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. Henderso892

    So once again, Fixed News does what it does best and whips up fake outrage.

    May 25, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. Texas

    Sucker punched once again.

    May 25, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  3. Peter

    I wonder why they didn't say anything way back then?

    May 25, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. William

    Another Fox lie, so what else is new?

    May 25, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. Brian

    What a joke comment section

    May 25, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. Ceswho

    Read between the lines in this article. "one law enforcement source said theJustice Dept notified "A" media
    Organization (not necessisarily Fox News) and a second source tol CNN it was Fox News. Nowhere does it state that Fox was notified. Until there is proof Fox was notified I consider it more obfuscation from this administration.

    May 25, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  7. jason r

    Whatever it takes to discredit your opponent, huh.

    So let me get this straight, you obtained this information from a Justice Dept. official, the same place that's doing whatever it can to cover its tracks.

    You're right, makes perfect sense to me...

    May 25, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  8. James

    Fox News lied in their reporting? Acted shocked about something they already knew? Yellow journalism at its worst...

    May 25, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. Eddie Marriage

    Hmm - private enterprise media lying to its viewers (re: "the network did not disclose to its viewers that the phone records had been subpoenaed.") - lying by omission is still lying.

    But then, like I said, it's private enterprise.

    So what do you expect.

    May 25, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  10. Tammy Lozano

    Time to jump ship ifF you are an employee of FOX news!
    I believe certain people at FOX news will continue to serve their own agendas by reporting inaccurate information. Its a sad day for a once viable news station.

    May 25, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  11. Brian

    courteous discussion is not allowed if it is a fact?

    May 25, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  12. Gregory

    Is anyone surprised that Fox 'News' didn't report to their audience that the phone records had been subpoenaed. That kind of information goes against their narrative.

    May 25, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  13. Jesse

    No matter what just doesn't look good. Time to develop tradecraft. Burn phones, ghost email accounts, meeting in zoos with all of those cages and trees.

    May 25, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. Kyle Angeles

    Le'ts see if Fox News owns up, or continues with it's witch hunt...

    May 25, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  15. Reckless

    I guess Fox has selective memory, or should I say reporting. I don't think the DOJ has or had any intention or prosecuting reporters. They simply want to find the leaks in the government, which is completely reasonable.

    May 25, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  16. Riff Raff Ruff

    Very interesting that Obama and Holder sought warrants to do covert surveillance on US media when Bill Clinton refused to give the same warrant to allow the NSA and FBI do surveillance on Muhammad Atta because he thought it might tork off the Saudi government.

    May 25, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. dd

    Interesting that Obama has resorted to coercion using mulitple branches of his administration to attack opponents. This is something that happens in Russia and China every day. Now we have a US President doing it. Is the US media also state run, like Russia's and China's! Is the US news media corrupt and run by Obama?

    May 25, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. Dennis

    This is what happens when a subpoena is issued,then disregarded,and then turned into a "scandal" that somehow the White House is involved in..Pathetic coverage of an "event" by Fox News to say the least.They are not a news source but merely a propaganda machine for Rupert Murdock and his cronies on the right.

    May 25, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. Aunt Bunny

    Fox knew of the Justice Department spying on them three years ago? Well, that makes it all right then. Nothing to see here. Don't worry your pretty little Soviet heads about any of these scandals in the Obama Administration. Big government is good for you. You should take it and be thankful. Take it and love it.

    May 25, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  20. David

    Theater for the uninformed

    May 25, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  21. MaryM

    Big Surprise, No, say its not so, Fox lies again.

    May 25, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  22. greatwhitehope

    The lileral left wingers don't know what to say now that the FOX ' Devils' didn't whine like babies the way AP did?

    May 25, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  23. Sean

    Bahh! WRepublicans are blah! and liberals are blah! Grr! Words!!!! More words!

    May 25, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. The Contentious Otter

    Ironic that FOX News seems so outraged over one of their reporters being surveyed yet they had absolutely nothing to say about reporters from their own organization hacking into the cell-phone and e-mail accounts of private individuals.

    The Justice Department investigates a reporter who may be acquiring sensitive information from a federal official and the GOP is up in arms. A FOX News reporter hacks the cell phone of a dead girl and deletes the messages which represent the last words she's known to have spoken to her parents and Conservatives brush it off as "no big deal".

    May 25, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. Skarphace

    First, Republicans put pressure on our Justice Department to investigate the leaks. Then, when these leaks lead to their propaganda machine Fox News, they balk and try to make the investigation that they called for seem like a witch hunt.

    Nobody else is surprised at this hypocracy.

    May 25, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
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