Leak probe notification in question
May 29th, 2013
11:56 AM ET
2 years ago

Leak probe notification in question

Updated Wednesday 5/29 at 1:59 p.m. ET

Washington (CNN) – Questions over whether or not the government notified the parent company of Fox News about an investigation into one of its reporters continued to swirl Wednesday as the Justice Department's review of leak probes was set to begin.

The agency is battling accusations of overreach in its attempt to quash leaks of sensitive national security details to the press. In two separate cases, phone records of reporters were seized in a bid to ferret out officials who were providing classified information to the media.

In one case, Fox News reporter James Rosen's private e-mails and phone records were tracked, along with his movements through the State Department, in a search to locate who leaked secret intelligence information about North Korea.

A law enforcement official insisted Tuesday the government notified Fox's parent company News Corp. that it was issuing a subpoena for two days of phone records in 2009. Justice Department policy requires those types of notifications to be delivered via certified mail, fax, and e-mail.

The official said on August 27, 2010, two separate notifications were sent to Lawrence Jacobs, then the general counsel for News Corp. An e-mail also was sent to Rosen on the same day notifying him of the subpoena, the official said.

The official request, according to this official, was for toll records which would show what numbers were dialed from five phone lines associated with Rosen, and also the phone numbers of the calls received. The records would not reveal any content from conversations.

But Jacobs, speaking to CNN Tuesday, said he doesn't remember receiving any notification from the Justice Department about a subpoena.

"I have no recollection of receiving anything from the Department of Justice," Jacobs said. "It's the kind of thing I would remember."

Jacobs said officials currently working at News Corp. told him they searched his old files but found nothing to indicate he or anyone else had received a notice from the Justice Department about subpoenas for phone records.

"I am not suggesting the Department of Justice is lying," said Jacobs. But he said if notifications were sent he doesn't know what happened to them and why no one recalls getting them.

On Saturday a Fox News executive told CNN that the outlet's parent company, News Corporation, was notified of the subpoena by the Justice Department in May of 2010, but "it never found its way to Fox News."

The investigation into Rosen centered on a 2009 leak of intelligence related to North Korea and the potential ramifications of imposing further sanctions on the country. Investigators searched Rosen's phone records, e-mails, and security badge logs at the State Department in the course of their probe.

In a separate case, phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors were seized as the government attempted to find out who leaked classified information about a terrorist plot based in Yemen.

The dual instances of reporters' phone records being seized by the government have drawn new scrutiny to how President Barack Obama's administration is handling their battle against government leakers.

Last week Obama said he was "troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable," and announced Holder as the leader of a new review into government practices and procedures in investigating journalists.

Part of that review will begin this week as Holder meets with the chiefs of Washington news bureaus. The meetings will later extend to representatives from a wide range of media outlets, including newspapers, wire services, radio and television broadcasters, and online organizations.

A Justice Department official said executives and general counsels of media companies would be included in later discussions along with intelligence experts from within the government. Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole will participate in the meetings, the official said.

But some lawmakers have questioned whether Holder should be responsible for conducting the review, since he was directly involved in the decision to seek a search warrant to search the Fox reporter's e-mail records. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed skepticism at Holder's impartiality on Sunday talk shows.

"You cannot investigate yourself, and I think it's a total conflict of interest," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Holder also faces questions from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who are looking into whether the attorney general lied under oath earlier this month when he said he wasn't involved in the "potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material."

"That is not something I've ever been involved in, heard of, would think would be wise policy," Holder said at the May 15 hearing.

It has since been reported that Holder signed off on the Justice Department's decision to seek a search warrant for Rosen's private e-mails. The affidavit used to obtain that warrant said there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he solicited classified information from the government source.

"The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen's emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee," wrote Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in a letter to Holder Wednesday.

"It is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants," read the letter from Goodlatte, who also requested Holder answer a series of questions on the matter by June 5.

An FBI affidavit used to obtain the warrant for Rosen's e-mails said there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he allegedly received a leaked classified report from a State Department contractor. The affidavit described Rosen as potentially being an "aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator" to the crime of disclosing government secrets, opening up criticism that the Obama administration was targeting Rosen.

However, the Justice Department did not prosecute Rosen, nor did it file charges against him. While he was listed as a "co-conspirator," that often times does not mean he would be considered a target.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that no prosecution ever took place in the case involving Rosen and Fox News, and therefore it was "self-evident" that any charge Holder lied to the House panel was "inaccurate."

Implying that Republicans were playing politics on the matter, Carney said reporters should "be careful not to conflate facts with statements by members of Congress about what they want to be true." Pressed further, he added that reporters were "conflating a subpoena with prosecution."

Asked if Obama still had full confidence in the attorney general, Carney replied: "He absolutely does, yes."

CNN's Carol Cratty, Kevin Liptak, Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh, Tom Cohen and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Eric Holder • Justice Department
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Bwahahaha!!!!! Right. He "has no recollection of receiving the notifications." That's not carefully worded at all.

