Complicated, But Important

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the ongoing case of Sharyl Attkisson, a CBS journalist who was spied on by the government as she investigated the Fast and Furious scandal and later Benghazi.. I strongly suggest that you follow the link to the article as it includes a lot of detail about the case.

The article reports:

According to a recent court filing [Source Here] a person who was engaged in the “wrongful activity” has come forward to provide Ms. Attkisson with details about the operation.  As a result of those whistle-blower revelations Attkisson is able to name specific individuals who were running the operation

…Former DOJ Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is named as the person who was in charge of the operation; and the former head of the FBI DC field office, Shawn Henry is also outlined.

Mr. Henry is the head of Crowdstrike, a contractor for the government and a politically connected data security and forensic company.  Those who have followed the aspects related to the FBI use of the NSA database to illegally monitor U.S. persons; and those who followed the DNC cover story of Russia “hacking”; will be familiar with Crowdstrike.

According to the updated lawsuit (full pdf below) Rod Rosenstein, as the U.S. Attorney for Maryland, was in charge of the Obama 2011 and 2012 operation to monitor journalists specific to Ms. Attkissons reporting on Fast-n-Furious and Benghazi.

The article concludes:

This is the same time-frame when DNI James Clapper falsely denied to congress about the U.S. government -through the NSA- collecting metadata on all U.S. electronic communication.  This is the same time-frame where CIA Director John Brennan was monitoring the computer networks of congressional intelligence oversight staff.

When you overlay the new information from the Attkisson lawsuit, what emerges is the picture of an intentional effort by the Obama administration to weaponize the ability to collect electronic information on domestic political opposition.  It’s one long continuum.

This is not acceptable government behavior in a representative republic. It remains to be seen what will be done about it.

Keeping The War On The Media Secret

On Friday, Ryan Lizza posted an article in “The New Yorker” entitled,  “How Prosecutors Fought to Keep Rosen’s Warrant Secret.” In order to keep the warrant secret, they had to call Rosen a co-conspirator to the crime of espionage.

Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, wrote “some investigations are continued for many years because, while the evidence is not yet sufficient to bring charges, it is sufficient to have identified criminal subjects and/or criminal activity serious enough to justify continuation of the investigation.”

I am not a lawyer, but let me see if I understand this. There is not enough evidence to bring charges, so we will keep snooping through Rosen’s e-mail until we find something we can nail him with. With any luck at all, we might find an affair as we did with General Petraeus, and we can use that against him to get him under our control.

The article reports:

The new documents show that two judges separately declared that the Justice Department was required to notify Rosen of the search warrant, even if the notification came after a delay. Otherwise: “The subscriber therefore will never know, by being provided a copy of the warrant, for example, that the government secured a warrant and searched the contents of her e-mail account,” Judge John M. Facciola wrote in an opinion rejecting the Obama Administration’s argument.

Machen appealed that decision, and in September, 2010, Royce C. Lamberth, the chief judge in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, granted Machen’s request to overturn the order of the two judges.

Rosen was not indicted in the case. Kim was indicted for making unauthorized disclosures of national defense information and for making false statements to F.B.I. agents about his contacts with Rosen.

The article in the New Yorker includes pictures of all the relevant court documents. Please follow the link above to follow the events.

Attorney General Holder has been asked by President Obama to review the Justice Department’s policies concerning investigations of the media. That is really interesting since Attorney General Holder was the one who personally approved the warrant to search James Rosen’s email. Obviously, the investigation will prove that everyone in the administration was totally blameless.

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Another Story About Telling The Truth

I really think that the people in our government have an obligation to be honest with the American public except when national security issues are truly at stake. That may be a minority opinion, but it is my opinion. Right now there are a number of scandals floating around the Obama Administration, and the problem with most of them is that the government overreached and then tried to hide what it did.

One of those scandals is the snooping against Fox News reporter James Rosen. The snooping was outrageous–even to the point of going after the phone records of Mr. Rosen’s parents. Well, the plot thickens…

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported today that evidence shows that Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress.

The article reports:

Last week, under relatively friendly questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about the Department of Justice seizure of Associated Press phone records, Johnson asked about the potential to prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917.  ”You’ve got a long way to go to try to prosecute the press for publication of material,” Holder responded.

Later, though, he returned to the topic unbidden, emphasis mine (at the 5-minute mark):

In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.

The article explains the problem:

As it turns out, Holder not only heard of it, he personally approved it.  The warrant in the Rosen case specified that he was considered a potential suspect in the leak of classified material, the reason that the DoJ didn’t bother to follow the existing Watergate-era statute in coordinating the records request with Fox News.  And note that Holder’s testimony in this case wasn’t produced by some sophisticated perjury trap sprung by a Republican, but as a freely-offered representation to no particular question during the question period of a Democrat.

This contradiction raises some rather serious questions. First of all, was Attorney General Holder lying when he said he was not part of the snooping on James Rosen?

A website called The Right Sphere explains the second problem:

The problem for Holder is that we now know he personally signed off on the order to get a subpoena for Fox News’ James Rosen’s phone records. The entire basis of the warrant for those records relies on Rosen being a potential conspirator and therefore potentially prosecuted.

According to the DoJ’s subpoena, Google surrendered Rosen’s emails, who is described as “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator,” to the government.

I’m sure Holder and his allies will say that they never intended to prosecute Rosen, but that’s 1) not the point and 2) even worse. If that’s their defense, they knowingly lied to the judge who would, hopefully, reject the request if they admitted it was just a fishing expedition for information.

They’re stuck. Either he (by signing the request for the records) lied to the judge or Holder lied directly to Congress.

It will be interesting to see how Congress reacts when they realize they have been lied to.

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The Consequences Of Reporting The News–Not The Spin is reporting today that the Obama Administration took actions to intimidate the press long before they got to the Associated Press.

The article reports:

Rosen (James Rosen of Fox News) wrote on his blog that U.S. intelligence officials felt that North Korea would respond to United Nations sanctions with more nuclear tests. That information was apparently given him by Kim (Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department arms expert).

Even though it has not been proven to this day that it’s illegal for a reporter to solicit information, because of the First Amendment’s protection of the press, the Obama Administration went to work. The Justice Department not only grabbed Rosen’s telephone records, they used security badge access records to track the Rosen’s visits to the State Department, traced the timing of his calls with Kim, and obtained a search warrant for Rosen’s e-mails.

First of all, James Rosen is a good reporter–he has been doing this for a while. The statement that North Korea would respond to sanctions with more nuclear tests was not earthshaking. Second of all, the Justice Department’s investigation is clearly overreach.

The article concludes:

First Amendment lawyer Charles Tobin said, “Search warrants like these have a severe chilling effect on the free flow of important information to the public. That’s a very dangerous road to go down.” Attorney Abbe Lowell, who is defending Kim, asserted,  “The latest events show an expansion of this law enforcement technique. Individual reporters or small time periods have turned into 20 [telephone] lines and months of records with no obvious attempt to be targeted or narrow.”

FBI agent Reginald Reyes wrote in an affidavit that Rosen had broken the law “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” But that statement may well conflict with First Amendment rights.

I understand that most of the mainstream media is philosophically aligned with President Obama, but keeping that is mind, there are two aspects of this story that I find interesting. First of all, do members of the press care when one of their own is subject to extreme scrutiny by the Justice Department? Second, is it easier to go along with the Obama Administration’s taking points than to take a chance on being investigated for reporting the truth?

The story of the investigation of James Rosen along with the excessive investigation of Associated Press reporters should give all Americans reason to question everything they read from the mainstream media. We are reaching a point where reporters will be afraid to report the truth for fear of retribution.

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