The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration investigated Fox News reporter James Rosen because he was given classified information on North Korea from a State Department adviser. The Department of Justice tracked the badge access of the analyst, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim and Rosen and they also seized some of Rosen’s emails and phone records. What’s chilling about this is that they alleged Rosen broke the law by doing his job in order to obtain the subpoena for his records.
Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target. Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a “covert communications plan” and quoted from an e-mail exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information. In the exchange, Rosen used the alias “Leo” to address Kim and called himself “Alex,” an apparent reference to Alexander Butterfield, the man best known for running the secret recording system in the Nixon White House, according to the affidavit. Rosen instructed Kim to send him coded signals on his Google account, according to a quote from his e-mail in the affidavit: “One asterisk means to contact them, or that previously suggested plans for communication are to proceed as agreed; two asterisks means the opposite.” He also wrote, according to the affidavit: “What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking news ahead of my competitors” including “what intelligence is picking up.” And: “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.” (Read More)
The Associated Press scandal hasn’t gone away either. The news organization’s chief said over the weekend that they haven’t ruled out suing the administration for secretly seizing their phone records.
In a separate interview with the AP, Pruitt said, “It’s too early to know if we’ll take legal action but I can tell you we are positively displeased and we do feel that our constitutional rights have been violated.” He said President Obama “should rein in that out-of-control investigation.” “They’ve been secretive, they’ve been overbroad and abusive — so much so that taken together, they are unconstitutional because they violate our First Amendment rights,” he added.
It’s so bad that Fox News has posted a guide to avoiding government snoops. Good grief.
Update: Britt Hume talked about this earlier on Fox News. He said that it’s perfectly normal for the government to investigate leaks, but he believes that accusing a reporter of a crime for doing his job is unprecedented.
Update: Linked by Big Pulpit – thanks!