Justice Department defends journalist email search

WASHINGTON Fri May 24, 2013 5:00pm EDT

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the United States Department of Justice'' on Capitol Hill in Washington May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Attorney General Eric Holder testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on ''Oversight of the United States Department of Justice'' on Capitol Hill in Washington May 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Justice Department said on Friday that senior officials including Attorney General Eric Holder vetted a decision to search an email account belonging to a Fox News reporter whose story on North Korea prompted a leak investigation.

In a statement emailed to Reuters, the department said the search warrant for the reporter's email account followed all laws and policies and won the independent approval of a federal magistrate judge.

The May 2010 search warrant for a Google email account belonging to James Rosen was revealed on Monday by The Washington Post and drew immediate concern from journalists because it describes Rosen as a suspected "co-conspirator" in the leak of secret government information.

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes said in a statement on Thursday that the Obama administration was attempting to intimidate Fox News and its employees.

Rosen's alleged source, former State Department analyst Stephen Kim, is scheduled to go to trial as soon as next year on charges that he violated an anti-espionage law. Rosen was not charged.

Prompted by the Rosen search and a separate seizure of Associated Press phone records, President Barack Obama said on Thursday that Holder would begin a new review of Justice Department procedures related to media records.

The latest Justice Department statement said the highest levels of the department were involved in the search warrant used in Kim's case. The process included discussions Holder took part in, according to the statement.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay reviewed and issued the search warrant at the department's request.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Eric Walsh and Jim Loney)

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Comments (50)
jimst wrote:
What a joker. This guy concocts any excuse to stifle free speech and then refuses to provide any details. Does he even have a college degree?

May 24, 2013 4:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AttyJim wrote:
So, Eric Holder was against these probes of journalists’ telephone and email records… until it was discovered that he signed off on them, and now he’s justifying them? This nation is more and more like “Animal Farm” every day.

May 24, 2013 5:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Leave it to the AP and it’s reporters to leave out important facts. Like how the DOJ characterized Rosen a ‘flight risk’ and a ‘co-conspirator’ in order to trick a judge into signing off on the warrant.

I wonder if they even told the judge this was a prominent journalist.

May 24, 2013 7:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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