Obama’s attack against Fox News reporter James Rosen is a really, really big deal

James Rosen is a law abiding reporter for Fox News. However, the Obama administration falsely labeled him as “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation when it applied for a warrant to read his emails.

The New York Times wrote of this:

With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.

Leak investigations usually focus on the source, not the reporter. But, in this case, federal prosecutors also asked a federal judge for permission to examine Mr. Rosen’s personal e-mails, arguing that “there is probable cause to believe” Mr. Rosen is “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator” in the leak.

Though Mr. Rosen was not charged, the F.B.I. request for his e-mail account was granted secretly in late May 2010. The government was allowed to rummage through Mr. Rosen’s e-mails for at least 30 days.

Michael Clemente, the executive vice president of Fox News, said on Monday that it was “downright chilling” that Mr. Rosen “was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter.” Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, added on Tuesday that treating “routine news-gathering efforts as evidence of criminality is extremely troubling and corrodes time-honored understandings between the public and the government about the role of the free press.”

Obama administration officials often talk about the balance between protecting secrets and protecting the constitutional rights of a free press. Accusing a reporter of being a “co-conspirator”… shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and insufficient concern about a free press.

The Washington Post wrote of this:

The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of.

To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based. Guns? Privacy? Due process? Equal protection? If you can’t speak out, you can’t defend those rights, either.

Beyond that, the administration’s actions shatter the president’s credibility and discourage allies who would otherwise defend the administration against bogus accusations such as those involving the Benghazi “talking points.” If the administration is spying on reporters and accusing them of criminality just for asking questions — well, who knows what else this crowd is capable of doing?

My Post colleague Ann E. Marimow, who broke the Rosen story, obtained the affidavit by FBI agent Reginald Reyes seeking access to Rosen’s private e-mails. In the affidavit, Reyes stated that “there is probable cause to believe that the reporter has committed or is committing a violation” of the law against national security leaks. The affidavit detailed how the FBI had monitored Rosen’s comings and goings from the State Department and tracked his various phone calls with the suspected leaker, analyst Stephen Jin-Woo Kim.

Rosen’s supposed crime? Reyes got his evidence from an e-mail from the reporter: “I want to report authoritatively, and ahead of my competitors, on new initiatives or shifts in U.S. policy, events on the ground in [North Korea], what intelligence is picking up, etc. . . . I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses. . . . In short: Let’s break some news, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it, or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.”

That is indeed compelling evidence — of good journalism.

Obama is establishing an ominous precedent.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder lied under oath. He said that he had nothing to do with monitoring Rosen’s emails. But it turns out that it was Holder’s own signature on the search warrant.

Even the liberal Huffington Post is saying that Holder should be fired.

Holder could get five years in prison.

Obama did not fire Holder. Instead, Obama asked that Holder be investigated – not by an independent investigating committee – but by Holder himself.

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May 29, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Police state, Politics.

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