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. Ed

    Not the least bit surprised Fox news left out those important details. makes you wonder what their real agenda is.

    May 26, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. wm Scot

    Fox News should be investigated for treason !

    May 26, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. DC Young

    I wonder how they got a Judge to sign the warrant. Why would not a FEDERAL JUDGE know that this is a violation of the rights to Free Speech? Has anyone thought to check that avenue of thought?

    May 26, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Josh Thompson

    I love it! Keep doing what you are doing demo rats!

    May 26, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. elucidated1

    I don't like the fact that the government is investigating reporters. But I dislike even more, the fact that some reporters are receiving leaked information that may compromise our country.

    May 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Deathstalker74

    Who really cares if Newscorp knew about the investigation. The focus here should be on Holder and his attack on the press (not just FOX News), rather than whether or not FOX knew they were being investigated. This article is just an attempt at distracting people from the real scandal here.

    May 26, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. Becky

    the network did not and has not disclosed to its viewers that the phone records had been subpoenaed (3 years ago)
    What else is new. Terrible news station when political- totally unfair and unbalanced.

    May 26, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Jim

    Not the biggest fan of the editorial preferences of Fox News, but this is bogus. Reporters who report government secrets are not only doing a public service, but are absolutely protected by the first amendment. If the government wants to charge the leaker, that CAN be appropriate if the government secrets were appropriately classified. But intimidation of a free press is exactly what you expect from THE BAD GUYS! Unfortunately, this is just another example of a government that is out of control, and a Justice Department that is solely tasked with protecting the "rights" of the executive branch and delinquent in its duty to protect the rights of the people.

    May 26, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Anonymous

    But for the fact that this is the same media that takes pleasure out of intimidating, insulting, controlling, and otherwise mocking the very people it is making obscene profits from, I am not going to go all gaga over this "scandal".

    I include ALL media in my statement, not just FOX.

    May 26, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. K. in Miami

    This is basically proof that Fox News is not and should not be viewed as a professional news organization. Fox is an extension of the Tea Party, their extremism is on full display, they only cator to one segment of our society, only one race within our society, we all know what race they represent.

    May 26, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Rick

    I don't know what scares me more, an overpowering government or a reckless media. In the last twenty years, journalism from the major networks has been absolute garbage. It's more propaganda than it is news, because propaganda sells. And the general public is too stupid to question to integrity of the media, because everything they say is true and the government is the big bad guy. Modern media has been using the mantra of the political parties for ages. They don't let facts dictate their stories or their profits.

    May 26, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. fuzzynormal

    "But the press cannot be allowed to overthrow governments! This isn't democracy."

    Dude needs some more civics lessons, I think. The press can say just about anything it wants.

    May 26, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. dillweed7

    Two words.

    John Stewart

    May 26, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Will

    Fox 'News' (lol @ news) being exposed for lying about the administration? NOOO... NEVER!

    May 26, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. TR

    The difference between this story and the AP story is that in the case of the AP, they were not notified ahead of time that the employees work AND personal phone and email communications were being examined. This is why FOX news made such a big deal out of it...and this is why our state run, i mean running this story to discredit FOX News. "Divide and conquer"...

    May 26, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Mike

    Too funny. After all the feigned outrage . . .

    May 26, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. gord

    fox news reminds me of 1930 germany ,they would love to get a war going –in america

    May 26, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Aaron

    The reazon its clsasified information its because if it falls inthe hands of terrorists or enemys of our country ot could have our soldiers killed, fox news made our country weaker by publicicing that info. one thing is freedom of speach another is treazon , whats next fox? displaying a list of our C.I.A assets in onther countrys? or the secret codes to our defence systems?,,,, realy patriotic ,,,idiots

    May 26, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Marie MD

    Imagine that, faux news being investigating for anything. How much lower can the government go?
    Take them and all their so called news hounds down!
    News organization are not above the law and if they receive "leaked" information the question is why and from whom?

    May 26, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. Hindsight 20/20

    Is it really ok to leak govt secrets? What's the point in that? It's like shooting yourself in the foot. I'd recall how dumb it was when news outlets would give out info on our troops in the middle east. All the enemy would have to do is watch our news channels. Now people are defending govt leaks as 1st amendment. You think all these reporters can do no wrong? Are they supposed to do whatever they want? That's a recipe for abuse.

    May 26, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. penguin

    All persons working for Fox News should be waterboarded 118 times. Then we'll know what they really think of that method of interrogation

    May 26, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. db

    If Fox actually had journalists, this would be a story.

    May 26, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. yogi

    Those who are posting here that don't see anything wrong with Fox, show clearly how successful that "news" organization has been with brainwashing their audience. Integrity is a blind spot in their world.

    May 26, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. ekg

    Oy Vey. I am so tired of hearing "the press is supposed to expose gov't secrets".. Yes, they are. Gov't secrets as in ... watergate.. Gov't secrets where the gov't is trying to hurt the people of it's country. Where they are trying to usurp some law or corrupt the system.. That is what the 'free press' is for. But that's not what this is.. No one at Fox was breaking a story about a gov't corruption. Neither was the AP. Both were breaking stories that had only to do with National Security issues. Not gov't corruption.

    see the difference?

    Watergate=totally ok and awesome to report on because in that instance the Gov't was overreaching to the detriment of the system..

    AP's reporting ended an ongoing CIA investigation of Al Q. This was a national security leak that can put people in danger.. that is not covered under 'free-press'.. and the Right knows this.. How do we know they know this.. just ask Julian Assange and Wki-Leaks... the AP did the same thing Assange and his Wiki-leaks did and their aghast that they were investigated to find out who leaked an on going,covert,joint CIA mission in Yemen(not the most cooperative of places for the CIA to be investigating in either)? Holy Crap people would be outraged if there wasn't an investigation into this leak.. because who knows what the 'leaker' would tell next.. who would they tell? what resources would they burn by talking?

    No, sorry.. This is not the same as 'deep throat' giving Woodward the goods on Nixon's taping of the DNC... This is someone selling national security secrets for their own benefit. The AP should have know better.

    as for Rosen? He was meeting with a person who was already under surveillance for breaking the law. If any one of us were to meet with a drug dealer that was being watched by law enforcement, we too would be investigated to see what our connection was.. Just because Rosen had a 'press-pass' does not give him a 'get out of investigation free' card when it comes to selling national security secrets. If it does, then look for Al Q to start embedding US journalist so that they can get out being investigated by the CIA... and be ready to defend that practice.

    May 26, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  25. don in albuquerque

    Whats amazing here is how less then one year ago alot of the same people posting here wanted to take Julian Asange (sp) out, and hang him with a short rope! No difference here. People screamed Asange was reporting gov't secrets, has not Fox repeatedly done the same thing here, and in Great Britain? Did the Brits not pretty much prove that Fox (and or its associates) were illegally bugging peoples telephones? Fox should be considered a world Spying and Terrorist orgainzation, trading not only in illegally obtaining gov't information, but private citizens as well. Should they be investigated? Hell yes, and these people they jokingly call reporters, and the people that leaked info too them should be tried, put behind bars, or executed.

    May 26, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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