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Hullabaloo


Monday, May 20, 2013

 
Prosecuting the press: "This has not fared well in American history."

by digby

Wow. It would appear that the Obama administration's Department of Justice is now officially out of control. This report about a leak investigation involving Fox DC bureau chief James Rosen:

FBI investigators used the security-badge data, phone records and e-mail exchanges to build a case that Kim shared the report with Rosen soon after receiving it, court records show.

In the documents, FBI agent Reginald Reyes described in detail how Kim and Rosen moved in and out of the State Department headquarters at 2201 C St. NW a few hours before the story was published on June 11, 2009.

“Mr. Kim departed DoS at or around 12:02 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:03 p.m.,” Reyes wrote. Next, the agent said, “Mr. Kim returned to DoS at or around 12:26 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:30 p.m.”

The activity, Reyes wrote in an affidavit, suggested a “face-to-face” meeting between the two men. “Within a few hours after those nearly simultaneous exits and entries at DoS, the June 2009 article was published on the Internet,” he wrote.

The court documents don’t name Rosen, but his identity was confirmed by several officials, and he is the author of the article at the center of the investigation. Rosen and a spokeswoman for Fox News did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

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.

And to think we all assumed that sort of thing went out with the departure of Bush's consiglieri Alberto Gonzales. (Not that we haven't known for some time that they've been "going the extra mile" investigating reporters, including looking at their bank records and credit files.) But it seems that isn't the limit of what they've done. I wonder what is?

Meanwhile, recall that just last week:
Under questioning by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Holder dismissed the notion of prosecuting reporters as, basically, nuts.

"You've got a long way to go to try to prosecute people—the press for the publication of that material," Holder declared. "This has...not fared well in American history."

"With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I've ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy," Holder added later. "The focus should be on those people who break their oath and put the American people at risk, not reporters who gather this information. That should not be the focus...of these investigations."

Apparently, they just used the threat of prosecution to persuade a court to issue a warrant. Which, considering Holder's testimony, means they misled the court  -- or he misled the committee. But hey it appears that anything goes with these cases so maybe nobody cares.

I'm going to guess that the explanation for all this will be that these investigations are at the individual prosecutor's discretion and they're only following departmental policies, doing their jobs etc, etc. And maybe these prosecutors really are personally offended by national security leaks, in this case from the State Department regarding North Korea. But even if this goes all the way to Holder, how likely is it that the DOJ has taken it upon itself to worry about protecting a North Korean source, which is the issue at stake in the Rosen case? Who's ordering these investigations?


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