Report: Justice Department targeted TWO Fox News Channel reporters and a producer for talking with government sources
— Inspector General report found agents read emails, tracked phone records
— Reporters James Rosen and WIlliam LaJeunesse, 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
The Fox News Channel is outraged over new revelations that three of its reporting staffers were targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice in criminal investigations related to their attempts to obtain information from government sources.
James Rosen, the network’s chief Washington correspondent, has become a First Amendment cause celebre over his treatment by the Obama administration. But the DOJ, Fox says, also investigated the Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter William LaJeunesse and Fox News producer Mike Levine.
Rosen, according to affidavits filed by FBI agents, was considered a possible criminal co-conspirator.
The Washington Post reported 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.
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.
LaJeunesse 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.
LaJeunesse 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 …’
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