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. hooah

    There are no more "reporters." They are instigators. Lock em up.

    May 26, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. True Blue

    For all of you Fox News junkies, I find it more interesting that the Justice Department notified News Corp of this inquiry via certified mail, facsimile, and e-Mail more than THREE YEARS AGO! So . . . why is this coming out NOW?

    Before you stick your foot in your mouth, please recall that Fox News is owned by News Corp!

    May 26, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  3. Chriss221

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

    You see, Obama isn't actually in charge of the Justice Department, or the IRS, because, well, like he isn't, OK? He isn't even president, really, because all this "stuff" keeps happening around him to make him look bad. That's all.

    May 26, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  4. Mak


    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" i


    While there could be a mess at IRS, I still fail to see the problem here. And we understand the freedom of the press just fine. Look there was a leap, they have a legal warrant authorized by the courts. And fox knew of it for over 3 years, this is NOT new at all.

    May 26, 2013 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  5. Sherri

    As an resident of the great state of Illinois, I wish our forefathers hadn't wanted access to the Great Lakes because Chicago was suppose to be part of Wisconsin according to the Northwest Ordinance. Now we are stuck with the bs politics that has us as one of the two most in debt states in the nation and a fellow Illinoisan that is breaking the nation. Lets vote for Chicago to be the 51st state and save us Illinoisans

    May 26, 2013 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  6. Christina

    I guess everything is considered a state secrets or part of national security nowadays. Obama, Holder, and his administration are the biggest tyrants in US history!

    May 26, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  7. Lizard Lance

    This was a Fox News "reporter"? Since when has Fox News employed reporters? I thought they only employed stooges of the Republican party who were paid to spread right wing propoganda.

    May 26, 2013 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  8. ro1022

    We are talking about IRS targeting, AP and Fox News theft of info, and Benzhazi and you still believe all are lies, are you not reporters or the National Enquier with no credibility.

    May 26, 2013 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  9. jodyhall77

    When has this administration told the truth about anything? Other than "I want to fundamentally transform The United States of America" I can't think of anything.

    May 26, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  10. silentcount

    Holder's pants are on fire. Is there anyone Obama appointed who's not corrupt?

    May 26, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  11. wade

    The chief criminal and cover up artist Holder.

    May 26, 2013 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  12. JusticeForALL

    Fox deserves ALL that is coming to them. They have worthless news...They would do ANYTHING for a story. Not saying that CNN is the best there is, but Fox stoops so low, I rate them as the same level of intelligence with the National Enquirer!

    May 26, 2013 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  13. Kenny G.

    Reading these posts educates me on how little my fellow citizens understand the highest laws of our land. With respect to Kim and Rosen and the handling of the warrant and search and seizure, nothing was inappropriate. The only mistake was the author of the FBI affidavit reporting probable cause that Rosen committed a crime. Both the communication of and between the leaker and leakee had to be secured to determine if probable was actual. The Judge was convinced by the FBI affidavit that Rosen "probably" did commit a crime but he needed more evidence. Kim was caught and will be prosecuted. Rosen was not found to have committed a crime. Fox parent company was notified that Rosen was being tracked. The process worked.

    May 26, 2013 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  14. WhySurprised

    This is not controversial. Reasonable people realize that many of the individuals employed by Fox News are more or less tyrants.

    May 26, 2013 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  15. Loathstheright

    "Leaks on NATIONAL security matters", funny how conservatives have a problem with it now and not 11 years ago.

    May 26, 2013 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  16. Papa T

    Wow...thw JD's premise for obtaining the search warrant(s) is even flimsier than usual..seems the arms of this "liberal" administration aren't very "liberal" after all...and just a crazy coincidence that the target happened to work for Fox, eh? Once one recovers from brief astonishment, then the "Creep Factor" really sets in....Smells like Nixon all over.

    May 26, 2013 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  17. Black Run America

    This is what happen when you have black run America. Look what they done to any city where black leaders became mayors. From prosperous cities, became desparate ghettos.

    May 26, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  18. Jamie

    So.. Let me get this straight... President Obama....... Ordered Eric Holder..... To investigate......... Eric Holder!? O_o This Era of being a Democrat has completely changed my voting status. I voted the first time for Obama. Not the 2nd... This is completely insane!

    May 26, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  19. H

    no svann thats not how it works going to a federal judge is like your mom being the principal its there own appointed judges are you kidding me.

    May 26, 2013 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  20. Big Bird Johnson

    Why does this guy still have a job? Throw him in prison and lose the key.

    May 26, 2013 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  21. eleanor

    Freedom of the press and national security protection are bound to clash at times. Sometimes lines are crossed, and people are held accountable, as they should be! We are far from becoming a police state.

    May 26, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  22. Matt

    The real news story here is Holder actually acknowledging he was aware of something happening in his agency,

    May 26, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  23. fekt

    Three years Fox was aware of the subpoenas. Why would they not want to break a story about phone records being tracked when this occurred. What possible reason would NEWSCORP have for not wanting to release the details of a scandal involving phones being tapped? Oh yeah, right. I remember now. Darn that selective amnesia. You want to know the difference between this phone story and the other one they didn't come forward with three years ago. This one involved the leaking of classified materials. This one involved due process and the man being subpoenad. There was no tap just a request for his phone records. The other one involved the same news corporation whining now illegally hacking the phone of dozens of people and using it to create news stories including the hacking of a dead little girls emails and deleting them so they could get more. This one involved a government going through the established legal process and the other one a group of criminials breaking the laws. Somehow they weren't aware of either. The one they did and the one they were notified of with a certified letter, an email, and a fax to their headquarters and the one they themselves were doing.
    You want to know what it is to intimidate the press? Go as a journalist in Russia what it means to break a story on the government involving classified information that makes it look bad. Ask them if having your phone records checked with a subponea is any worse than being killed. Ask them if not spending a single day in jail or receiving any fines is more intimdating than being shot down on your drive to work.
    It's funny that the people whining like children now over this and calling it intimidation have the audacity to call their political rivals weak willed.

    May 26, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  24. FubarObama

    This is a political witch hunt. The biggest NationalnSecurity leaks in the US history have come under this administration. The root cause of the problem is THE ADMINISTRATION

    May 26, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  25. zaqaz

    Still moderating with an iron fist, CNN. Good for you. That must help with the inadequacy complex you clearly suffer.

    May 26, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
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