Holder involved in decision to ask for search warrant for reporter's private emails
May 24th, 2013
06:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Holder involved in decision to ask for search warrant for reporter's private emails

Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder was involved in the Justice Department's decision to seek a search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen's private e-mails, a Justice official told CNN.

The decision to apply for the search warrant was vetted at the department's highest levels, including Holder, the official said, although the decision to issue a warrant was made by a federal magistrate judge.

The Obama administration's aggressive posture against leaks to reporters on national security matters has come under scrutiny recently as probes of Rosen and Associated Press reporters have come to light.

It prompted Obama to announce on Thursday he has directed Holder to review federal guidelines for investigating leaks and reporters. That review will include assembling a panel of media representatives.

Justice Department officials dug into the phone records of AP reporters, including work, cell, and home lines, the news agency said earlier this month. It said investigators were looking into its account of a foiled plot to bomb a U.S. airliner in May 2012.

AP reporters were never labeled as suspected criminals, but an FBI affidavit used to obtain the warrant for Rosen's e-mails described him as potentially being an "aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator" to the crime of disclosing government secrets.

That case centers on a 2009 Fox News report on classified intelligence about North Korea.

No charges have been brought against Rosen or Fox News.

Obama said Thursday he was "troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable."

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

Filed under: Eric Holder • Fox News • Justice Department
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. Joe Clark

    Well now we know! Holder is in fact the bad guy we thought he was all along.

    May 25, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. Pete

    I'm glad that Mr.Holder is on this case because sensitive emails related to our national security,Benghazi recently can be seen as treasonistic if published privately,publicly and these reporters as in Murdochs flock seem to think they're protected because of their amendment rights,how wrong they are thinking that arrogently in todays world the laws are against you and they know it!!

    May 25, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. cassius

    asking a federal magistrate for a search warrant is not in any way illegal. The press do not have special rights not granted to all americans.

    May 25, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Monomachos

    Would Holder have gone after the reporter if he were from the NYT or WaPo? Why did they also go after his mom's phone records? This was a vendetta against Fox and if you aren't upset about whatever your politics, then you don't understand what "Freedom of the Press" is.

    May 25, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. svann

    Actually, it was a judge that gave the final ok for the warrant. Thats how it works.

    May 25, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Grego

    You'll never see this happen to an NBC or NPR reporter.

    May 25, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. george t hibs

    AG Holder obviously mislead Congress when he testified before Congress and maintained he had little to do with this investigation, and in fact he stated he recused himself and delegated authority for the investigation to an assistant AG. Well seems t me you don't get it both ways, either you had nothing to do with something OR as in this case, you signed off on the warrant application! DAH!!!

    May 25, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. 1108

    But he did lie to Congress:

    In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.
    Eric Holder

    May 25, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Jo black

    In this case, I am more troubled by the leak than the "rights" of the leakee.

    May 25, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. polycarp pio

    This President and his administration are begining to smell a lot like the Nixon administration. PP

    May 25, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. John

    For the first time in my life I actually felt a little trepidation about listing my name and E-Mail address as I had to here. But I am going to muster up the courage to say it anyhow. Between the tragic events and the following coverup in Benghazi. The IRS actively challenging and silencing American citizens first amendment rights. The Justice department confiscating the private conversations of agents of our free press. And the President killing American citizens without due process. I am very very concerned for our nations future.

    May 25, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Milagros

    These creeps can get away with anything. A compliant adoring media combined with a public that no longer thinks for themselves makes it easy. Benghazi, the escalation of afghanistan, snooping on the press, and the IRS mess will just blow over because the media won't tell people to be upset about any of it.

