“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
When the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
(NBC) –Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.
The disclosure of the attorney general’s role came as President Barack Obama, in a major speech on his counterterrorism policy, said Holder had agreed to review Justice Department guidelines governing investigations that involve journalists.
“I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable,” Obama said. “Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Department of Justice later issued a statement about the review of media guidelines: “This review is consistent with Attorney General Holder’s long-standing belief that freedom of the press is essential to our democracy,” it said. “At the same time, the attorney general believes that leaks of classified information damage our national security and must be investigated using appropriate law enforcement tools. We remain steadfast in our commitment to following all laws and regulations intended to safeguard national security as well as the First Amendment interests of the press in reporting the news and the public in receiving it.”
It also said that Google was specifically instructed not to notify “the subscriber” — Rosen — that his emails were being seized.
In new documents disclosed Thursday, the Justice Department sought and obtained approval to keep the search warrant, which was approved by a federal magistrate, under seal. It was unsealed in November 2011, but never made a part of the docket of Kim’s case and went unnoticed until this week.[...]
Update: Ed Morrissey asks “Did Eric Holder lie in Congressional testimony last week?”
That’s the question asked by Katie Pavlich and Jim Hoft after the revelation that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the application for a warrant on Fox News’ James Rosen as a potential co-conspirator in espionage. 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.” ~ Eric Holder
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.
There is no other way to view this except as a lie. Even if Holder wasn’t under oath, that would constitute a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. It certainly should produce at least a resignation, and almost assuredly would require the appointment of a special prosecutor, especially since the next person down in the organization, James Cole, is suspected of doing the same thing with reporters. [...]
Much, much more here.
Update 2: In related news:
Obama Orders Eric Holder To Investigate Himself
Photo: Obama’s DOJ AG Eric Holder Being SWORN IN Prior To Testifying On IRS & AP Scandals
Obama Believes In An “Unfettered Press”? What About His War Against Fox News??