When will journalists take responsibility for what they do without circling the wagons and shouting that the First Amendment is under attack?
I’m talking about the case of Fox News correspondent James Rosen.
The case should be described as a State Department contract worker who signed a non-disclosure agreement, yet is alleged to have leaked Top Secret/Special Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) in violation of criminal law. He also is alleged to have lied to the FBI.
Search for a story analyzing damage to intelligence collection caused by the leak and what will emerge are stories about the threat to the First Amendment and journalists.
Of course, what Pincus is doing is giving his MSM colleagues the call to circle the wagons and stop beating up on the administration. He is also taking the Rosen incident on its own, completely ignoring what happened to the Associated Press and Sharyl Attkisson at CBS. There’s a huge difference between an egregious misstep and a pattern of institutional behavior.
A different view of the treatment of Rosen emerges when taken in the aforementioned context.
The case of James Rosen at Fox News is especially troubling. Rosen, chief correspondent for Fox in Washington, reported in 2009 on a classified report predicting that North Korea planned to respond to U.S.-led sanctions by detonating a nuclear device. In a 2010 affidavit in support of a search warrant for Rosen’s e-mail and records of his movements in government facilities (that was withheld from public scrutiny until this month), an FBI agent characterized the reporter as a potential co-conspirator in a criminal act to leak the report.
An analyst with whom Rosen had contact was later charged with espionage. Attorney General Eric Holder has said he does not expect to bring charges against the journalist.
Regardless of the merits of the prosecution, the treatment of Rosen — and the overall record of the Obama administration in pursuing alleged national security leaks — stands in sharp contrast to the practice of previous administrations, Republican and Democrat. During the Bush administration, the New York Times and the Washington Post both reported on highly sensitive intelligence practices (involving surveillance of suspected terrorist banking records and interrogations) in ways that clearly compromised the nation’s ability to protect our allies and informants and gather crucial information on terrorist networks. Such national security implications were not readily apparent in Rosen’s reporting.
This is an administration that has wasted no opportunity to paint anyone who disagrees with it as an enemy combatant. It takes a special kind of disconnect to believe the best about it these Chicago thug politicians at this point.
But most of the press is still well trained and completely lacking in curiosity regarding this president.