On Sunday night, the Washington Post revealed that the United States Department of Justice has been investigating Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent James Rosen, just weeks after it was revealed the government had secretly seized two months of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors.
In the case of Rosen, the government apparently suspected that Rosen was receiving classified information from a State Department security adviser named Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. They tracked Rosen’s comings and goings from the State Department, his phone calls, and obtained a search warrant to read his personal emails.
Now that the Washington Post has released a purported court affidavit from the case, we are learning even more about some of the spy movie-style efforts that whistleblowers are taking to avoid detection, and that the government knows all regardless.
The affidavit only refers to “the reporter” as “the subject,” never stating his name. But the Washington Post says Rosen’s identity “was confirmed by several officials, and Fox News executive vice president of news Michael Clemente has also commented on the matter, saying they are “outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter.”
“In fact, it is downright chilling,” Clemente added. “We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press.”
Here are five of the most interesting (and chilling) things we learned from the recently-released court affidavit for a search warrant, written by FBI agent Reginald Reyes.
1) Rosen and Kim spoke in coded emails, calling each other “Leo” and “Alex,” respectively. According to the Washington Post, it seems to be a reference to Alexander Butterfield, “the man best known for running the secret recording system in the Nixon White House.”
Here is one excerpt of an email included in the affidavit, written by “the reporter”:
And the FBI agent’s note:
2) Not only that, but the reporter and Kim apparently used secretive methods to determine when to meet. According to the affidavit, an email would have one asterisk if the meeting was “on,” or two if it had to be cancelled or postponed.
A clip of an email from the reporter indicates this is standard protocol:
3) The government cross-referenced the times and duration of phone calls with Kim’s activity on his government-issued computer, concluding that Kim was either reading Rosen classified information as he saw it, or doing so soon after closing the windows.
4) Kim was interviewed by the FBI on March 29, 2010, where he made a number of statements that the FBI categorized as either a confession or “near confession.”
In one of those statements, Kim claims the reporter took advantage of him, saying he might have “succumbed to flattery without knowing it” and was “exploited like a rag doll.”
Here is a screen shot from the affidavit of one of Kim’s related statements:
5) In addition to obtaining nearly all emails between Kim and Rosen, the government also seized two days of Rosen’s personal emails. Here are some of the other requests they made (“subject account” means Rosen’s email):
Read the affidavit in its entirety, below:
And here’s more on the story from Fox News:
- ‘Unconstitutional’: AP CEO Blasts ‘Abusive’ Justice Dept. in First TV Interview Since Scandal Broke
- Carney to Piers: The Three Government Scandals This Week ‘Don’t Exist’
- Beck Ties Together Benghazi, IRS, & AP Scandals: ‘Fundamental Transformation’
- By Badge, Phone & Email: Here’s How Obama’s DOJ Snooped on Top Fox News Reporter