    May 29, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material."

    FOR DISCLOSURE.

    "there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he allegedly received the leaked classified information."

    FOR RECEIVING/OBTAINING/SOLICITING.

    You want to talk perjury, then it inherently involves accurately understanding the semantics and meaning of what was said, not just trumping up out-of-context quotes...splitting them between paragraphs to make them less easy to understand...and then willy-nilly leveling accusations of someone purposefully presenting false testimony because you're on the warpath and looking for scalps. Moreover, Rosen has not been arrested nor charged nor prosecuted and there is zero evidence that was the intent of the affidavit, the warrant or the investigation. This the GOP/Teatrolls retreating to "he lied" because the truth isn't what they wanted to hear.

    May 29, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. just sayin

    An FBI affidavit used to obtain the warrant for Rosen's e-mails said there was probable cause the reporter had broken the law when he allegedly received a leaked classified report from a State Department contractor. The affidavit described Rosen as potentially being an "aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator" to the crime of disclosing government secrets, opening up criticism that the Obama administration was targeting Rosen.
    However, the Justice Department did not prosecute Rosen, nor did it file charges against him. While he was listed as a "co-conspirator," that often times does not mean he would be considered a target.
    ---

    so holder and the justice dept. lied in their affadvit in order to get the release of this information. i believe two judges turned this request down before they shopped around and found a willing lackey third judge. isn't lying on affadvit's a criminal offense?

    May 29, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Anderson

    I would investigate (fox news) also.
    If they were to get their hands on secret intelligence information about North Korea and reported it on TV, it could've put our men amd

    May 29, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. rs

    The problem here is the leak, or the leaks of sensitive information. Leaks that the minority leader in the Senate Mr. McConnell demanded "had to stop". At issue is not the process taken by the Justice Dept. to find the person or persons responsible. The powers used by the Justice Department are well within the scope of the law. That the (foreign-owned) FOX News either failed to realize it had been notified of the investigation or "forgot" is immaterial, and in fact, rather funny given their penchant for simply making stuff up and reporting it as "news".
    The GOP/TP can't have it both ways- the "leaks must stop" will logically be followed by invesitigations into individual reporters handling the leaked data. It simply is too bad that the GOP's newsmen got caught up in the very activity the GOP says they wanted stopped.

    May 29, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    " i believe two judges turned this request down before they shopped around and found a willing lackey third judge"

    Appropriate use of the appeal process for interlocutory matters is not "shopping around." It's an inherent part of the judicial process and a RIGHT accorded every petitioner. You guys will truly stop at nothing to mischaracterize things just to suit your misinformation campaigns.

    May 29, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "i believe two judges turned this request down before they shopped around and found a willing lackey third judge"

    The appeal process is not "shopping around." It's an inherent part of the judicial process and a RIGHT accorded every petitioner. You guys will truly stop at nothing to mischaracterize things just to suit your misinformation campaigns.

    May 29, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    On Saturday a Fox News executive told CNN that the outlet's parent company, News Corporation, was notified of the subpoena by the Justice Department in May of 2010, but "it never found its way to Fox News."
    -----------------------
    just saying......the hyper right is all up in arms about something which is their own fault.

    May 29, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. 1108

    Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    On Saturday a Fox News executive told CNN that the outlet's parent company, News Corporation, was notified of the subpoena by the Justice Department in May of 2010, but "it never found its way to Fox News."
    -------–
    just saying......the hyper right is all up in arms about something which is their own fault.

    ---------------------
    just saying this isn't the real issue

    May 29, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    Witch hunt.

    May 29, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. just sayin

    gotta love all the smoke and mirror digressions from the lefties... the issue at hand is not whether anybody was notified of this. the real problem is that a reporter that was simply doing his job was named as a co-conspirator and the fact that holder lied about it to congress. how about all the obama and holder apologists address the real issues and not throw up your usual straw man agruments?

    May 29, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    from the article:
    On Saturday a Fox News executive told CNN that the outlet's parent company, News Corporation, was notified of the subpoena by the Justice Department in May of 2010, but "it never found its way to Fox News."
    -------–
    just saying......the hyper right is all up in arms about something which is their own fault.
    --

    then the justice dept. should have absolutely no problem producing these notifications if they were indeed sent. to date they have produced nothing. the burden is one them to prove they acted within the law. they have already proven too many times they have not so they should not be given the benefit of the doubt. prove it.

    May 29, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    just saying wrote:

    However, the Justice Department did not prosecute Rosen, nor did it file charges against him. While he was listed as a "co-conspirator," that often times does not mean he would be considered a target.
    -

    so holder and the justice dept. lied in their affadvit in order to get the release of this information. i believe two judges turned this request down before they shopped around and found a willing lackey third judge. isn't lying on affadvit's a criminal offense?
    -------------------
    So, under the Obama administration the reporter was neither charged, nor arrested. Under the Bush administration, the reporter was arrested and thrown in jail for declining to reveal sources concerning a whistle blower. BTW, the current "leak" is not about whistle blowers, either. It's about a criminal leak of sensitive national security data.

