Fox’s James Rosen has grabbed headlines this week after it was revealed he, too, was the target of Obama administration snooping. And while the revelations about how the Department of Justice monitored Rosen and his source seems to get worse by the day, one thing lost in much of the discussion is: What story did Rosen write that was so egregious that got him on the government’s naught list?
Well, we’ve decided to excerpt that article so you can see. Fox has said that the “2009 story was published online [and] said North Korea planned to respond to looming U.N. sanctions with another nuclear test.” And here is the relevant opening:
June 11, 2009
By James Rosen, Fox News State Department Correspondent
U.S. intelligence officials have warned President Obama and other senior American officials that North Korea intends to respond to the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution this week — condemning the communist country for its recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests — with another nuclear test, FOX News has learned.
What’s more, Pyongyang’s next nuclear detonation is but one of four planned actions the Central Intelligence Agency has learned, through sources inside North Korea, that the regime of Kim Jong-Il intends to take — but not announce — once the Security Council resolution is officially passed, likely on Friday.
The other three actions include the reprocessing of all of the North’s spent plutonium fuel rods into weapons-grade plutonium; a major escalation in the North’s uranium-enrichment program; and the launching of another Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile from the Yunsong military complex on the west coast of North Korea. The North last launched a Taepodong-2 on April 5; it conducted its second nuclear test in the last three years on Memorial Day.
The intelligence community only learned of North Korea’s plans this week, prompting CIA to alert senior officials. Asked who would be briefed on this kind of data, a source told FOX News: “The top people: POTUS, DNI.” “POTUS” is acronym for the president of the United States; “DNI” refers to the director of the Office of National Intelligence.
FOX News is withholding some details about the sources and methods by which American intelligence agencies learned of the North’s plans so as to avoid compromising sensitive overseas operations in a country — North Korea — U.S. spymasters regard as one of the world’s most difficult to penetrate.
If that seems unlike a bombshell that would get a reporter in trouble with the government, you’re not alone. The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky is baffled:
No offense intended to Rosen, but…I don’t even see where that’s such big news. Of course North Korea was going to do something to protest a UN sanctions vote. Do what? Well, missile tests is what it’s been doing for the last several years now to scare people, so…a missile test. I mean, if I’d read that on June 11, 2009, I’d have stopped after three paragraphs and thought tell me something I don’t know. So why was the government so up in arms about it in the first place?
This is a disgrace.
And even a Reuters column critical of Rosen’s techniques admits it wasn’t much of a scoop:
He appears to have uncovered no wrongdoing by the CIA in North Korea and no dramatic or scandalous change of U.S. policy that’s being concealed from the U.S. public. Boiled to its essence, the story says the U.S. has penetrated North Korean leadership.
“It doesn’t matter whether Rosen worked for Fox News or the Daily Worker,” Tomasky concludes. “This is way out of bounds.”