We learned last week that President Obama’s Department of Justice spied on about twenty Associated Press reporters, getting months worth of their phone records.
Then we learned they were investigating Fox News’s James Rosen for his connection to Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, using the 1917 Espionage Act to snoop around. But we now learn the DOJ didn’t stop with Rosen.
They went after his parent’s too:
And, they targeted five other Fox News reporters:
At least five other numbers targeted by the government include the area code 202 and the exchange 824. The phone number for the Fox News Washington bureau, which is publicly available, is (202) 824-0001. Rosen’s work phone number at Fox News begins with the same area code and exchange.
William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, told The New Yorker this afternoon, “Because that information is sealed, I can’t confirm the owner or subscriber for any of those records.” Asked if the phone numbers of any reporters had been targeted in the Kim investigation, Miller said he could not comment.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that, as part of the investigation of the Kim leak, Obama’s Department of Justice seized e-mails from Rosen’s personal Gmail account. In the search warrant for that request, the government described Rosen as “an aider, and abettor, and / or co-conspirator” in violating the Espionage Act, noting that the crime can be punished by ten years in prison. Rosen was not indicted in the case, but the suggestion in a government document that a reporter could be guilty of espionage for engaging in routine reporting is unprecedented and has alarmed many journalists and civil libertarians.
It should alarm ALL journalists.
Here’s what James Rosen did that he got him labeled as “an aider, and abettor, and / or co-conspirator.”
That’s it. He asked questions. He asked for a scoop.
In the exchange, Rosen used the alias “Leo” to address Kim and called himself “Alex,” an apparent reference to Alexander Butterfield, the man best known for running the secret recording system in the Nixon White House, according to the affidavit.
Rosen instructed Kim to send him coded signals on his Google account, according to a quote from his e-mail in the affidavit: “One asterisk means to contact them, or that previously suggested plans for communication are to proceed as agreed; two asterisks means the opposite.”
He also wrote, according to the affidavit: “What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking news ahead of my competitors” including “what intelligence is picking up.” And: “I’d love to see some internal State Department analyses.”
The man became a criminal because he wanted to be the first to break the news.
This is how the most transparent administration in history uses the 1917 Espionage Act. They’ve used it more than all the other administrations, combined.
Think about that for a minute.
Since it was passed, the law was used three times, all against people who passed information to the enemy. This group has used it six times, not including this usage.
The abuse is so overt, even the left wing publication Mother Jones calls it out:
The Obama administration has been cruelly and unusually punishing in its use of the 1917 Espionage Act to stomp on governmental leakers, truth-tellers, and whistleblowers whose disclosures do not support the president’s political ambitions. As Thomas Drake, himself a victim of Obama’s crusade against whistleblowers, told me, “This makes a mockery of the entire classification system, where political gain is now incentive for leaking and whistleblowing is incentive for prosecution.”
The Obama administration has charged more people (six) under the Espionage Act for the alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases in American history, one being Daniel Ellsberg, of Nixon-era Pentagon Papers fame.) The most recent Espionage Act case is that of former CIA officer John Kiriakou, charged for allegedly disclosing classified information to journalists about the horrors of waterboarding. Meanwhile, his evil twin, former CIA officer Jose Rodriguez, has a best-selling book out bragging about the success of waterboarding and his own hand in the dirty work.
Obama’s zeal in silencing leaks that don’t make him look like a superhero extends beyond the deployment of the Espionage Act into a complex legal tangle of retaliatory practices, life-destroying threats, on-the-job harassment, and firings. Lots of firings.
Over the years, how many journalists have been prosecuted, or even labeled “an aider, and abettor, and / or co-conspirator?”
This is a seriously bad thing.
One last thing to show you how bad this really is.
Even Piers Morgan thinks it’s tyranny:
When the government can prosecute you for espionage for trying to break news, that’s tyranny.
And it’s dangerous.