May 28, 2013
Responding to President Obama’s announcement that Attorney General Eric Holder would be conducting the investigation into the Department of Justice (DoJ) and review of federal guidelines regarding leaks, reporters and the press, Senator Tom Coburn said : “You cannot investigate yourself, and I think it’s a total conflict of interest.”
Last week, Holder appeared before the House Judicial Committee last week to explain the decision of the DoJ to subpoena journalist’s records that were tied to an investigation leak.
Holder said: “I do not know with regard to this particular case why that was or was not done….I am not familiar with the reasons why the email was disrupted in the way that it was. I have faith in the people who would actually be responsible for this case they were aware of the rules and they followed them. But I don’t have a factual basis to answer the question because I was recused.”
At the National Defense University, Obama spoke about counterterrorism and explained that Holder would be in charge of the investigation into governmental justification for violating FoxNews journalist James Rosen’s 1st Amendment Rights.
Obama said : “I have raised these issues with the attorney general, who shares my concern. So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and will convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review. And I have directed the attorney general to report back to me by July 12th.”
Holder personally signed off on the surveillance operation conducted on Rosen, which puts him in a direct conflict and negates his ability to remain objective while spear-heading an investigation.
Rosen is accused of soliciting and encouraging . . . “(a source) to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information”, according to sources. Obama labeled Rosen as a “co-conspirator” which speaks volumes about the current administration’s position on the freedom of the press.
For two months during 2012, the DoJ syphoned data pertaining to the incidents regarding their claim that the AP was in cahoots with al-Qaeda.
The story published by AP regarded how last spring the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was conducting an operation in Yemen to stop al-Qaeda from successfully obtaining a bomb and detonating it on an airplane in the US. AP apparently knew more about the operation than they should have.
In a written statement, the DoJ explained: “Those regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media. We must notify the media organization in advance unless doing so would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation. Because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and the public interest in the fair and effective administration of our criminal laws.”
Senator Lindsey Graham commented : “This would be a good time for a special counsel or independent counsel . . . This is clearly an overreach. We’re beginning to criminalize journalism, and I think that should worry us all.”
Graham continued: “James Rosen is a lot of things, but not a criminal co-conspirator. We’re beginning to criminalize journalism and I think that should worry us all.”
Senator Chuck Schumer pointed out that “the system is clearly broken. You always need set rules and an independent arbiter. We have neither now.”
According to a law enforcement source, the DoJ notified News Corp, the parent company of FoxNews, that they wanted to have access to private emails and phone records from specific journalists in 2010.
They assert that three months prior to this, a judge approved their subpoena for James Rosen’s phone records.
It appears that the target was purposeful and that NewsCorp knew about this well in advance. FoxNews was not told that there was a surveillance operation being conducted on one of their journalists.
Rosen was tracked through security-badge information swiped at the State Department. Stephen Jim-Woo Kim, adviser at the State Department, was also tracked the same way as Rosen.
The source explained : “In the investigation that led to the indictment of Stephen Kim, the government issued subpoenas for toll records for five phone numbers associated with the media. Consistent with Department of Justice policies and procedures, the government provided notification of those subpoenas nearly three years ago by certified mail, facsimile and e-mail.”
Gary Pruitt, president and chief executive officer of the Associated Press, said that the Department of Justice (DoJ) seizure of phone records from journalists has made sources unwilling to speak out because they cannot be guaranteed anonymity.
Pruitt said: “And if they restrict that apparatus … the people of the United States will only know what the government wants them to know and that’s not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.”