    May 25, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. JOSH

    No vendetta, last year republicans demanded an investigation about government leaks that jeopardize the war on terror asking to remove every corner to find out who did it hoping to find out somebody in the WH was the leaker. Now they are screaming to the top of their lungs against HOLDER because he was doing the job required by them. And who cares when the rights of every citizen in this country are violated? The government can read our e-mails, our phone chats are hacked and all in the name of the national security, that's OK but why reporters should be treated like beauty queens?. If you as a reporter are jeopardizing the lives of those fighting against terrorist just for greedy interest and on top of that wants to hide his sources, that smell like treason to me and yes they deserve to be investigated and put in jail. Republicans, do you remember the LIBBY scandal?

    May 25, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. hender1123

    Obama claims that he manages every little detail of his Administration. He is proud to claim that he cleaned up many details and brought a new sense of purpose to the White House. He has stated that he appoints only the finest candidates to these important positions, hand picked, dedicated and loyal beyond reproach. It would be difficult in this environment to believe that Holder would blow his nose without Obama's knowledge and consent. The best part is that the path back to Obama has already been worked out. It's a proven and time tested path that has worked time and time again, so far.

    May 25, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    The real scandal here is that what he did was legal. It's the law that needs to be replaced, not the AG!

    May 25, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. Tim Barnett

    How can the head of justice in American be still in office after lying twice to congress an the people. the first in fast and furious where two border guards were killed! this question is directed toward obama as well because he was involved too! This country wont stand together with people like them running the government, Impeachment should start sooner than later!

    May 25, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. Polopoint

    Resign already!

    May 25, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. Jc

    Troubled or relieved? Holder has played fast and loose with his responsibilities since day one. I can't remember an AG that has committed as many egregious crimes as Holder has. And of course, liberals see nothing wrong with his actions. You bet they would be upset if the subpoena and strong arm tactics were used against the Obama administration. Holder needs to go. Obama has protected this guy far too long.

    May 25, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  19. gstlab3

    holder is an unaccountable criminal affirmative action hire whos only love is communism and black liberation bs

    May 25, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. reggie

    Why is this a surprise that Holder knew. He is the bloody boss. His boss, the President said find the leaks and he did. The Congress was up in arms about finding the leaks and the DOJ actually did it in a lawful way. Unlawful= get the record and worry about the warrant later ... who did that. Lawful= go before a judge, present your case for a warrant,said judge says you have prob cause and signs off on the warrant and the scope of the warrant. The warrant is served and the investigation goes on. Unlike the previous admin, this one has been working to restore the rule of law. Our prev President just thought he could brush the law aside in the name of the war on terror. If you don't like the tool that are avail to this admin for investigations like this, I have two words for you.... PATRIOT ACT.

    May 25, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  21. Jack

    Why did Fox Commentary wait so long to discuss issue with the public?

    May 25, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  22. WakeUpUSA

    Fast and Furious, and now this? Holder is as big a failure and just as crafty as his boss. And THIS is the tip of the iceberg.

    May 25, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  23. Jack

    I find it amazing that people are upset that a search warrant was obtained for the reporter. You would think they would be more upset that a government employee was releasing information to the media.

    May 25, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  24. What Fox does is God's

    Oreilly and Hannity during Bushes term "Jesus (aka Murdoch) spoke to us yesterday after a 500 dollar filet mignon dinner that we shouldn't allow any media leaks pertaining to national security even from the press, they put our men and woman in harms way for no reason"
    Oreilly and Hannity during Obama's term "Jesus (aka Murdoch) to us yesterday after a 500 dollar filet mignon dinner that it's ok if a fox reporter leaks national security secrets. Any attempt to curb that is an attack at our free press"

    May 25, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  25. splinter48708

    The AG needs to go away. Plain and simple. The FOXNews reporter, in the course of his duties targeted by the Obama Administration.

    This is VERY chilling on the notion of a true and free Press in this country. Not even Nixon targeted Woodward and Bernstein in the 1970s in such an overt way.

    And, the federal judge needs to be impeached as well for allowing this to go forward. Judge should have said, "No warrant as this person is a member of the Press and protected by the First Amendment in the performance of his duties is protected. I can't issue this warrant."

    May 25, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
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