Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter

The embattled attorney general personally approved a warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen

By Alex Seitz-Wald

Published May 23, 2013 10:30PM (EDT)

Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill          (Carolyn Kaster)
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill (Carolyn Kaster)

A big new revelation in the ongoing controversy about the Department of Justice's targeting of journalists: Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on a sealed search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen, who was targeted in an investigation looking into the leak of a secret report on North Korea. That according to NBC News investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, citing an unnamed law enforcement source:

Rosen, who has not been charged in the case, was nonetheless the target of a search warrant that enabled Justice Department investigators to secretly seized his private emails after an FBI agent said he had "asked, solicited and encouraged … (a source) to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information."

The affidavit supporting that search warrant even listed Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act. Most reporters caught in leak investigations are never accused of breaking the law. No charges have been filed currently in Rosen's case yet either.

Holder has largely escaped scrutiny in the other big media harassment story of the month, involving the Associated Press, after he announced that he had recused himself from the investigation. He won't be able to wipe his hands this time, however, and he was clearly involved.

Pressure has been mounting on the attorney general, who finds himself tangled in a number of controversies. Yesterday, Holder wrote a letter to a top senator acknowledging publicly for the first time that the U.S. has used drone strikes to kill four Americans in Yemen since 2009, including radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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Associated Pres Eric Holder Fox News James Rosen Journalism