constitutes perjury, but it certainly looks profoundly dishonest. The Huffington Post (!) called for Holder's ouster this morning, and that was before DOJ confirmed NBC's report. Those calls may grow louder. Enjoy your long weekend, Mr. Attorney General.
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