The Justice Department is once again in the spotlight for taking sweeping measures to delve into how reporters gather news. This time, however, it involves Fox News' own Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen.


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A Washington Post report  over the weekend alleged that Rosen was investigated by the DOJ in their effort to find a leak that was believed to be coming from the State Department. The unusual part of the subpoena and subsequent investigation, asserts Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, is that, unlike the AP scandal, the DOJ was keeping track of a lot more than just phone records. They were also going through Rosen's personal emails.

A stunned Hume told Martha MacCallum in a segment on America's Newsroom Monday that the activity described in the Post's story is normal activity of any journalist.


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"Journalists go to government officials and try to get them to tell them things," he said. "What's unusual in this case is that the investigation spilled over into our colleague and friend's personal emails."

He also railed against the fact that the DOJ requested the subpoena on the basis that they were alleging the reporter, Rosen, was "engaged in a criminal conspiracy," something that Hume said indicates the Justice Department is ready to treat the ordinary news gathering of reporters as a possible crime.


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"I'm not saying it's unprecedented, but I can't think of a case in which this has ever happened before."

FoxNews.com provided further insight, writing that an "FBI agent reportedly claimed there's evidence the journalist in question -- Fox News' James Rosen -- broke the law 'at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.' That detail would potentially send the case into unprecedented territory. No reporter has been prosecuted for seeking information. Such cases often target the suspected leaker, but not the journalist who published sensitive or classified information." 

Here's an excerpt from the Washington Post article on the investigation: (You can read the full post here.)

"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."