May 25th, 2013
07:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Sources: News Corp long aware of Fox News subpoenas

Updated Monday 5/27 3:00 a.m. ET

(CNN)– The parent company of Fox News was aware years ago that the Justice Department was targeting one of its reporters in a leak investigation, sources said.

One law enforcement source said the Justice Department notified a media organization three years ago of a subpoena for detailed telephone records, and a second told CNN that organization was Fox News.

After that news broke, a Fox News executive said the Justice Department notified Fox's parent company News Corporation of the subpoena in May 2010.  But Fox News itself apparently never got the word.

The subpoena came as the Justice Department was investigating Stephen Kim, a former State Department worker accused of the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information to James Rosen, a Fox News reporter.

It is standard procedure for Justice Department officials to notify news organizations when they subpoena an outlet or its reporters.

MORE: Choice of Holder to lead leak review questioned

CNN and other media outlets have previously reported a separate Justice Department query into Rosen's e-mails. With the approval of Attorney General Eric Holder, Justice officials obtained a warrant from a federal judge to access Rosen's e-mails.

While Fox News is now acknowledging that the Justice Department notified its parent company about the phone records search, that notice apparently did not include anything about the separate search of Rosen's e-mail.

"In the investigation that led to the indictment of Stephen Kim, the government issued subpoenas for toll records for five phone numbers associated with the media," a law enforcement source told CNN. "Consistent with Department of Justice policies and procedures, the government provided notification of those subpoenas nearly three years ago by certified mail, facsimile and e-mail."

News Corporation spokesman Nathaniel Brown responded Sunday night in a carefully worded statement.

“While we don't take issue with the DOJ's account that they sent a notice to News Corp, we do not have a record of ever having received it,” Brown said.  “We are looking into this matter.”

In a New York Times article, Lawrence A. Jacobs, a former chief legal officer for News Corporation, said he never saw a notification about the phone records.  He left the post in June 2011.

“I would have remembered getting a fax from the Justice Department,” Jacobs told the Times in an interview on Sunday. “These are not the kinds of things that happen every day.”

Fox has said it learned of the warrant for e-mails only recently, and newly released court documents show the government was trying to keep the investigation under seal.  The network did not disclose to its viewers that the phone records had been subpoenaed.

The government's notice did not detail the extent of the investigation, in which the government labeled Rosen a possible co-conspirator. 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.

The Justice Department has come under scrutiny this month as news broke of two government probes into reporters' records. Besides the Rosen case, the Associated Press announced the department had dug into the phone records of its reporters, including work, cell, and home lines.

–CNN's Julie Cannold contributed to this report

Filed under: Fox News • Justice Department
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Jason

    Yet again, another example of our government overstepping it's boundaries.

    May 25, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Zoglet

    this puts a new spin on Fox's cries!

    May 25, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Dave in NC

    Well now isn't that interesting !!!! Wonder what the tin foil hats will think of this one......

    May 25, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. bc

    I like how they say 'the knew' and then say 'they could have found out' later in the article...

    May 25, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. matttwithonet


    May 25, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |

    I'm shocked! Fox hid facts in order to make the Preident and Justice Dept. Look bad and appear to be victims? Next time Justice should use News Ccorp tactics and just hack email accounts.

    May 25, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. MilitaryAF

    Since the e-mail, registered letter, and fax didn't have anything to do with trying to bring down the Obama administration, FOX simply ignored it. They had more important things on their minds.

    May 25, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Dan

    Only the people who worked in the lobby at Fox had this information.
    Noone told any of the people close to the CEO of Fox. Mr Alles knew nothing.
    Therefore, like Obama, not knowing must mean they are innocent

    May 25, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Gary

    Of course Fox didn't tell it's viewers. Fox doesn't want them to know what the rest of the world knows. They are a lying, Crooked and unethical propaganda network. Indict the reporter too!

    May 25, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. Anton

    Fox not publishing something they know???

    Impeach the rethuglican's...

    May 25, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Mike

    My sources tell me Holder was the source.

    May 25, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. Name

    Putting out the Obama push back
    With unnamed sources
    Sort of ironic

    May 25, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  13. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Republicans probably won't get shrill over the Fox News scandal.

    May 25, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. Austin

    I am so shocked that Fox News lied to their viewers and manipulated facts... (Sarcasm)

    May 25, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Darth cheney

    Well, how about that? Could it be that Fox was playing politics with this pseudo-scandal? Nah...

    May 25, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. concerned citizen

    it's pretty obvious that the regime wanted to spy on the media.

    fas·cism noun \ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm

    Definition of FASCISM

    often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    May 25, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Guest

    So their timing is political, fine. It is no less chilling to see the executive branch try to intimidate any part of the press.

    May 25, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. billybill

    Who cares if fox news knew or not, it does not change the debate on the issue of DoJ's actions in any way.

    May 25, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. JOSH

    So what, are reporters beauty queens that cannot be disturbed? We are at war against terrorists who have put their sights in the USA and in war times everything is justified. Why American citizens are spied, their phones tapped, their e-mails read? In the name of those same powers given to President BUSH and OBAMA to carry the war on terror. So just comply and stop whinning

    May 25, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. John Smyth

    Read the article.

    It never says FOX was notified, in fact, the judge responsible for the release of the info has apologized for the 18 month delay.

    This article is a crock.

    May 25, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. RJ

    Why am I not surprised?

    May 25, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Indyswimmer66

    Slimy FOX.

    May 25, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. YEAOK

    "Fox News was aware years ago that the Justice Department was targeting one of its reporters in a leak investigation"

    And yet the Justice Department continued to target the reporter for 3 more years...

    May 25, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. Semper Cogitatus

    Sure, folks like this happening to Fox, but once it's decided that the government can do this, that reporters sources are no longer confidential and protected by law, it won't apply only to news organizations you dislike.

    Either you protect sources or you don't that applies to Fox and to CNN and to bloggers and to everyone that reports news.

    May 25, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. Safejourney

    Surprise, surprise, Faux news lies again

    May 25, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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