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. ericpone

    Surprise Surprise Surprise. Once again Foxnews is caught in an attempt to overthrow an elected government. Their approach is clearly a crossing of a line. Its one thing to plead freedom of the press. But the press cannot be allowed to overthrow governments! This isn't democracy.

    May 25, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  2. KEnny G.

    The free press hounding government employees who have confidential info and getting them to talk is the reason we have a free press. The free press tests the government.

    When a reporter is given confidential info, the reporter has the ability to go through a back route to contact someone in government and tell them that they have been given this info. The reported does not have to divulge their source or be called to testify. They can then get approval to report it, unless it would cause harm to people or the USA.

    Once this is done, the list of those government employees who have access to the confidential info could be generated and an investigation initiated.

    If it involves national security or espionage, the 4th amendment allows a probable cause of crime to be presented and a judge can issue a warrant to search and seize the communications of those involved.

    If the leaker is caught, then the free press has done a good job of finding untrustworthy federal employees or whistle blowers.

    This chilled the reporting community. Hopefully, government employees are being more prudent less reckless with classified info.

    We the people, the true patriots, already know to read with a grain of salt every report from the slanted "free" press.

    May 25, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  3. KEVIN

    It is the Federal Madistrate Judge who issued the warrants the should be under investigation

    May 26, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  4. Deb in MT

    "The network did not disclose to its viewers that the phone records had been subpoenaed."
    Well, of course not! What was FOX supposed to do, try to gin up faux outrage over the DOJ going through standard–LEGAL–procedures to obtain subpeonas from a judge? Heavens to Betsy!

    Curious that the FOX bigwigs knew this, and kept quiet...curious. They sat on the fact that legal procedures were in effect and that they had been notified–in triplicate, even–about the investigation, for 3 years. Yep, curious. Maybe the company bigwigs understood that FOX News wasn't interested in any of that fact-based stuff.

    May 26, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  5. Lupe Ramos

    Fox is so gung-ho and claims to be so patriotic that the fake news channel is willing to jeopardized national security to sensational its shows. The Cheney and Bush administration exposed CIA agent Valerie Plane, fired the federal attorneys for refusing to use false information against Democrats, NSA spying on average Americans, etc. Fox or Fake News is the propaganda machine for the Right Wing Tea Party and Republicans. Let us not forget that their very own Geraldo Rivera almost got some of our troops killed for televising sensitive military information.

    May 26, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  6. Jeremiah

    The press has a right to exist and to not be compelled from actively revealing its sources, BUT the Executive Branch of our government has a parallel right to keep sensitive, national security information secret (blame the Supreme Court, not me if you don't like it). If you are a reporter and you reveal classified information that you obtained from an inside source, be prepared to have your emails and records subpoenaed or looked into. Maybe it isn't right, but currently there is no law creating a privilege between a journalist and his/her source and with everyone having the ability to make a blog and thus stress the concept of "journalist," I'm not sure that there should be one.

    There is also no small amount of irony here that Fox News, an organization that repeatedly, loudly, and without question trumpeted and (continues to support) the notion that the Government should intrude upon the lives of Americans (Patriot Act, racial profiling, etc.) is complaining about the Government's abuse of power now that it finds itself on the short end of the stick. Albeit, there is a liberal black man in power so...

    Of course, there's absolutely no irony in Fox News playing the victim. They look for whatever cross du jour exists and promptly nail themselves to it, whining, moaning, and invoking the memories of George Washington and Ronald Raygun without ceasing. But...I bet I could find more than one instance of the Bush Administration subpoenaing journalists' emails and phone records. I bet I can find evidence that Reagan did it. Anyone want to bet that Obama is not the first president to do this?

    May 26, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  7. Lame stream media

    What's your point?

    May 26, 2013 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  8. Robin Jones

    Justice Department obfuscation (that's a fancy word for trying to cover things up by surrounding the facts by a lot of fuzzy language, weasel words, and unrelated and confusing information) continues.

    May 26, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. Larry L

    Anybody who discloses classified information unlawfully, Soldier, reporter, or any other traitor, needs to go to prison.

    May 26, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. USA

    Wow 🙂

    May 26, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  11. blakenaustin

    The far left media is amazing at the contortions they go through to withhold information, twist the facts, spin reality, and attempt to mislead the American people in order to promote their agenda. Suddenly this isn't about criminal activity by the Obama administration, it is about FOX news. Go figure.

    May 26, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. Eric Holduh

    Another day, another scandal.

    May 26, 2013 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  13. Scott

    Bet you won't find this article on Fox News.

    May 26, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. Anonymous

    So is fox crying? It appears this company does not have effective lateral information transmission or they were blowing off the government. either way, dumb!!

    May 26, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  15. Greenspam

    I don't get it. Why would Fox News miss a chance to embarrass Obama's Justice Dept?

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

    So . . . why no Justice Department or Obama Administration "conspiracy comments" from our Fox followers?

    May 26, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  17. Mak

    So in short Fox knew all along about this mess? That is definitely not what they have been reporting.

    May 26, 2013 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  18. Matt

    Fox is conservatives' propaganda outlet

    May 26, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  19. Thomas

    Rand Paul announces 2016 campaign

    he' a freshmen senator .

    Experienced , not

    May 26, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  20. rconatser1

    They actually got Fox News to admit the truth about something? Inconceivable!!!

    May 26, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  21. Kyle

    Who cares?

    May 26, 2013 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  22. Randy

    Why am I not surprised?

    May 26, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  23. Vicki

    When republicans from Fox are always wanting the lasted news and have a source in the government that will give up information that should not be released to news agencies they know that someone will notice and that is when the trouble will find you. James Rosen knew that. He was a decent man but he went over the line when the government was not ready to relieve that information he and his leaker were reporting information that they should not have had at that time.

    May 26, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  24. Carol

    Well, they have to go where the evidence is....

    May 26, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  25. jeff1951

    I am pleased that this story is coming out in drips and drabs. In this way, the public will be able to piece together the true nature of the facts and not the FOX spin on events.

    May 26, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
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