According to a Washington Post report Sunday, Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen reported in June 2009 on a CIA analysis that suggested North Korea may respond to UN sanctions with more nuclear tests. The story was published online the same day that a confidential report on the matter was released to select officials in the intelligence community, including a State Department security adviser, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim.
Detecting a connection, FBI investigators built a case alleging Mr. Kim leaked information to Mr. Rosen. To do so, they used every tool in their arsenal: analyzing security badge access records to track Rosen’s comings and goings from the State Department, tracing the timing of his calls to Kim, even subpoenaing his personal e-mails.
Ultimately, FBI agents concluded Kim did, in fact, leak information to Rosen using a complex, if clumsy, system of communication including aliases and coded signals.
In his report, FBI investigator Reginald Reyes said evidence suggested Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.”
While details on the case are forthcoming, it is not a crime for journalists to report classified information, except in rare circumstances. Furthermore, government seizure of media records is tightly circumscribed under the government’s Code of Federal Regulations.
The AP and Fox News cases renew concerns about the potential stifling effect government investigations have on reporters and their sources.