Constitutional Law

Reports: AG Eric Holder vetted search of Fox News reporter's personal email


U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder. Rena Schild

The decision to issue a federal search warrant for a Fox News reporter’s personal email account was made by a magistrate judge.

However, the Department of Justice said it was vetted at the highest levels, including by Attorney General Eric Holder, leading Republicans in Congress to object Sunday to having the AG at the helm of a probe into how the government handles claimed national security leaks, according to CNN’s Political Ticker page and Reuters.

For decades, Justice Department guidelines have required the personal involvement of the attorney general when prosecutors are considering subpoenaing news organizations, Reuters reported.

Another Reuters article reports that News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, says it is rechecking but has no record of receiving a 2010 subpoena for Fox News or its reporter, James Rosen, that the Department of Justice reportedly is claiming to have sent.

“While we don’t take issue with the DOJ’s account that they sent a notice to News Corp, we do not have a record of ever having received it,” Nathaniel Brown, a News Corp spokesman, told Reuters.

The unusual 2010 search warrant for Fox reporter James Rosen’s email was particularly controversial because it suggested that he could be held criminally responsible for news-gathering activities, as discussed in an earlier post.

See also “Feds secretly got warrant for Fox reporter’s email, claimed news-gathering was likely a crime”

Open Channel (NBC News): “DOJ confirms Holder OK’d search warrant for Fox News reporter’s emails”

Politico: “Justice Department defends actions in James Rosen case”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req.): “Obama’s Media Culpa”

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