- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fox News anchor Bret Baier says that in addition to seizing the phone records of Fox reporter James Rosen, the Department of Justice seized the records of his parents as well in another twist to the still-unraveling saga.

“We said the different numbers; we have the documents now, the seized … records relate to James’ parents’ home in Staten Island,” he said on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

On Monday, news reports said the Justice Department seized phone records and emails sent to a private account of Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, Mr. Rosen, in an investigation into a 2009 story about U.N. sanctions and North Korea’s nuclear program.

In court filings, the department even said Mr. Rosen may have aided and abetted in a crime by trying to pry the information, which was classified, from his source.

The government is prosecuting a State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a North Korea analyst, for revealing secrets to the news organization. He is awaiting trial. No charges have been filed against Mr. Rosen.

Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker reported Tuesday that Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is prosecuting the case, seized records “associated with two phone numbers at the White House, at least five numbers associated with Fox News, and one that has the same area code and exchange as Rosen’s personal-cell-phone number (the last four numbers are redacted).”

The Justice Department has come under fire for the recent disclosure that it subpoenaed the phone records from 20 Associated Press phone lines, used by up to 100 reporters. The Justice Department sought the AP’s phone records in an investigation into who leaked information that embarrassed the administration last year, exposing that it had been working to thwart a terrorist attack at a time when officials said they had no specific knowledge of any plots.

CBS News reporter Sheryl Attkisson, who has writing frequently on the botched “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scheme, told a Philadelphia radio station Tuesday that her personal and work computers have been “compromised,” and that there “could be some relationship” between that and what happened with Mr. Rosen and the AP.

“To our knowledge, the Justice Department has never ‘compromised’ Ms. Atkisson’s computers, or otherwise sought any information from or concerning any telephone, computer or other media device she may own or use,” Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman told Politico Tuesday night.

The Justice Department released a statement Monday arguing that “leaks of classified information to the press can pose a serious risk of harm to our national security and it is important that we pursue these matters using appropriate law enforcement tools.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney, the former bureau’s chief for Time magazine, refused to provide any comment on the matter, saying it was an “ongoing criminal probe.”

But during Tuesday’s press briefing, he said President Obama does not believe that journalists reporting leaked classified information are committing crimes.

“If you’re asking me whether the president believes that journalists should be prosecuted for doing their jobs, the answer is no,” Mr. Carney said.

Reporters on Monday had pressed Mr. Carney to say whether he agreed with the tract of labeling Mr. Rosen as a potential criminal co-conspirator in the case.

After the contentious exchange, Mr. Carney discussed the matter with the president.

“I can tell you in our conversation yesterday he reiterated just how important he believes it is to reporters that all of you and your colleagues are able to do your jobs in a free and open way and, as he has said, he believes there is an important balance to be found here and he thinks the questions about how that balance is being struck are entirely legitimate, and he welcomes the public discussion,” Mr. Carney said.

When asked whether, as a reporter, he ever had to decide whether to publish classified information, he said he hadn’t: “Not personally.”

“It’s not about me … as a reporter I think I am more intimately aware of these issues than some folks,” he said. “In terms of my past experience, it’s not particularly relevant.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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