The Department of Justice didn’t just examine Fox News correspondent James Rosen‘s email records, they acquired his home and cell phone records, as well a number of phone records from Fox News Channel offices. The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza has those records.
The news of the full extent of the investigation comes as editorials take aim squarely at the Obama Administration for valuing secrecy over freedom of the press.
The New York Times editorial page writes that “the administration has gone overboard in its zeal to find and muzzle insiders.”
Obama administration officials often talk about the balance between protecting secrets and protecting the constitutional rights of a free press. Accusing a reporter of being a “co-conspirator,” on top of other zealous and secretive investigations, shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and insufficient concern about a free press.
The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank writes that the investigations are “as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of.”
To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based. Guns? Privacy? Due process? Equal protection? If you can’t speak out, you can’t defend those rights, either.