Veteran Journalist Brit Hume Condemns FBI Investigation Of Fox’s James Rosen

Following a Washington Post report showing that the Obama administration under the Justice Department had singled out Fox News’ James Rosen, including secretly reading his personal emails, FNC’s Brit Hume took the Obama administration to task for its actions.

Appearing on Special Report w/ Bret Baier on May 20, the veteran Washington journalist described the actions by the Justice Department as something where “federal prosecutors have rarely if ever gone before.” At issue are details in which Rosen met with a State Department official and obtained secret details about State Department actions and intelligence on a foreign country now identified as North Korea. As a result, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Rosen's personal files, including his personal email account, to investigate Rosen's activities in connection to the North Korea story. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]

Hume observed that by obtaining "a search warrant for Rosen's personal emails they [the Obama/Holder Justice Department] have claimed to a federal court by doing what journalists do which is to try to ferret out secrets of government and report them.”  

Hume pointed out that the FBI has never made a claim that Rosen obtained information from a State Department official as a means to “help an enemy” but rather according to Rosen to “report authoritatively and ahead of the competition on new initiatives or shifts in U.S. policy, events on the ground and what intelligence is picking up.” In other words, Rosen's work put no one in danger; it merely noted shifts in U.S. policy in reaction to North Korea.

"The president and his attorney general can recite all the platitudes they like about their respect for press freedom and the need for investigative reporting. But this FBI affidavit contradicts them all," Hume observed, pointing out: 

The government has a right indeed arguably a duty to protect the nation's secrets, some of which are not, more secret than they ought to be, but that aside, there are legitimate national security secrets that is the government's job to protect. And when they leak out, the government has a right and a duty to investigate. But what the government has traditionally done in the past is to investigate the leaker and not, if you will, the leakee.

That, of course, makes perfect sense and respects the freedom of the press while allowing the government ample room to investigate and prosecute criminal leaks:

That provides the balance between the government's job to find out what happened and the press' right to pursue information. That's the way it's been done before. That's the way it seemed to have been going up until now. But it seems to me tonight there is reason to doubt that that is the approach being taken by this administration.

So far, there has been very little outrage by the liberal media over the Obama administrations actions towards a single Fox News reporter. Hume’s articulate condemnation of the Justice Department should be echoed throughout the media, even if, no, especially because Fox does not fit the media’s liberal agenda.

 

See relevant transcript below.


Fox News

Special Report with Bret Baier

May 20, 2013

6:48 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: Let's dig a little deeper on this story with senior political analyst Brit Hume. Good evening, Brit.

BRIT HUME: Good evening Bret. In the matter of Fox News Correspondent James Rosen, the Justice Department has gone where federal prosecutors have rarely if ever gone before. To obtain a search warrant for Rosen's personal emails they have claimed to a federal court by doing what journalists do which is to try to ferret out secrets of government and report them, Rosen has committed a crime. Indeed they describe how he cultivated a State Department official as a source set up a confidential method of communicating with him. Flattered him, spoke to him on the phone, gasp. And asked him to provide information about State Department actions and intelligence on a foreign country now identified as North Korea. All this as the FBI in a 36-page affidavit is in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy to divulge classified information. Did Rosen do this to help an enemy? The FBI makes no such claim. Instead, it sites an email in which Rosen tells his source, quote I want to report authoritatively and ahead of the competition on new initiatives or shifts in U.S. policy, events on the ground and what intelligence is picking up. Oh, heaven forbid. The president and his Attorney General can recite all the platitudes they like about their respect for press freedom and the need for investigative reporting. But this FBI affidavit contradicts them all. Bret?

BAIER: Brit, you know, there is a lot of concern about national security. There has been a lot of talk about leaks before. What should the government do in these kind of investigations, do you think?

HUME: Well, the government hats a right indeed arguably a duty to protect the nation's secrets, some of which are not, more secret than they ought to be, but that aside there are legitimate national security secrets that is the government's job to protect. And when they leak out, the government has a right and a duty to investigate. But what the government has traditionally done in the past is to investigate the leaker and not, if you will, the leakee. That provides the balance between the government's job to find out what happened and the press' right to pursue information. That's the way it's been done before. That's the way it seemed to have been going up until now. But it seems to me tonight there is reason to doubt that that is the approach being taken by this administration.

BAIER: Brit, as always, thank you.

HUME: You bet.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.