The parent corporation of Fox News was aware three years ago that one of its reporters was being investigated by the Justice Department (DOJ) in a leak probe, according to a report.
CNN reported Saturday that a law enforcement source said the DOJ notified a media organization that they had sought detailed phone records from a reporter. A second source identified that media group as Fox.
The DOJ has faced criticism for its targeting of journalists who reported on classified information.
The DOJ was probing Fox Washington correspondent James Rosen after he wrote a story in 2009 claiming that U.S. intelligence officials believed North Korea would likely test more nuclear weapons. Rosen said the CIA analysis was based on sources inside North Korea, setting off a DOJ search for the leak’s source.
The department later identified State Department employee Stephen Jin-Woo Kim as the source of the leak. Kim could face federal charges for disclosing classified information.
Officials expanded the investigation of Rosen from phone records to also cover emails and track his visits to the State Department. Reports last week revealed that the warrant allowing the DOJ to spy on him was signed personally by Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderOvernight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel Uber leadership sticking by CEO Top Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight MORE.
Legal documents from the DOJ tagged Rosen as a “criminal co-conspirator” in their leak probe.
The DOJ also asked a federal judge to keep Rosen in the dark indefinitely about the probe as they continued to track his emails.
Reports suggested that while the DOJ notified Fox’s parent company about the phone records seizure, they did not disclose the search of Rosen’s email.
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes on Thursday blasted the DOJ’s actions on Thursday, comparing them to the McCarthy era, and accusing the government of trying to “intimidate Fox News and its employees.”
In a separate leak investigation, the DOJ also secretly subpoenaed the phone records of more than 20 Associated Press journalists.
Holder has vowed to review the DOJ’s handling of leak probes and report his findings next month.
The House Judiciary Committee has launched its own investigation into the matter.