Department of Justice’s Attack on the Free Press


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Department of JusticeThe Washington Post gave us a disturbing look into how the Department of Justice handles a leak probe.  It shouldn’t give anyone who cares about the First Amendment including freedom of the press comfort.

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.

The Justice Department has named James Rosen a possible co-conspirator which has outraged Fox News who responded to the news with a written statement:

Michael Clemente, Fox News’ executive vice president of news, defended Rosen in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

“We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter,” Clemente said. “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.”

Breitbart News has learned that Rosen hasn’t been the only Fox News journalist targeted by the Justice Department, but a producer Mike Levine and reporter William La Jeunesse as their emails regarding Fast & Furious showed up in a Inspector General’s report.  This same report showed that the Department of Justice had leaked documents in order to smear a Fast & Furious whistleblower.

Jennifer Rubin calls this action akin to shredding the Constitution.  I agree.this coupled with the action taken against the Associated Press is an absolutely unprecedented move by any Administration.  President Obama is sticking with Attorney General Eric Holder however saying he has “complete confidence” in him.

Well we don’t.

Photo credit: Cliff1066 via Flickr (CC By 2.0)