The Obama administration has signaled that it does not intend to prosecute Fox's James Rosen despite the fact that a judge found probable cause that Rosen was a co-conspirator in a leak of intelligence. This comes as the right-wing howls about a chilling effect - less than a year after they howled about the Obama administration being too soft on leaks. But whether or not Rosen actually broke any laws, a column on Reuters.com points to quite a bit of professional malfeasance.
In an editorial called, "What was James Rosen thinking?" Reuters political columnist Jack Shafer acknowledged his own outrage at a White House targeting a reporter, but he went on to make a compelling case that Rosen's troubles were of his own making.
Rosen’s journalistic technique, if the Post story (which broke the news about the DOJ's scrutiny of Rosen) is accurate, leaves much to be desired. He would have been less conspicuous had he walked into the State Department wearing a sandwich board lettered with his intentions to obtain classified information and then blasted an air horn to further alert authorities to his business. For example, one data point investigators used to connect Rosen with his alleged source, Kim, was the visitor’s badge the reporter wore when calling on the State Department offices. According to security records, Rosen and his source left the building within one minute of each other and then returned only several minutes apart inside the half-hour. A few hours later that day (June 11, 2009), Rosen’s secret-busting story was published.
Even teenagers practice better tradecraft than this when deceiving parents.
Next, Rosen’s email communications also appear to have compromised his alleged source.
Lastly, Shafer summed up Rosen's reporting practices as "almost guaranteed to attract attention from the intelligence establishment."
None of this makes Rosen a criminal, as far as I can tell, but it hardly makes him Woodward or Bernstein being persecuted by the second coming of Richard Nixon, either. And speaking of Nixon, our own former blogger and Watergate buff, Headly Westerfield (aka Aunty Em), made a careful reading of Rosen's book about Watergate and concluded that it was Nixon-friendly, revisionist history. Interestingly, Westerfield found one very damning falsehood that appears to have come straight from Roger Ailes.
So while the Obama administration's behavior still makes me queasy and I'm willing to give Rosen the benefit of the doubt about committing any kind of crime, he's got a way to go before he'll get any sympathy from me. And while I believe we should have a national dialogue about balancing national security with the rights of a free press, I'm not optimistic Rosen and his Fox News backers will do anything to make it an adult conversation.
Jimmy-boy Rosen ruined his credibility. Sooner or later, he will be tossed out like last week’s garbage.
Ruthless Rupy=News Corporation=News Internation=James Murdoch=Hackings and bribes=Arrests
NOTE TO ROSEN
Too bad you weren’t a so-called “reporter” for the former News International. You would have been arrested by now.
I believe they are likely giving Rosen a pass as the prosecution would just put them in a situation of three years of even sillier nonsense than that which they’ve already faced from Fox News. Further, they’ve already made their point with Rosen and he knows it. And finally, it doesn’t appear that what he was messing around in was at the level of the situation where the AP stepped into it.
I completely agree that there shouldn’t be an issue about leaks or about going after reporters for covering stories. But in that case, the politicians involved should not have signed onto the Patriot Act that made such practices legal. I’m happy to see that they seem to finally be understanding what we were trying to tell them over a decade ago about this foolhardy legislation. But they don’t get to try to take the moral high ground here – not when they were the ones championing the legislation at the time that it could have been stopped or corrected.