- Documents reveal that federal agents spied on the phone records of his parents, who live on New York’s Staten Island
- Reporters James Rosen and William La Jeunesse, producer Mike Levine were the subject of subpoenas but never notified by the government
- Fox News says U.S. journalism ‘up until now has always been a free press’
- An FBI agent swore out an affidavit claiming that Rosen had broken the law, ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abetter and/or co-conspirator’
- New allegations add fuel to the fire started with a DOJ investigation into the Associated Press
PUBLISHED: 01:02 EST, 22 May 2013 | UPDATED: 01:02 EST, 22 May 2013
The revelations that the Justice Department targeted the emails of a Fox News reporter have become even more disturbing as even his parents were targeted in the probe, documents say.
It was uncovered on Monday that the network’s Washington, D.C. correspondent James Rosen – and two other staffers – had his phone records seized and emails read by federal agents.
The DOJ’s actions have been blasted as a monumental violation of the freedom of the press, but the investigation went beyond the veteran journalist.
Citing federal documents on Tuesday, Fox News host Bret Baier referred to ‘seized phone records that relate to [Rosen’s] parents’ home in Staten Island.’
The Fox News Channel is outraged over the revelations that Rosen and fellow reporter William La Jeunesse – along with producer Mike Levine – were targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice in criminal investigations related to their attempts to obtain information from government sources.
Rosen has become a First Amendment cause celebre over his treatment by the Obama administration.
Rosen, according to affidavits filed by FBI agents, was considered a possible criminal co-conspirator.
Fox News’s Shannon Bream (R) and Megyn Kelly (L) broke the news Monday that the DOJ had targeted three of their journalist colleagues in criminal investigations for seeking classified information from willing government sources
The Washington Post reported on Monday morning that Rosen was the subject of a Department of Justice probe in relation to his reporting about North Korea’s likely reactions to new UN sanctions in 2009.
Federal investigators read his personal emails, obtained his phone records, and tracked his comings and goings through government buildings.
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An FBI agent filed an affidavit in that case claiming that he thought Rosen had broken the law, ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abetter and/or co-conspirator.’
None of the three journalists targeted by the Obama administration was notified that the government was spying on his records and emails.
‘All three of our colleagues say they were never contacted by the government,’ Fox News Channel correspondent Shannon Bream reported on Monday afternoon.
La Jeunesse and Levine were targeted in a separate Department of Justice investigation into leaks related to Operation Fast and Furious, a scandal-plagued DOJ program that sent illicit guns across the Mexican border to drug cartels in the hope of tracing the guns’ path to the narcotics gangs.
The federal government lost track of the majority of approximately 2,000 firearms that were allowed to cross the southern U.S. border. More than 300 deaths in Mexico, and the death of at least one U.S. Border Patrol agent, were linked to those weapons.
La Jeunesse broke stories outlining several key elements of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Monday’s Inspector General report from the DOJ directly quotes his emails, as well as some from Levine, the Fox News producer.
‘What we don’t know at this point,’ Bream reported, ‘is if the sources within the Justice Department may have shared those emails with investigators, or if the Fox employees’ accounts were directly accessed by investigators. It’s simply a question we cannot answer at this point.’
Fox News Channel producer Mike Levine’s emails were read by DOJ investigators, but his employer isn’t certain whether it was the result of a subpoena, or of agents swapping information inside Main Justice
Fox News Channel released a pointed statement from executive vice president of news editorial Michael Clemente.
‘We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter,’ Clemente said. ‘In fact, it is downright chilling.’
‘We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press.’
The news broke as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was preparing to deliver his daily briefing to reporters, but with correspondents away from their television sets and unaware of the development, questions focused on the first incarnation of the Obama administration’s press freedom scandal, involving the Associated Press.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney fended off questions about the press freedom scandal on Monday, claiming President Obama aims to balance the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with the need to protect state secrets
Attorney General Eric Holder has denied having any knowledge of a probe in his agency that saw the phone records of approximately 20 AP employees turned over to federal investigators who sought to determine who had leaked information about the CIA’s role in a foiled terror plot in Yemen.
Holder claimed in a congressional hearing last week that he had recused himself from the investigation since he himself was interviewed as a possible suspect or witness.
Carney has denied that Obama was informed about that probe, and said Monday that the president ‘is committed to the press’s ability to pursue information and protecting the First Amendment.
Obama is ‘also mindful,’ he added, ‘of secret and classified information needing to stay secret and classified for national security reasons
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