Drawing fire from lawmakers, constitutionalists, and an array of journalists and other media types, it was reported Monday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been investigating a Fox News reporter for his allegedly “classified” newsgathering activities. The federal government has labeled James Rosen, the network’s chief Washington correspondent, for being a “co-conspirator” in a ploy to leak sensitive information that could have put the nation at risk.
The Obama administration’s DOJ moved forward with its investigation after FBI agent Reginald Reyes identified Rosen as an “aider and abettor” in the leaking of classified information. Reyes asserted his argument in a request for a warrant to probe Rosen’s personal e-mail account, among other communications. Ultimately, federal investigators confiscated Rosen’s security badge records, phone logs, and e-mails, while not going as far as to charge him with a crime.
The controversy centered on Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former arms expert for the State Department, who was accused of dispersing sensitive information to Rosen from a classified report within only hours of its release to an elite circle in the intelligence community. The June 2009 report revealed that North Korea would likely respond to a United Nations sanction with a nuclear missile test.
Reyes noted in his affidavit that Rosen “asked, solicited and encouraged Mr. Kim to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information,” adding that “the reporter did so by employing flattery and playing to Mr. Kim’s vanity and ego.”
This detail attracted heated criticisms from media lawyers and transparency advocates, who blasted the DOJ for likening routine journalistic practices to criminal activity.
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