    May 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "the hyper right is all up in arms about something which is their own fault."

    Now now, Rudy, the article isn't about the recession, unemployment rate and redistribution of the nation's wealth upwards. Let's stay on topic haha :-)

    May 29, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Sounds like an internal communication problem at News Corp...

    May 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. just sayin

    Rudy NYC
    So, under the Obama administration the reporter was neither charged, nor arrested.
    --

    totally irrelevant. if rosen wasn't named as a co-conspirator and a flight risk (lies) then the government wouldn't have gotten access to his records. the fact that he wasn't subsequently pursued only bolsters the argument that the government was totally disingenuous and deceitful in their affadavit. the person that signed that affadavit needs to be held to account, one eric holder. supposedly our top cop but in reality our top criminal.

    May 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    1108

    Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    On Saturday a Fox News executive told CNN that the outlet's parent company, News Corporation, was notified of the subpoena by the Justice Department in May of 2010, but "it never found its way to Fox News."
    ---–
    just saying......the hyper right is all up in arms about something which is their own fault.

    -------
    just saying this isn't the real issue
    =================================================
    Remarkable. Facts are not the issue.

    May 29, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. The Elephant in the Room

    Police take advantage of labeling someone a suspect to get access to their homes, search their cars, pressure them into giving up their rights all the time. If then they are deemed a relatively "little fish" or the prosecution [while still legally justifyable] isn`t worth the nusance that the imagery would present, the charges are OFTEN not pursued. If this treatmen of Leroy, Jo-Jo, or Rahem has been socially and culuturally accepted for the past 50 years, why should it be any different now that "Rahem" is now named "Rosen"; particularly when the infraction goes to the "ultimate" behavior [patriotism/keeping classified secrets] that we ALL expect from an American?

    ItLs no different. The press has a role to play in Making people aware of what is going on. the Press DOES NOThave a Constitutionally protected amnesty to break the law, reveal classified information, or get a pass for adversely impacting National Security under the excuse of "I was only doing my job". The media risks a backlash from us with this "over-reach" of their own view of their self importance.

    May 29, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "the person that signed that affadavit needs to be held to account, one eric holder"

    You're an idiot. It was attested to by an FBI agent, not Holder.

    May 29, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. GOP witch hunt is not over yet

    why let the facts get in the way of a good lie. News corps. new mantra.

    May 29, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Chaerlotte

    Oh, right. "Gee, we don't remember anything like that!" Despite the certified letter evidence. Despite the facts. C'mon, Thugturds, you're hoist on your own petard and your only response is "DID NOT!!!" When there's in fact plenty of proof that indeed, they did. Only your fatuous, slobbering base will stand with you on this. You're going to get your backsides thrown out of the courtroom. Hopefully with a bill for court costs.

    May 29, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Chaerlotte

    @Just Sayin' -- "Lies" Really? Are you just pulling this out of your rear orifice or do you have actual knowledge that is germane to the case? If so, they'll haul you, backside orifice and all, into court to enlighten them and deservedly so. If not – then you're just blowing out of that aforementioned orifice because you don't like seeing your heroes exposed as the dishrags that they are. Sad that people like you even have an internet connection.

    May 29, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. jpmichigan

    It seems to me that DOJ has abused their authority. Shop for a Judge who would sign off, after 2 said no. They are after reporters that are covered by the 1st amendment, if you want to stop the leaks, look at the White House they leaked out the Seal got Osama, how/when to make the President look good. Why didn't the DOJ go after them? The Obama administration is totally out of control!

    May 29, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. LoveInvestigationsOfObozoAndCompany

    Yes, yes, yes, the over-reaching left wing tax-and-spenders on the ropes – hopefully for 3.5 more years. Reap what you have sown, Obozo – divide, divide, divide, demonize, demonize, demonize – how's that feeling to you now, Mr. "no compromise", just tax, tax, tax and spend, spend, spend – I think the GOP is going to show you investigate, investigate, investigate – better hope something doesn't shake out of the trees and REALLY ruin your day – meanwhile, sic em Issa – stop the left wing agenda in it's tracks.

    May 29, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    just sayin

    gotta love all the smoke and mirror digressions from the lefties... the issue at hand is not whether anybody was notified of this. the real problem is that a reporter that was simply doing his job was named as a co-conspirator and the fact that holder lied about it to congress.
    ------------------–
    You do realize that this is not about whistleblowers, but rather criminal leaking of national security intel. So, you're telling us that it is a reporter's job at Fox News to attempt to break the law? To reveal top clearance secrets?

    Like I said earlier, the Bush administration wasn't bothering with the cloak and dagger stuff. They just locked you up.

    May 29, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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