Government Spied on Fox News Reporter in Leak Probe

The Department of Justice obtained the e-mail and phone records of a Fox News reporter in 2010 as part of its investigation of a State Department leak about North Korea, the Washington Post reports.

James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox, was targeted by Justice officials investigating State Department arms expert Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. That probe began after Rosen reported in June 2009 that “that U.S. intelligence officials were warning that North Korea was likely to respond to United Nations sanctions with more nuclear tests,” according to the Post‘s Anne E. Marimow. Rosen’s article at was filed the same day that a top-secret report on North Korea’s nuclear program “was made available to a small circle within the intelligence community — including Kim.” According to documents in the Kim case obtained by the Washington Post, federal agents obtained phone and e-mail records for Rosen, as well as records of the Fox reporter’s use of a State Department security-badge swipe card:

FBI investigators used the security-badge data, phone records and e-mail exchanges to build a case that Kim shared the report with Rosen soon after receiving it, court records show.
In the documents, FBI agent Reginald Reyes described in detail how Kim and Rosen moved in and out of the State Department headquarters at 2201 C St. NW a few hours before the story was published on June 11, 2009.
“Mr. Kim departed DoS at or around 12:02 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:03 p.m.,” Reyes wrote. Next, the agent said, “Mr. Kim returned to DoS at or around 12:26 p.m. followed shortly thereafter by the reporter at or around 12:30 p.m.”
The activity, Reyes wrote in an affidavit, suggested a “face-to-face” meeting between the two men. “Within a few hours after those nearly simultaneous exits and entries at DoS, the June 2009 article was published on the Internet,” he wrote.

The FBI’s investigation of Rosen pre-dated by nearly two years the Justice Department’s actions against Associated Press in 2012, which was apparently focused on the wire service’s reports about how the U.S. stopped a Yemen-based terrorism plot. Appearing on the CBS Face the Nation program Sunday, AP president Gary Pruitt said the actions of federal investigators in that case were unconstitutional: “They’ve been secretive; they’ve been overbroad and abusive — so much so that taken together, they are unconstitutional because they violate our First Amendment rights.”