According to The Washington Post, the Department of Justice examined Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal emails, phone records, and visits to the State Department in order to investigate a leak of classified information. Rosen came to the attention of the DOJ after writing an article about CIA analysis of how North Korea might respond to sanctions. The DOJ traced the leak back to State Department worker Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who now faces charges for leaking intel. Unlike the AP investigation, however, it was thought that the reporter may also face charges as a “co-conspirator.” However, statements made Tuesday by White House spokesman Jay Carney indicate that the Fox News reporter is likely off the hook.
The Kim case began in June 2009, when Rosen reported that U.S. intelligence officials were warning that North Korea was likely to respond to United Nations sanctions with more nuclear tests. The CIA had learned the information, Rosen wrote, from sources inside North Korea.
The story was published online the same day that a top-secret report was made available to a small circle within the intelligence community — including Kim, who at the time was a State Department arms expert with security clearance.
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.
Rosen and Kim used coded signals in emails to communicate, “One asterisk means to contact them, or that previously suggested plans for communication are to proceed as agreed; two asterisks means the opposite.”
According to the affidavit, Rosen also wrote: “What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking news ahead of my competitors” including “what intelligence is picking up.” Also: “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.”
Investigators who viewed computer records also found that someone who had logged in with Kim’s user profile viewed the classified report “at or around” the same time two calls were placed from his desk phone to Rosen, according to the documents.
According to an AFP report on Tuesday, President Obama does not want journalists prosecuted for doing their jobs, his spokesman Jay Carney said, amid a furor over a Fox News reporter caught up in a Justice Department leak probe.
Via Raw Story:
While declining to comment on specific cases, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama was deeply committed to freedom of the press, enshrined in the First Amendment to the US constitution.
“The president believes this deeply — that the press is allowed to pursue investigative journalism freely. He is a fierce defender of the First Amendment, of press freedom, and will continue to be.
“If you’re asking me whether the president believes that journalists should be prosecuted for doing their jobs, the answer is no.”
Carney, a former Time magazine reporter, was hammered over Rosen’s case in his daily briefing on Monday, and said he had subsequently talked to his boss about the issue to further divine his thoughts.
While it seems that Rosen is off the hook, Mr. Kim is not likely to be so lucky.
Last week, Obama argued that there was a balance to be struck between press freedoms and the lives of covert US operatives overseas.
“Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,” Obama said.
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