In a stunning sequences of events that unfolded yesterday, it was revealed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to intimidate the media went beyond targeting reporters and editors at the Associated Press. Early in the day, the Washington Post reported that the DOJ not only seized the phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen, but used his security badge to access records tracking his movements at the State Department, traced the timing of his calls with a Department security advisor suspected of giving him classified information, and obtained a search warrant to access his personal emails.
Later in the afternoon another bombshell was dropped: two more Fox staffers, reporter William La Jeunesse and producer Mike Levine, were also targeted by the DOJ.
We begin with Rosen and his involvement with State Department advisor Steven Kim. Kim is a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for telling Rosen that the intelligence community believed North Korea’s response to additional UN sanctions would be another test of its nuclear capabilities. Rosen published a story to that effect on June 11, 2009, noting that the CIA had received the information from sources inside North Korea.
That story was posted the same day a top-secret report was made available to Kim, arms expert with security clearance, and 95 other members of the intelligence community. Using the surveillance techniques described above, the FBI built a case that the information Rosen received came directly from those documents. Yet Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to top-secret information, steal or sell documents or secrets, or collaborate with the enemy. He gave exclusive information to a reporter, a reality that occurs every day. Furthermore, according to the New York Times, four months prior to disseminating the information for which he was indicted, Kim was asked by a State Department press officer to speak to Rosen about North Korea, “and the two began to talk and exchange e-mails,” the paper reported.
Despite this reality, Kim is facing 15 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act.
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