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Justice Seized White House, Fox Phone Records

Image: Justice Seized White House, Fox Phone Records

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 06:17 AM

By Todd Beamon

The Justice Department seized the telephone records of at least five Fox News reporters and several White House staffers in connection with the 2009 probe into a former State Department contractor who is accused of leaking classified information to Fox journalist James Rosen.

The disclosure came in a document filed in the case of the former contractor, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, on Oct. 13, 2011, The New Yorker reported today.

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Kim is a former State Department contractor accused of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking classified information to Rosen.

Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia who is prosecuting the case, seized records associated with at least five telephone numbers associated with Fox, two numbers at the White House, and one that has the same area code and exchange as Rosen’s personal cellphone number.

The last four digits of that telephone number are redacted in the document, The New Yorker reports.

In all, Machen had seized records associated with more than 30 different phone numbers, according to the filing.

The last four digits of each telephone line targeted by the Obama administration are redacted in the filing. Two of the numbers begin with area code 202 and the exchange 456, which, according to current and former Obama administration officials, are used exclusively by the White House.

The telephone number of the White House switchboard is 202-456-1414.

At least five other numbers targeted by Justice include the area code 202 and the exchange 824.

The phone number for the Fox News Washington bureau, which is publicly available, is 202-824-0001, The New Yorker reports.

Rosen's work number at Fox begins with the same area code and exchange.

"Because that information is sealed, I can't confirm the owner or subscriber for any of those records," William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C., told The New Yorker.

Asked if the phone numbers of any reporters had been targeted in the Kim investigation, Miller told the magazine that he could not comment.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that Justice seized telephone records and emails from Rosen's personal account on Gmail in its inquiry of Kim.

In the search warrant for the data, Justice described Rosen as "an aider, and abettor, and/or co-conspirator" in violating the Espionage Act, noting that the crime was punishable by 10 years in prison.

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Rosen was not indicted in the case, but the suggestion in a government document that a reporter could be guilty of espionage for engaging in routine reporting is unprecedented,  The New Yorker reports, and has alarmed many journalists and civil libertarians.

The case also has been cited in Justice's recent secret seizure of two months of telephone records of reporters and editors at The Associated Press.

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