The Press in the Crosshairs

The Washington Post gives us a peek into the workings of a Justice Department leak investigation:

“When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.

They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails.”

Based on what we know now, the Justice Department did not do anything illegal. However, the methods they used easily lend themselves to abuses of power. It is vital that we have a free and independent press that does not feel intimidated by the might of the government.

It is particularly troubling that Fox News journalist James Rosen was described by an FBI agent as ” as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” for reporting on a classified report leaked to him by Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a government adviser. Essentially, Rosen’s “crime” was doing his job.

This is indicative of a hostile attitude in this administration towards the press. While it is by no means Nixonian (at least not yet), such an attitude has no place in our government.

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