So, Attorney General Holder personally signed off on the warrant to search James Rosen’s emails. Rosen, a Fox News journalist, was targeted by the administration in 2009 in possible connection to a leak in the State Department over his story about North Korea. After this revelation, the DOJ seized Rosen’s phone records, personal emails, and even looked into his parents’ phone records. Holder has recused himself during the investigation into AP’s Yemen story, but this one, where he personally signed off on intruding into Rosen’s life and career, will put him straight in the crosshairs on Congress again – and rightfully so.
John Mirkinson of the Huffington Post reported on May 23 that:
Holder [is] at the center of one of the most controversial clashes between the press and the government in recent memory. The warrant he [Holder] approved named Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in a leak investigation, causing many to warn that the Justice Department was potentially criminalizing journalism. The warrant also approved the tracking of Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, as well as his communications with his source, Stephen Kim.
The Justice Department later said that it did not intend to press any charges against Rosen. The attorney general is usually required to approve requests to search journalists’ materials, but that rule does not extend to email records.
(Holder recused himself from the investigation into the Associated Press, meaning that he absolved himself of that responsibility.) Holder has previously said that he was not sure how many times he had authorized the search of journalists’ records.
The revelation came hours after President Obama said in a speech that he was concerned about the potential implications of the Fox News and AP investigations. Obama said that Holder would be reviewing the department’s rules for investigations that involve reporters.
Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, who’s also been covering this story, wrote on May 21 about the contents of the seized records.
[T]he government seized “call detail” records from Rosen’s work and cell phones, which would show whom he called, who called him, how long they spoke, and the times of the calls. The document suggests that the government was seeking only the subscriber records for the two White House numbers targeted, information that a government source said would include the name of the official who used the specific line.
Because the last four digits of each phone number are redacted in the government filing, it is impossible to determine who exactly was targeted by the Justice Department.
Here is the full list of the phone numbers included in the filing, which lists evidence that the prosecution was sharing with the defense:
(202) 506 (Comcast)
(202) 777 (ATT)
(212) 601 (ATT) (According to NewsCorp, the main number for the Fox Business Channel is (212) 601-7000.)
(202) 549 (ATT Wireless) (Rosen’s cell phone begins with these digits.)
(202) 615 (ATT)
(202) 213 (ATT Wireless)
(202) 213 (TracFone)
(202) 824 (The main number for Fox News’s Washington bureau is (202) 824-0001 and Rosen’s work line starts with these six digits.)
(202) 861 (Verizon) (Time uses this area code and exchange, but so do other unrelated entities.)
(202) 883 (Verizon)
(202) 293 (Verizon)
(202) 728 (Verizon)
(202) 456 (Verizon) (The White House uses this area code and exchange.)
(202) 547 (Verizon)
(202) 647 (Verizon) (The State Department uses this area code and exchange.)
(718) 720 (Verizon)
(703) 979 (Verizon)
(202) 628 (Verizon)
(202) 577 (Verizon wireless)
(202) 329 (Verizon wireless)
703-472 (Verizon wireless)
(304) 558 (Frontier Communications)
(212) 301 (Verizon)
(202) 628 (ATT)
(917) 562 (ATT)
So, will Holder be fired over this development? Let’s see how this turns out. In the meantime, the Obama administration finds themselves bereft of the political cover provided by the media in this instance.