Before the Justice Department was secretly obtaining phone records of Associated Press reporters, the Obama administration was investigating a Fox News journalist.
The Washington Post reported Sunday evening that the federal authorities went to great lengths to investigate how James Rosen, the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News, was able to report on classified intelligence on North Korea in 2009.
According to the Post, the Justice Department went further in investigating Rosen than they did with AP reporters. They obtained his security badge access records at the State Department, looked at records of his calls with a specific State Department adviser and even went through his personal e-mails.
Investigators, according to the Washington Post, suspected that Rosen was given classified information by a State Department adviser named Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. In an application for the search warrant for Rosen’s emails, the FBI said “there is probable cause to believe” Rosen is an “aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak.
“We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter,” said Michael Clemente, the Executive Vice President of News at FOX News. “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.”
“Search warrants like these have a severe chilling effect on the free flow of important information to the public,” First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin told the Washington Post. “That’s a very dangerous road to go down.”
When it comes to investigating leaks to reporters, the Obama administration, according to the Post, “has pursued more such cases than all previous administrations combined, including one against a former CIA official charged with leaking U.S. intelligence on Iran and another against a former FBI contract linguist who pleaded guilty to leaking to a blogger.”